Writing at Grantland, ESPN’s Bill Simmons says the Clips went back to the negotiating table after initially turning down a deal with the Celtics because their all-star point guard threatened to leave for the Houston Rockets if they didn’t acquire the coach, which they eventually did.
Here’s what Simmons says:
To Chris Paul, who basically told the Clippers that after they squashed the first incarnation of their Doc Rivers trade. Chris didn’t like that. He let them know he was heading to Houston to team up with Dwight. And he wasn’t kidding. For about 36 hours, Morey probably felt like all 11 guys in Ocean’s Eleven. You know what happened next: The Clippers blinked, the Doc trade got revived and finished, and the Clippers were offering Chris 107 million reasons to play for him. Crisis averted. The lesson, as always: Chris Paul runs the Clippers.
This report jives with what we’ve previously written. We posted a story in June that said the Clippers re-engaged the Celtics in trade talks for Rivers because CP3 pressured them. The talk all throughout the offseason was that Paul wanted the Clippers to get rid of Vinny Del Negro as coach, though he was angry with those rumors getting out.
The real interesting part of this report is that CP3 was threatening to join Dwight Howard in Houston. That means Howard knew in June that he was going to sign with the Rockets. It also means the report that Paul and Howard were talking about teaming up is true. It also means what everyone already knew: the Clippers are at CP3′s mercy.