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Report: CP3 interests Clippers in free agency as back-up guard

If Chris Paul hits the NBA free-agent market, he will have suitors for the 2024-25 season.

While the Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs already have been linked to Paul, who currently is on the Warriors’ roster, the Los Angeles Clippers — his former team — could join the mix.

“I nonetheless heard this week that [Chris] Paul and Kyle Lowry, whose free agency is looming after finishing last season in Philadelphia, are veteran guards said to interest the Clippers,” NBC Sports NBA contributor Marc Stein wrote in his latest Substack newsletter (h/t Pro Basketball Talk’s Kurt Helin).

Paul has a $30 million non-guaranteed salary for the 2024-25 season, and the Warriors have until June 28 to decide whether or not to waive the veteran point guard or guarantee his salary.

The Warriors also could use Paul’s contract to help facilitate a trade this offseason.

Paul’s Warriors tenure always was thought to be a one-year union, with Golden State acquiring him from the Washington Wizards in the Jordan Poole trade last summer.

The short-term commitment to Paul was viewed as a way for the Warriors to shed long-term salary as they look to avoid CBA luxury tax penalties.

But Paul, in his 19th NBA season, embraced a reduced bench role with the Warriors and still was productive when he was on the court. In 58 games, including 18 starts, the 39-year-old averaged 9.2 points and 6.8 assists in 26.4 minutes. He shot 44.1 percent from the field and 37.1 percent from 3-point range, in line with his numbers from the 2022-23 season.

While it’s unclear what the future holds for Paul, Warriors coach Steve Kerr made it known following the end of the season that he would be in favor of Golden State bringing back the veteran point guard.

“Chris has been fantastic, not only on the court but his leadership,” Kerr said his end-of-season press conference following the Warriors’ play-in tournament loss to the Kings. “It was a difficult situation for him that he handled beautifully. He’s always been the starting point guard for his team. But you look at our team, and we’re pretty small. Even though he’s one of our best players, if we want to throw our best players out there and he’s one of them, you start adding up Chris, Steph [Curry], Klay [Thompson] – it’s not the ideal roster for him.

“… The way he handled it this year was incredible. So professional, such a great mentor for the younger guys. One of the great pros that I’ve ever been around – just his approach and his attitude and his sacrifice. I loved coaching Chris and I really hope we bring him back next year.”

Paul spent six seasons with the Clippers, arriving in Los Angeles in 2011 before being traded to the Houston Rockets in 2017.

If Paul isn’t back with the Warriors, there’s a good chance he’ll see them as an opponent next season.

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