Paul pumped to be with Clippers

Chris Paul was introduced to the Clippers media yesterday. (Reuters)

Chris Paul was introduced to the Clippers media yesterday. (Reuters)

Ryan Wolstat, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:17 PM ET

The Chris Paul-led Los Angeles Clippers have the deepest crop of point guards in the NBA, but it appears Chauncey Billups will be sticking around.

New York waived Billups in order to facilitate a sign-and-trade involving former Maverick Tyson Chandler and L.A. surprisingly made a waiver claim on the veteran, who had warned teams to stay away and let him pick his landing spot.

That was pre-Paul, but Billups sounds, if not pleased, OK with his current situation.

“I’m a Clipper, and I’m happy to be here. It could have been much worse,” Billups said at his introductory press conference.

“This is a really good situation. I think these guys are ready to take the next leap and I think I can be a part of that.”

With starting shooting guard Eric Gordon lost in the Paul transaction, it is possible that Billups could spend time in that role. He played both guard spots earlier in his career.

Young backup point guard Eric Bledsoe showed promise last season as a rookie, but is sidelined for up to two months due to an injury.

Former standout Mo Williams is also on the roster, but it is expected he will soon be moved for help at another position.

Meanwhile, Paul seemed more genuinely ecstatic with his situation on Friday.

“I’m excited to be here in L.A. with this unbelievable franchise with so much history behind it,” Paul said.

“This is going to be an unbelievable experience.”

The Clippers expect Paul, who is only signed for two more seasons, to be with the club long-term.

“He’s not here to jump on a lily pad for two seasons,” said general manager Neil Olshey.

“He’s coming here to be a part of the future of the franchise ... It gave me the confidence to know that if we get this guy here and continue to do the right things, they’re all going to be here for the future and long-term.”

It is unclear what New Orleans intends to do with part of the return it received for Paul.

Both Chris Kaman and Emeka Okafor have been excellent starting centres in the past, though Okafor could be moved to power forward to replace the departed David West.

REQUEST STANDS

Dwight Howard has denied that he has rescinded his trade request from the Orlando Magic.

“There’s no back and forth,” Howard said.

“It still stands and we know what’s going on. I talked to Otis (Smith, the team’s general manager) today. What we talked about is gonna stay between me and him.”

“Right now me and Otis are gonna continue to try to make this team better,” he said. “And I’m gonna do my part on the court. That’s the reason I’m here.”

BIRCH OUT

Montreal’s Khem Birch is leaving the University of Pittsburgh.

The freshman and highly rating recruit has left the team.

“Khem has decided to leave the team for personal reasons,” Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon told the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.

“We thank Khem for his contribution to our program over the last semester and wish him great success in the future.”

According to multiple sources, Birch, a McDonald’s All-American and Dixon’s highest-ranked recruit, long had second thoughts about joining the program, but did not want to leave before the season started.

If Birch is released from his scholarship, he would be eligible to return to NCAA action two semesters from now.

Birch averaged 4.4 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game in 15.0 minutes in 10 games this season.

AROUND THE RIM

Kobe Bryant’s wife, Vanessa, has filed for divorce after 10 years of marriage. “The Bryants have resolved all issues incident to their divorce privately with the assistance of counsel and a Judgment dissolving their marital status will be entered in 2012,” read a release ... Baron Davis has cleared waivers and is free to sign with any team. Cleveland will still pay him the $28 million U.S. on his contract. New York and the Los Angeles Lakers are considered the front-runners ... Chicago has waived its former starting shooting guard Keith Bogans. Replacing defence with offence, the Bulls signed Rip Hamilton ... Charlotte has lost Eduardo Najera for up to two months after the forward underwent knee surgery. The team has already lost Reggie Williams for the same period of time due to a knee injury of his own and recently learned that first round pick Bismack Biyombo will have to stay overseas for the season ... Stephen Jackson has not shown up at Milwaukee’s training camp yet. The club claims he has back spasms, but most feel the outspoken Jackson is probably upset about his contract status ... Sacramento Kings free agent pickup Chuck Hayes was held out of practice after a stress test detected a heart abnormality. More tests will be run ... Miami has extended head coach Erik Spoelstra, who has a 148-98 record with the team, 18-15 in the playoffs.

 


Videos

Photos