The Houston Rockets have reached an agreement on a trade for LA Clippers All-Star point guard Chris Paul, sources told ESPN.
The Rockets will send Sam Dekker, Patrick Beverley and Lou Williams and a top-three protected 2018 first-round pick to the Clippers in exchange for Paul.
Paul had been planning to decline the player option on his contract and wanted to play with Rockets All-StarJames Harden, according to The Vertical, which first reported the trade.
Paul met with the Clippers on Tuesday and didn’t like what he heard from the team, sources say. He informed them on Tuesday night that he planned to leave in free agency if he declined his option.
The Clippers were determined get something for Paul rather than lose him for nothing, sources told ESPN, so Paul instead agreed to opt in for the final year of his contract (worth $24.2 million) to facilitate the trade.
The Rockets will have to make another move to make the financials work before they can officially acquire Paul, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reports. And, once their trade for Paul is official, Houston will try to acquire All-StarPaul George from the Indiana Pacers, sources told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne.
Because he is being acquired in a trade, Paul will be eligible for a five-year deal worth an estimated $205 million from the Rockets after this season. If the nine-time All-Star had opted out and signed with a team other than the Clippers in free agency, the most a team could have offered was a four-year deal worth just more than $152 million.
The trade had an immediate effect on both team’s odds to win the title in Las Vegas.The Rockets’ odds improved from 30-1 to 15-1 at the Westgate SuperBook, while the Clippers’ odds fell from 40-1 to 100-1.
Besides the Rockets, theSan Antonio Spursalso had been planning to pursue Paul aggressivelyif he had become a free agent, sources have told ESPN.
Beverley tweeted that he was excited to be joining the Clippers. The 28-year-old point guard averaged 9.5 points, 4.2 assists and 5.9 rebounds per game this past season.
Williams, 30, averaged 17.5 points and 3.0 assists per game while playing for the Lakers and Rockets this past season. Dekker, 23, had 6.5 points and 3.7 rebounds per game in his second NBA season.
LeBron JamesandDwyane Wade, meanwhile, tweeted congratulations to Paul, their Team USA teammate.
Paul, 32, has performed impressively since the Clippers acquired him in a 2011 trade with New Orleans.
Since the deal, he’s made the All-NBA first teamthree times, All-NBA second teamtwo times and All-Defensive first teamsix times. He’s averaged 18.7 points, 9.8 assists and 2.4 steals over the six seasons.
But the Clippers’ shortcoming during that span has been playoff success. Despite stars like Paul,Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, as well as the addition in 2013 of Doc Rivers as coach, Los Angeles hasn’t made it out of the second round in the past six seasons and has lost in the first round each of the past two seasons.
Paul was ranked No. 3 on the list of top available free agents this offseason compiled by ESPN’s Kevin Pelton.