Clippers Agree to Send Chris Paul to Rockets in Blockbuster Trade

Chris Paul is on his way to the Houston Rockets, according to a report from Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski, in a move that is expected to shake up the NBA's power structure.

Reports came down early Wednesday morning that Paul moving to the Rockets was a serious possibility. ESPN's Marc Stein said at the time that James Harden was part of the recruiting team for Houston, urging Paul to join up with him to take on other Western Conference powers.

Paul and Harden were “determined to play together,” so once it became clear that Paul was going to leave for Houston in free agency, he reportedly arranged for the Clippers to send him in a trade instead in order to leave Los Angeles with something in return. The Clippers will receive Rockets players Patrick Beverley, Sam Dekker, Lou Williams, and a 2018 first-round pick from Houston.

Things aren't so great on LA's end of things, but this is as good of a return as you could hope for when a star player has informed you he could leave you with nothing. There are other dominoes to fall for the Clippers—Blake Griffin's free agency just got a whole lot more interesting—but they'll come out of a no-win situation with something, at least. In a post on his Twitter, Paul expressed his admiration for the Los Angeles community and thanked the fans for all their support during his time there.

Of course, the focus will be on Houston's end, and NBA Twitter was sent into hysterics with a single tweet, hardly knowing how to process Paul leaving L.A. to join up with Harden. Though some expressed concern about each player's preference to work with the ball in their hands, the general reaction was one of excitement about the possibilities.

Despite the uncertainty surrounding Paul's offseason, the Rockets never seemed like a real threat to obtain his services. Early buzz revolved around Paul going to San Antonio, where he would have been the clear alpha dog in the Spurs' back court from day one. Now, he'll have to share that space with last year's MVP runner-up, who had transitioned to playing the de facto point guard role under Mike D'Antoni. There's also the question of whether Paul will buy into D'Antoni's offense, as his teams have traditionally played at a slower, more methodical pace at Paul's behest, while D'Antoni is all about running and gunning.  

But if the Rockets can get it to work, they might be one of the most exciting offensive teams to watch in the history of the league. Harden and Paul are ruthlessly efficient offensive players and more than capable as shooting threats off-the-ball, and if they come to an understanding about sharing the workload, there's no telling what their offensive ceiling is. 

For those of you wondering how Kevin Durant joining the Warriors might shift power around the league, you're looking at a direct product. Faced with an unstoppable juggernaut, players and teams are going to move heaven and earth just to give themselves a chance against Golden State. 

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Chris Paul Says Family Will Play Biggest Role in Free Agency, Talks New Capsule Collection

Chris Paul entered the NBA the same year former commissioner David Stern implemented the controversial dress code. So the Clippers point guard has seen the style of the league change drastically since 2005 as stars like Paul and his pals Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, and LeBron James roll up to arenas in designer duds and make international best-dressed lists.  

“It's been interesting to see how things have evolved over the years and how sports and fashion have come to play a huge role,” says Paul. “I think it's opened up opportunities for the sports world and the fashion world.” 

Paul, one of the most stylish players in the league, has taken advantage of one such recent opportunity to collaborate with the men's brand Five Four Club and the baller celebrated the release of a new capsule collection with a party in New York two days before the NBA Draft. 

Featuring the likes of Sixers star Joel Embiid and designers Robert Geller and Richard Chai, Paul and Five Four Club founder Dee Murthy and Andres Izquieta hosted an intimate dinner at the Meatpacking District restaurant Catch that Complex was invited to. There, we talked to the trio about the capsule collection, the inspiration behind it, their favorite pieces, and, for Paul specifically, a little free agency talk sprinkled in.  

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LeBron James to the Lakers? Yes, This Is a Rumor That’s Actually Going Around Right Now

From now until the time he retires, LeBron James' free agency decisions will be covered with the fervor of a presidential election or, say, an NBA prospect's loud-ass dad. This has been the case for a long time. Because of this well established fact—oh, and probably because the Cavs currently find themselves in a 3-0 Finals hole—rumors are seeping out about where LeBron will take his talents to next when he's a free agent in the summer of 2018 (yes, over a year from now).

