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Five things Chris Paul's return means for the Clippers

July 01, 2013|By Ben Bolch
  • Chris Paul takes the ball against the Charlotte Bobcats during a game in Los Angeles.
Chris Paul takes the ball against the Charlotte Bobcats during a game in… (Chris Carlson / Associated…)

1. Doc Rivers has already proved to be worth giving up that draft pick. Paul got his coach, and the Clippers got their franchise player. It's that simple. So what if the first-round draft pick the Clippers must surrender in 2015 turns out to be a good player? The Clippers could have made their first trip to the Finals by then. And that pick could be playing for the last-place Celtics.

2. Clippers executives can celebrate for five minutes and then it's back to work. Paul's return to the Clippers has been a done deal for some time now, so let's not go overboard with the parties. At least not before the rest of this roster is assembled. There's plenty of work to be done to make this a championship-level team. Start by making that proposed trade of Eric Bledsoe for Arron Afflalo. Then see what you can get for DeAndre Jordan and/or Caron Butler. If Rivers believes that the team would be better served retaining Jordan so that the coach can develop him, so be it. He's more than earned that trust.

3. Paul's presence will make the Clippers an attractive destination for free agents for years to come. This could come in handy with proven veterans who will be willing to take less money to play for a championship contender. The Clippers could be paying luxury taxes -- sounds strange, doesn't it? -- for the foreseeable future, giving them limited resources to sign expensive players via free agency. But with Paul as the centerpiece of a rock-solid core, there figures to be more than a few players willing to give up a few extra (million) dollars in exchange for a chance to slip on a championship ring.

4. Barring injuries, the Clippers will make the playoffs for the next five seasons. This would extend their streak of consecutive post-season appearances to seven, the longest sustained stretch of success in franchise history. Given the right moves with the rest of their roster, it's not hard to imagine the Clippers making one or two trips to the Finals in that span. The Clippers are already outdrawing the Lakers on a per-game basis -- well, that's hardly a big deal considering they pack more fans into Staples Center -- but they could start to make a real dent in the city's heavy Lakers leanings. They might even start showing Clippers games at the Regal Beagle.

5. Cliff Paul was just the start of a flurry of endorsement deals. Get ready to see a lot more of Paul -- Chris and Cliff -- on your TV set. Paul, who has already graced the cover of GQ, has the charisma to become one of the NBA's top pitchmen and will likely get plenty of opportunities living in the world's entertainment capital. A little advice for Paul: Make sure you watch "Kazaam" before you agree to your first movie deal.


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