Don’t look now, but the Los Angeles Clippers are putting the pieces together to be a serious contender in the West.
The Clippers claimed veteran guard Chauncey Billups off waivers Monday, which appears to bolster the possibility of the other team in Los Angeles successfully completing the trade for All-Star point guard Chris Paul to team with All-Star forward Blake Griffin.
Talks between the Clippers and New Orleans Hornets broke down Monday because the NBA-owned Hornets and commissioner David Stern were insisting on receiving five players in exchange for Paul, including talented young guards Eric Gordon and Eric Bledsoe, according to ESPN.com.
The Clippers wisely declined while they stepped back to reassess what they would be giving. But they also made the move for Billups, which now makes it easier to relinquish both guards plus Chris Kaman and Al-Farouq Aminu in the deal.
The Clippers have also been successful in getting Paul to agree to not opt out of his contract this upcoming summer and wait to the summer of 2013 to become a free agent, which would give him and Griffin two years together, according to ESPN.com.
Negotiations are reportedly back on and going strong between the Hornets and Clippers, which could mean a deal may be in place by the end of Tuesday or sometime Wednesday.
Contact Terrance Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @Terranceharris.
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