Updated at 11:34 with Paul confirmation
NBA free agency no sooner began this morning than Chris Paul was off the table.
Paul was expected to verbally agree to a five-year, $107-million contract extension with the Los Angeles Clippers at 12:01 a.m. EDT, virtually the instant he and the team were allowed. Paul cannot actually sign until July 10, though, when the free-agency moratorium ends. The agreement was first reported by ESPN and later confirmed by Paul on Twitter.
I’M IN!!! #CLIPPERNATION
— Chris Paul (@CP3) July 1, 2013
The move was considered to be all but a fait accompli when Doc Rivers agreed to coach the team last week in exchange for whopping compensation sent to the Boston Celtics. Rivers, according to the Los Angeles Times, was expected to be camped at Paul’s house when free agency opened, but that plan fell through because Paul was attending the BET awards.
Not that it really mattered. ESPN reported Saturday that Paul’s people had told executives with other teams not to bother chasing Paul because he was staying put. The Clippers’ other cornerstone, Blake Griffin, is locked up, too. He signed a five-year, $95 million extension last summer.
Paul’s decision leaves Dwight Howard as the biggest free agent still on the market.