Those rumors, which certainly won't be the last, have the current Cavs' star heading to Los Angeles to play for the Lakers. The other rumor that came out on Thursday has him going to…oh, also L.A., but this time to the Clippers. Kevin O'Connor of The Ringer relayed the chatter, which has reportedly been floating around NBA circles. O'Connor also made reference to a nearly year-old Yahoo article from Adrian Wojnarowski that said there was a belief throughout the league that James wouldn't remain in Cleveland for the remainder of his career. 

If you keep up with your LBJ rumors, this shouldn't come as a total shock, unless you expect him to somehow convince Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade to come to Ohio.

O'Connor also talked about some comments Jalen Rose made on First Take this week, where he said he thought LeBron would eventually play in Cali because he has a house a half an hour away from the Staples Center (the same one that got vandalized):

After the completion of the 2017-18 season, LeBron will have a player option for the 2018-19 campaign worth $35.6 million.

But perhaps LeBron doesn't think Cleveland will stay competitive in the future. Or *clears throat loudly* perhaps he likes the attention. Or perhaps he's just sick of the narrative of “Why can't LeBron James win titles?!” even when everybody knows it's kind of a BS point because he's going up against a Finals opponent that's clearly superior.

It's up to you to decide how fact-based these statements are. That's kind of the thing with LeBron: everything about him becomes news.

Anyway, have fun going through this all over again, Cavs fans.

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The Clippers Are Reportedly Taking the Chris Paul-Spurs Rumors ‘Very Seriously’

Chris Paul is expected to opt out of the final year of his contract with the Clippers so he can test free agency, and he and the Spurs reportedly have “mutual interest.”

In basic theory, the mutual attraction makes sense: at this point in his career, Paul wants a title. The Spurs want to overtake Golden State, and they’re probably one star away from making a real run at it. Paul is one of the 20-or-so best NBA players of all-time, and he's still performing at an elite caliber.

In practicality, the situation is a lot more nuanced. The Spurs’ hands are tied with the cap and their current roster. (One example: Pau Gasol has a $16.2 million player option that he'll almost certainly be accepting.) It could happen, but it’d take a lot of maneuvering.

Nonetheless, the Clippers are taking the threat of the Spurs seriously, according to Marc Stein.

The Clippers may have reason to fear Pop and company's lurking eyes. The Spurs are one of the shrewdest organizations in professional sports. If they decide they want a player, they can probably figure out a way to get him, even if it involves some contract jockeying.

The Clippers could give Paul five years and $210 million, or he could command four years and $153.5 million from another squad. He’d be leaving quite a bit of money of the table if he signed with anyone other than the Clippers. But he doesn't seem to want a Melo-esque fate.

Say he does really want to join the Spurs, passing up money for a better chance to win the title. Could the Spurs make it happen? They could, though it would likely involve trading away an important player like Danny Green and letting Jonathon Simmons and Patty Mills go elsewhere. There’s a good breakdown of the full “what would need to happen” on SB Nation.

Say all the pieces can fall into place. Should the Spurs do it? That depends on what the organization’s highest priority is—which I certainly can't speak to. 

If it’s winning now and overtaking Golden State next year or the year after that, then yes, Paul makes them a better team. He fits well with their pieces, particularly LaMarcus Aldridge, who could undergo a career resurrection with Paul's assistance. They would make a lethal pick-and-pop duo. With Paul at the point, Kawhi Leonard on the wing, and L.A. on the block, San Antonio’s ability to control the pace and space the floor may give Golden State all it could handle.

If San Antonio is building for five years down the road, however—if they consider the next couple years a lost cause—they probably need to pass on the 32-year-old point guard and focus on holding onto and developing their current pieces. Simmons (27), Mills (28), and Dewayne Dedmon (27) are all championship-caliber rotation players, and Dejounte Murray, the Spurs’ 20-year-old point guard, has shown some promise.

