LeBron James and Chris Paul are the closest of friends, but they will be at cross purposes over the next few days. They are recruiting against each other for the services of Ray Allen.
Allen has not ruled out re-signing with the Boston Celtics, who have made him a strong monetary offer, but signs are pointing to Allen choosing between James’ Miami Heat and Paul’s Los Angeles Clippers.
On Thursday, the Heat will host Allen for a visit as they try to persuade him to accept less money and perhaps a lesser role to join their bid to repeat as champions. Friday, Allen is scheduled to visit the Clippers, who have more money to offer and a clear role as the starting shooting guard.
Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin sprained his left knee, while guard Chris Paul suffered a strained right hip flexor and jammed the middle finger on his right hand in the Clippers’ 92-80 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday night.
Blake Griffin, Chauncey Billups, Chris Paul
Griffin went down after a hard foul from Grizzlies center Marc Gasol with 1:31 remaining in the third quarter and the Clippers trailing 75-58. Griffin lay on the ground for a few moments, grasping his left knee while surrounded by his teammates, coaches and team trainers.
Paul jammed the middle finger on his right hand in the first quarter before straining his right hip flexor in the fourth quarter. Both players will be evaluated Thursday.
Chauncey Billups suffered a severe left Achilles injury Monday night, and there are concerns that a tear could mean the end of his season.
“It felt like somebody kicked me, man,” Billups said after the game as he made his way to the team bus with crutches under both arms. “I don’t know if it’s torn, but I know it’s not good.”
Chris Paul fought back tears when asked to gauge Billups’ value to the team.
“I was backpedaling and tried to retreat and go back forward,” Billups said. “I couldn’t get up. I got up one time and I fell back down. At that point, I was just trying to get out of the game. I don’t know what it is. We’ll find out, man, tomorrow or the next day.”
The NBA announced their 2012 All-Star Starters on Thursday.
Blake Griffin, Andrew Bynum
For the Eastern Conference, Dwight Howard, LeBron James, Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony were the leading vote-getters.
In the Western Conference, Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul are joined by Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin and Andrew Bynum.
Griffin and Bynum each will be starting in their first All-Star Game.
The Los Angeles Clippers have agreed to a deal with the league-owned New Orleans Hornets to acquire guard Chris Paul.
The Clippers will send guard Eric Gordon, center Chris Kaman, forward Al-Farouq Aminu and Minnesota’s unprotected 2012 first-round pick to the Hornets for Paul. The Clippers will also receive two future second-round picks.
The deal required the approval of NBA commissioner David Stern, but is expected to be approved Wednesday night, sources said.
The New Orleans Hornets and Los Angeles Clippers submitted a multiplayer blockbuster deal to the NBA on Sunday that would send All-Star point guard Chris Paul to Los Angeles, a source with knowledge of the discussions said Monday.
But the trade as presented has one hitch: The league, which owns the Hornets, wanted Eric Bledsoe, while the Clippers want to keep their point guard, the source said.
The deal would be done if the league had not asked for Bledsoe, according to the source.
The trade as submitted would cost the Clippers guard Eric Gordon, center Chris Kaman and forward Al-Farouq Aminu. It would also include Minnesota’s first-round draft pick in 2012.
Dan Gilbert sent an email to David Stern, Adam Silver and several of his fellow owners to urge the NBA to block a proposed trade that would send Chris Paul to the Lakers.
The following is the email in its entirety:
It would be a travesty to allow the Lakers to acquire Chris Paul in the apparent trade being discussed.
This trade should go to a vote of the 29 owners of the Hornets.
Over the next three seasons this deal would save the Lakers approximately $20 million in salaries and approximately $21 million in luxury taxes. That $21 million goes to non-taxpaying teams and to fund revenue sharing.
I cannot remember ever seeing a trade where a team got by far the best player in the trade and saved over $40 million in the process. And it doesn’t appear that they would give up any draft picks, which might allow to later make a trade for Dwight Howard. (They would also get a large trade exception that would help them improve their team and/or eventually trade for Howard.) When the Lakers got Pau (at the time considered an extremely lopsided trade) they took on tens of millions in additional salary and luxury tax and they gave up a number of prospects (one in Marc Gasol who may become a max-salary player).
I just don’t see how we can allow this trade to happen.
I know the vast majority of owners feel the same way that I do.
When will we just change the name of 25 of the 30 teams to the Washington Generals?
The blockbuster Chris Paul trade is off, according to ESPN’s Marc Stein. Other media outlets have confirmed that the deal is dead.
NBA owners have pushed David Stern to kill a proposed trade that would send Paul to the Lakers from the NBA-owned Hornets.
Owners were irate with Stern during Thursday’s Board of Governors meeting.
Hornets’ GM Dell Demps received pressure from the NBA to back out of the agreed-upon trade and keep Paul, say sources.
The Rockets were also involved in the trade that was agreed upon in principle. Pau Gasol would have gone to Houston, while Kevin Martin, Luis Scola, Lamar Odom and Goran Dragic were set to be deal to the Hornets.
“WoW,” wrote Chris Paul on Twitter as a response.
Paul will report for Hornets training camp on Friday.
The Hornets are engaged in trade talks with the Lakers and Rockets about a three-team trade that would send Chris Paul to Los Angeles and Pau Gasol to Houston, sources said.
The Hornets would receive either Luis Scola or Kevin Martin, and possibly both, as well as draft picks. Houston owns the New York Knicks’ first-round pick from 2012, as well as its own.
The Rockets also have young assets to offer New Orleans in players like Chase Budinger, Patrick Patterson and Jordan Hill.
Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry and Los Angeles Clippers guard Eric Gordon are the two players New Orleans has pursued the hardest in the Hornets’ fast-moving search for a workable Chris Paul trade, according to sources close to the talks.
But the Hornets continue to meet with resistance from the Warriors and the Clippers on Curry and Gordon, sources told ESPN.com, because both teams are reluctant to part with their young backcourt cornerstones with no assurance from Paul that he will stay beyond this season.
Sources said that the Hornets have actually been trying to convince the Warriors to part with Curry since before last season’s trade deadline in February.