Chris Paul Threatened To Bolt For Houston After Talks With Rivers Initially Broke Down
Nobody was surprised that Chris Paul re-signed with the Los Angeles Clippers. Especially after the team hired Doc Rivers to be head coach. However, Paul staying in Los Angeles wasn’t always a foregone conclusion. Bill Simmons is reporting on Grantland.com that when talks with Rivers initially broke down, Chris Paul was serious about leaving the Clippers to join forces with Dwight Howard in Houston:
To Chris Paul, who basically told the Clippers that after they squashed the first incarnation of their Doc Rivers trade. Chris didn’t like that. He let them know he was heading to Houston to team up with Dwight. And he wasn’t kidding. For about 36 hours, Morey probably felt like all 11 guys in Ocean’s Eleven. You know what happened next: The Clippers blinked, the Doc trade got revived and finished, and the Clippers were offering Chris 107 million reasons to play for him. Crisis averted. The lesson, as always: Chris Paul runs the Clippers.
Simmons is correct: Chris Paul does run the Clippers and Clippers fans better hope it stays that way. The second Chris Paul picks up and leaves the Clippers (if that ever happens), you can rest assured that Blake Griffin will be on his way out of Clippertown, and that the Clippers will once again be the laughing-stock of the league. The Clippers needed to get rid of Vinny Del Negro as head coach not because Del Negro was necessarily a bad coach, but because Chris Paul had a beef with him. That in and of itself was a good enough reason to fire Del Negro and hire the coach that Chris Paul wanted to have. Clippers owner Donald Sterling has been nothing short of being perhaps the worst owner in the history of professional sports, but the one thing he has done right is let Chris Paul run the show.
As for the report of Chris Paul threatening the organization to bolt for Houston to team up with Dwight Howard, this report doesn’t surprise me. The Clippers have historically been a joke, and Chris Paul knows as well as you and I do that he’s the only thing keeping the franchise afloat and relevant. If anybody has the right to hold the Clippers hostage and threaten them like this, it’s Chris Paul (and maybe in a few years Blake Griffin). If you are going to be the face of the Clippers, you better be aggressive about what you want in order to be competitive because if there is anything that this organization has failed to figure out over the years, it’s how to be competitive.
—Ben Parker: follow me on twitter @nba_lord