Clippers trade Chris Paul to Rockets in blockbuster multiplayer deal

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The Los Angeles Clippers have agreed to trade All-Star point guard Chris Paul to the Houston Rockets in a deal involving multiple players, ESPN reported. (Mark J. Terrill)

The Los Angeles Clippers have agreed to trade All-Star point guard Chris Paul to the Houston Rockets in a deal involving multiple players.

As part of the exchange, Houston will send forward Sam Dekker, point guard Patrick Beverley and shooting guard Lou Williams to L.A., along with a protected 2018 first-round draft pick.

The Clippers are also picking up center Montrez Harrell, guard DeAndre Liggins, guard Darrun Hilliard and forward Kyle Wiltjer from Houston. The Rockets just acquired Hilliard from Detroit and Liggins from Dallas on Wednesday in order to make the deal for Paul work.

The deal also allows Paul, 32, to still be eligible to sign a five-year $205 million max contract in Houston.

The trade was first reported by Yahoo Sports' The Vertical, which said Paul had intended to decline the option on his contract and wanted to be a teammate of fellow All-Star James Harden.

Sources told ESPN that Paul instead agreed to opt in for the last year of his contract (valued at $24.2 million) in order for the trade to move forward.

The Rockets are not done. They're still going to go after forward Paul George, a Lancaster, California native who is currently with the Indiana Pacers.

The Clippers now have to wait on what Blake Griffin will do. He also can opt out of the final year of his contract and become an unrestricted free agent.

Paul, a nine-time All-Star, has averaged 18.7 points, 9.9 assists, 4.4 rebounds and 2.3 steals over his 12-year career, though he has been dogged with criticism in recent years for failing to help the Clippers get out of the second round of the playoffs.

Los Angeles reached the postseason in each of Paul's six seasons with the team, but the Clippers were eliminated in the first round three times and in the Western Conference semifinals three other times.

Paul has also been president of the National Basketball Players Association since 2013.

He took to social media Wednesday to thank the Clippers and the Los Angeles community for all their support.

"To the Los Angeles community and to CLIPPER NATION I say THANK YOU!!! For the past 6 years you all have welcomed not only me but my family. We love all of you," Paul wrote.

Some of the newest Clippers took to Twitter to say goodbye to their old team and hello to their new home.

NBA star LeBron James also took to Twitter to congratulate his friend Paul: "My brother off to a new journey! Best of luck to @CP3. H-Town, y'all got a great one coming to your city."

The next task for the Clippers is to work on retaining Blake Griffin, who told the team last week he will not pick up his option for next season.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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sportsNBALos Angeles Clippersu.s. & worldHouston RocketsbasketballLos AngelesHoustonTexas
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