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Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2011

Clippers nix trade for Paul


LOS ANGELES — Chris Paul isn't coming to Los Angeles, at least not now.

News photo
Happy camper: New York Knicks center Tyson Chandler smiles as he leaves the court at the team's media day on Monday in Greenburgh, New York. AP PHOTO

The Clippers on Monday rejected a proposed deal by the New Orleans Hornets for the All-Star guard because the team felt "the cost was just too high," general manager Neil Olshey said.

Whether the deal is altogether dead, though, remains to be seen.

"Everything's over until it's reborn again," Olshey said. "New Orleans made a fair offer on their end. We didn't think that it was something that we wanted to pursue at this point."

Olshey declined to identify who the Clippers had offered in exchange for Paul but their package reportedly included center Chris Kaman, reserve guard Eric Bledsoe, forward Al-Farouq Aminu and their No. 1 pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. Reports suggested the Hornets also wanted guard Eric Gordon included.

"There wasn't one piece or another piece that killed this deal," Olshey said. "The aggregate compensation that we were going to have to convey to them was just too much and it was going to hamstring our franchise in the long term."

It's the second time in five days that a deal moving Paul to Los Angeles fell apart. Last week, NBA commissioner David Stern nixed a three-team trade by the league-owned Hornets, Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets that would have sent Paul to the Lakers.

"This is a superstar player that is obviously in a delicate situation with his current franchise," Olshey said. "We just felt right now we're just not going to be able to meet where we're equally satisfied with the outcome."

Olshey and coach Vinny Del Negro met with Blake Griffin and the rest of the team before practice Monday to tell them about the Hornets' proposal and the $42.7 million, four-year offer sheet from the Golden State Warriors for center DeAndre Jordan, a restricted free agent. The Clippers have three days to match the offer.

"Our goal right now is obviously to bring him back," Del Negro said.

However, Olshey indicated that the Clippers would use their remaining $3.5 million in salary cap room first before matching the offer sheet. He also said the team would turn its attention to discussions involving signing Gordon to a contract extension.

Del Negro said some parts of the Paul deal didn't make sense for the Clippers.

"It's over," he said. "Our decision is final right now. Things always have the ability to change, but as of right now I feel very confident in the direction we're going. I think guys are feeling good about where we are right now."

The Clippers signed Caron Butler to a $24 million, three-year deal Friday, giving them a boost at small forward.

"This is a better team that's on the floor now and in the future than what would have been put together had we had to convey the package that they had asked for," Olshey said about the Hornets' offer.

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