Big decision deserves time
There really is too much of a difference between what the Clippers can pay Chris Paul over the next five years from what anyone else can over the next four years for him to seriously think about leaving. Thirty million dollars is THIRTY MILLION DOLLARS. But there is a value in Paul listening to other team's pitches.
It is always better to know what's out there and gather all the available information before you make a decision. Even if you know what you're going to do, even if it's 99.9 percent you're leaning in a certain direction, that information is valuable.
For example: Paul will likely secure an early termination option after the third season in his new five-year deal. If he's not happy in Los Angeles after a season or two, that option gives him leverage again to either ask for a trade or influence the franchise. And at that point, all that information he gathered from his suitors this summer becomes very valuable again.
That's a long time down the road. And that's a pretty big leap. But these are big decisions, and anything and everything must be weighed.
It's a once-in-career opportunity
It's never smart to show your hand. Whether you're playing poker or doing business, it's always better to leave others guessing in order to get what you want. That's exactly what Chris Paul is doing with the Clippers.
There are only so many times in the career of a professional athlete where you hold all the power and leverage. You get drafted by a team, whether you like that team or not, and have to sign with that team basically for whatever terms are tagged to your specific slot. You can also get traded or cut by your team without notice. The only time a player has any kind of leverage is when he is a free agent -- and a franchise-altering free agent at that.
Players get that opportunity only once or twice in their careers. Paul has that opportunity right now and it would be foolish for him to squander it by blindly committing himself to the Clippers for the next five years before they figure out what they will do with their coach and free agents.
Now is the time when Paul can wield the most power. He can essentially choose who he wants as the next coach and chose what direction this franchise takes. He holds more weight than Blake Griffin right now, not just because he's a better player, but because Griffin is already locked up for the next five years.
Paul is in a position to get the Clippers to do exactly what he wants or he will walk. In the end, the smart money is on Paul staying with the Clippers but he wouldn't be smart to make that decision now before he wields his influence to put together the team he wants.