Los Angeles Clippers say no deal to proposed trade for Chris Paul

By Beth Harris

Associated Press

Published: Monday, Dec. 12 2011 6:28 p.m. MST

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

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. The Clippers later claimed five-time All-Star Chauncey Billups off waivers. The 35-year-old point guard was waived by the New York Knicks last weekend.

"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 whom 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."

Billups averaged 16.8 points, 5.4 assists and 2.6 rebounds in 72 games with Denver and the Knicks last season. He was traded to New York in February. He helped lead Detroit to the 2004 championship and was the MVP of the NBA finals.

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 DeAndre Jordan, a restricted free agent.

Later in the day, the Clippers re-signed Jordan and matched the Warriors' offer sheet. The 23-year-old center appeared in a career-high 80 games last season, averaging 7.1 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.78 blocks while making 66 starts.

Olshey 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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