It would likely make more sense to commit less money to a free agent point guard like Kyle Lowry (Tier II), George Hill (Tier III), or Jeff Teague (Tier IV). The Spurs also have the 29th pick in this year's loaded draft. They could either look to move up the board and pick an elite prospect or stay put and select a guard who's being slept on, such as Dwayne Bacon (Florida State), Nigel Williams-Goss (Gonzaga), or Josh Hart (Villanova).

Send all complaints, compliments, and tips to sportstips@complex.com.

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Chris Paul Rips Reporter for Asking Ridiculous Question During Post-Game Press Conference

The 2017 NBA Playoffs have already given us a handful of memorable post-game press conference moments, and on Tuesday night, Chris Paul added to that growing list.

Following the Clippers’ 96-92 loss to the Jazz, which resulted in Los Angeles falling behind Utah 3-2 in the series with Game 6 set to take place back in Salt Lake City, a reporter asked CP3 if he expects the series to go to a Game 7. The reporter was obviously trying to gauge CP3’s confidence in his team, but CP3 didn’t take too kindly to the way he phrased his question. He was actually in disbelief over it and couldn’t believe that the reporter even bothered to ask him it.

“What?!” Paul said, as several people at the press conference laughed. “What you think? I’m on the team. What you want me to say? 'Nah, it’s over'? I mean, that’s what you want to hear? Yes. Come on, man, you been doing this long enough. Seriously, right? I don’t know. Everybody in here laughing for a reason.”

It’s hard to blame CP3 for being upset here. As we mentioned, his team had just lost a pivotal Game 5 matchup to once again lose home-court advantage in the series (the Clippers also lost Game 1 at home before rebounding to win Game 3 in Utah). And while the reporter didn’t necessarily ask the most egregious question in the world, he certainly could have and should have come up with a better way to ask it.

Check out the clip above to hear CP3 go off on the guy for asking his question.

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Do LeBron James and Other NBA Stars Really Hate Steph Curry?

Marcus Thompson, a columnist for the Bay Area News Group, authored a book that was released on Tuesday called Golden: The Miraculous Rise of Steph Curry. We're sure there are some interesting tidbits in there, and the one that really grabbed people's attention suggests Curry's NBA success and popularity has pissed off a number of his very talented colleagues, including Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, and LeBron James.

When you got a book out you got to hype it, and this past weekend Thompson was doing just that on The Big Lead's radio show where he explained the reasoning behind the animosity towards the two-time MVP. As transcribed by The Sporting News, here's what Thompson had to say:

“I think if you ask them and they're being honest, they don't like all the hype he gets, and they have to direct it that way. I think, out of all of them, if somebody doesn't like Steph Curry, I think it's probably Westbrook. He just shows no sign of … this ain't really about Steph, it's bigger. His seems to be, 'I don't like that dude.' But LeBron and them, I think they will say, 'Man, I like Steph. We can have a conversation.' But there's something that burns them about the fact that Steph is the one that is exalted and because of that they want to go at him and demean his hype. They want to take him down.”

Thompson also brought up this block from Game 6 of the 2016 Finals, before mentioning that you “never see” LeBron talk trash like that to anyone else:

He said part of what elicited that reaction was that players yearn to “go the extra mile to disprove [Curry's] hype.” He also brought up a more innocent time, when Curry was playing college ball for Davidson, and LeBron would “mentor” the youngster who is, like, three years younger than him. Perhaps you remember those days?

On that subject, Thompson said:

“[LeBron] was a big fan of Curry, he would go to Curry's games at Davidson, and even when they got to the NBA, they had moments where LeBron was looking at him like, ‘wow’ and then Steph kind of like challenged LeBron’s status. The part that’s odd for Steph – why does that mean there has to be some beef between us? He loves LeBron, he respects LeBron, and he’s like, ‘because the outside world is pitting us together, why do you and I have to now have this disdain between us, I thought we were cool? That’s the question that’s in Curry’s mind and Curry’s camp: Why do you not like me when all I did was basically respect everything you did, and kind of follow the model you carried out? So there's an interesting dynamic there, and it’s not just with LeBron, Steph wants to be accepted by all these guys. This is what he worked for. For you to say, ‘you're one of us.’ It seems like they don’t want to give that to him. Not yet anyway.”

