Could the Clippers Steal Chris Paul from New Orleans, Lakers?

Remember that whole thing last year when Carmelo Anthony refused to sign an extension with Denver, only he didn’t really come right out and say it, he just told everyone around him that it was New York or bust? Well take that and multiply it by three and you basically have what Dwight Howard, Chris Paul and Deron Williams are about to do to their teams. Except condense it into a three-to-four week stretch because it’ll all likely happen (at least for Paul and Howard) before the season begins on Christmas Day.

Consider it fun and entertaining for us spectators, gut-wrenching and headache-inducing for general managers.

Let’s assume that the Lakers somehow land Howard, and Williams is telling the truth when he says that he opted out of his contract with the Nets, only to re-sign with them for more money under the terms of the new collective bargaining agreement. That leaves us with Paul still in limbo.

Paul hasn’t expressed his intention to reject a contract extension with the Hornets, ESPN’s Chris Broussard reports, but the general belief is that Paul would like to leave New Orleans to join Amar’e Stoudemire and Anthony with the Knicks. However, the Hornets are not going to trade Paul to New York because, for one, the Knicks already sent their young prospects and picks to the Mile High City, and two, the Hornets are league-owned. The league is not going to hand over Paul to the Knicks for the holidays when they just made a big deal about maintaining “competitive balance” between both small and large market teams.

Paul is either going to have to wait until the summer of 2012 to sign with New York, become a rental on a contending team during a shortened 66-game season, or settle for getting traded and subsequently sign an extension with his new team. So New York may be out (for now), the Celtics were players but don’t have the star-power to sign Paul long term, the Lakers have come up, the Nets may still be in the hunt, but all that really leaves him with is one viable option–wait for it—the Clippers.

It’s simple. Los Angeles. Bright lights, big city, beautiful weather, a plethora of Kardashians. All the things a 20-something superstar would want and much more. Plus, the Clippers have youth, athleticism and tantalizing draft picks to offer in exchange for Paul. Exactly what the Hornets need to fill their laundry-list of needs.

Next Page: How could the Clippers land Paul?

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