Chris Paul is expected to verbally agree to a five-year, $107-million contract to remain with the Los Angeles Clippers once free agency begins at 12:01 a.m. on July 1, according to ESPN's Ramona Shelbourne.
Paul appeared likely to re-sign with the Clippers all along, but the possibility of him leaving became clear once the rumors of his dissatisfaction with former coach Vinny Del Negro began. The point guard's reported hand in Del Negro's firing and subsequent push for the team to bring on Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers made it clear that Paul wanted to remain in Los Angeles, but at some cost.
Through the Clippers' several breakdowns in talks with Rivers, it appeared that Paul would consider leaving. There were few if any rumors about where Paul might look to sign outside of Los Angeles, but the Houston Rockets -- with all their cap space -- were one team potentially interested in Paul.
In the end, however, the Clippers got their next coach and Paul looked set to re-sign.
And as expected, Paul will choose to re-sign with the team that he's spent the last two years leading. Under Rivers, it's expected that Paul will have a sound direction to mold the Clippers into not only a playoff contender, but a championship contender. He, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan will have a chance to work with an experienced coaching staff that not only will know how to put them in positions to succeed but give them the motivation to do so.
Lead assistant coach Alvin Gentry and his background coaching Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire in Phoenix can be applied to Paul and Griffin's pick-and-roll game. Rivers will likely find a way to tighten up Los Angeles' defense. And Paul will give a team with a deep roster and tabulated past failures a refreshed but familiar shot at going deep into the playoffs.
Paul averaged 16.9 points, 9.7 assists and 3.7 rebounds per game last season, winning the MVP of the All-Star Game while leading the Clippers to a franchise-best 56 wins.