Fans around the NBA are hoping that when Chris Paul becomes a free agent, their team will be at the top of their list for his services. To their disdain, it appears Paul will not be leaving the Los Angeles Clippers and will remain with them long-term.

Paul and the Clippers have a verbal agreement that the star point guard is going to opt-out of the final year of his deal and will sign a new extension with the team in the Summer.

The following is from Basketball Insiders.

“He’ll opt out of his final $24.26 million and ink a new deal with the Clippers for north of $200 million. While Knicks fan often dream of a Carmelo Anthony-Paul tandem, it’s not going to happen. Sources close to the process said that it’s already been verbally agreed to and it’s simply a function of the calendar and the new Collective Bargaining Agreement kicking in.”

Even with Blake Griffin’s name on the rumor mill, it not becomes unlikely that he will be traded as the Clippers will have a top-tier roster for at least the next 5 years. Los Angeles knows that if Griffin is moved, Paul may get out of his verbal agreement unless they are able to attract an even more prolific free agent. Without a confirmation that the Clippers would be keeping their “Big-3” intact, Paul would not have agreed to remain with the team.

With career averages of 18.7 points, 9.9 assists and 4.4 rebounds per game, Paul’s production and what he brings to the court is something Los Angeles could not afford to lose. He is currently 31 and by the time the extension ends he will be on the decline of his career, but these numbers are irreplaceable, making this move necessary for the Clippers.

With Paul now locked up, expect Los Angeles to be buyers rather than sellers as Thursday’s trade deadline nears. The Clippers will continue to compete for championships, but will not be able to beat the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference without adding another piece of the puzzle. This year could finally be the year that the Clippers go all-in.

Chris Paul is getting paid and the Clippers are going to remain at the top of the league as they continue to look for their first championship in franchise history.

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