He also had this to say about Chris Paul:

“Everybody on the Clippers … Chris Paul was one of those guys. Chris Paul was somebody [Curry] looked up to. Chris Paul used to dominate that matchup. Chris Paul was supposed to be next in line to win a championship. Then, suddenly, it was Steph … that’s another relationship where [Curry] was like, ‘oh, I look up to you,’ and suddenly there is this disdain vs Steph. There’s a lot of those …”

Finally, Thompson added that many players who were/are Hall of Famers have wondered why they weren't as beloved as Curry. If you want to hear what he had to say more in-depth, you can listen to it hear.

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Adam Silver Suggests NBA Might Add 4-Point Shot, 10-Point Shot to NBA All-Star Game

Despite a series of highlight-reel dunks and the usual parade of stars on hand, the 2017 NBA All-Star Game fell flat for a lot of basketball fans. Taking a few plays off is one thing, but fans increasingly feel the league's mid-season event lacks an element of competitiveness to make it compelling.

In lieu of blaming millennials for this problem, NBA commissioner Adam Silver is in search of a solution to restore the former glory of the All-Star Game. Speaking at the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in Boston on Saturday, Silver told the crowd that Chris Paul reached out on behalf of the player's union to start a dialogue on the matter. Per Five Thirty Eight's Chris Herring:

This is an encouraging sign. The league can do a lot of things, but it can't force buy-in from players who are mostly trying to get through the event unscathed. They need to rest up for playoff runs and pushes, so defense is firmly optional at All-Star weekend.

But just when you thought things were headed in the right direction, Silver dropped quite a bomb on the Sloan audience:

It's hard to understand the logic here. The NBA supposedly wants their players to take the game more seriously, but one of the public suggestions for change from the league's own commissioner is to fundamentally change the game? It's a ludicrous idea and doesn't do much to serve their stated goal of making it competitive.

Players are already speaking out against the premise. Warriors superstar Steph Curry spoke to ESPN's Chris Haynes after Silver teased the idea on Saturday, and he flat-out said a 10-point shot from half-court, “would make it worse.” 

A few of Curry's teammates and fellow All-Stars agreed with their leader. Draymond Green offered a simple solution: “Raise the money,” he said. “I'm serious. That's how you're going to make it more competitive.”

Klay Thompson concurred with Green on the importance of upping the stakes, and made clear the reason many players are tentative to exert maximum effort. “Fear of being injured is a factor. You don’t want to get injured in a game that really has no implications,” he said.

If the league wants to add some more financial incentive for the winning team, or do almost anything to change the motivational factors, those are real discussions to be had. Participants in the game, including probable flat-Earth truther Kyrie Irving, have already expressed a desire to ramp up the defense in future contests. The NBA doesn't need to reinvent the wheel to get things pointed in the right direction.

Silver should certainly take advice from All-Stars who are interested in a more competitive game. But someone please tell him to start ignoring whoever had the 10-point shot idea.

Send all complaints, compliments, and tips to sportstips@complex.com.

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Steve Stoute Wins Jay Z’s Fantasy Football League

JAY Z and D'USSE Cognac Host The Official Legends of the Summer After Party - Chicago

By Sowmya Krishnamurthy

Jay Z had a big year but even he couldn’t reign supreme in his fantasy football league. Complex shares that longtime friend and Translation Marketing owner Steve Stoute took home the top prize in Jigga’s fantasy football league.

Hov’s league apparently also included celebs like NBA star Chris Paul, and the rapper asked ESPN experts like Matthew Berry to help him with his draft. “Congrats to @stevestoute for winning THIS in the GUTS fantasy football league aka Jay-Z’s lg,” Matthew Berry tweeted, along with a photo of a championship ring recently.

He may not have won fantasy football, but Jay takes real-life sports very seriously. In 2013, he launched Roc Nation Sports and signed baseball star Robinson Cano and Kevin Durant.