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NBA Notebook

Paul still in limbo

Clippers reject deal for guard

Associated Press / December 13, 2011
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Chris Paul isn’t coming to Los Angeles, at least not now.

The Clippers yesterday 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.

“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 first-round 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.’’

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, Lakers, and Rockets that would have sent Paul to Los Angeles.

The Clippers yesterday claimed veteran point guard Chauncey Billups off waivers from the Knicks. Billups averaged 16.8 points, 5.4 assists, and 2.6 rebounds in 72 games with Denver and New York last season. Meanwhile, a person with knowledge of the negotiations said the Clippers matched Golden State’s $42.7 million, four-year offer for center DeAndre Jordan. The Warriors signed Jordan to the offer sheet Sunday night.

Magic, Howard talk

The relationship between Dwight Howard and the Magic appears to be improving - at least a bit. Magic chief executive officer Alex Martins said he sat down with the All-Star center yesterday morning, a day after Howard said he hadn’t spoken to general manager Otis Smith since asking the team to be traded.

Martins said he remains confident things still can be done to convince Howard that Orlando can build a championship team.

“We have to continue to do what’s right for this organization to win a championship and the first piece of that is keeping Dwight,’’ Martins said at the team’s annual media day.

Then, after speaking at length for two straight days about all that was wrong with management, Howard said that the door remains open for him to re-sign. “As of right now, I have on a Magic uniform . . . If it’s meant for me to stay here, then I’ll stay,’’ Howard said.

Pistons cut Hamilton

The Pistons finalized what has been a formality, cutting ties with three-time All-Star Richard Hamilton. Detroit made the move after both sides agreed to terms of a buyout. Hamilton was due to make $19 million guaranteed over the final two years of his contract in Detroit. He was bought out for $11 million, saving the rebuilding team $4 million in cap space this year and $4 million more next season. Hamilton is expected to land with the Bulls . . . Former Northeastern star J.J. Barea is reportedly close to signing with the Timberwolves. The free agent point guard has spent the past five years in Dallas and blossomed during the Mavericks’ run to the NBA title last season . . . Carmelo Anthony hyperextended his left knee during the Knicks’ practice but said the injury was not a concern. “I’m fine, I’m fine. No worries,’’ the All-Star forward said . . . The Rockets claimed former Harvard star Jeremy Lin off waivers from Golden State and signed first-round pick Marcus Morris. Lin played in 29 games as a rookie last season after signing with the Warriors as an undrafted free agent . . . Guard Vince Carter signed his contract with the Mavericks and is expected to take part in practice today.

Grizzlies keep Gasol

Marc Gasol announced on Twitter that he has reached a tentative agreement with the Grizzlies, keeping him in Memphis. Gasol tweeted that he “can’t wait to get on the court with all my teammates!’’ The Grizzlies later confirmed the agreement. The Commercial Appeal in Memphis reported Gasol and the Grizzlies agreed on a four-year deal worth nearly $58 million. The center was a restricted free agent. The 26-year-old center averaged 15 points and 11.2 rebounds in the Grizzlies’ playoff run, an improvement from his averages of 11.7 points and 7.0 boards during the regular season . . . Point guard Baron Davis left the Cavaliers to seek a second opinion on his stiff back, an injury that has sidelined him in the early practice sessions. Davis still could be waived as part of the NBA’s new amnesty clause. Also, the team re-signed veteran guard Anthony Parker . . . The Raptors agreed to terms with guard Anthony Carter, who split last season between Denver and New York . . . The NBA legal battle is officially over. US District Judge Patrick Schiltz in Minnesota dismissed the lawsuit at the request of players and owners now that the sides have approved a new collective bargaining agreement . . . The league has put in place a concussion policy that will help determine when players return from head injuries. New protocols went into effect with the start of training camps, and the neurologist hired to lead its concussion program will be consulted before any player returns to competition.

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