Chris Paul Staying in Clipperland; Other Free Agents Make Commitments

All-Star point guard Chris Paul will be returning to the Clippers next season.

All-Star point guard Chris Paul will be returning to the Clippers next season.

As the free agency period begins, several players have already reportedly made commitments to various teams.  Chris Paul is the biggest name to have already committed as he announced that he intends on signing a contract extension with the Los Angeles Clippers.  The news is no doubt good for Clipper fans, but the team will likely have to bolster its roster with a couple more moves if they hope to contend, especially given their early exit in the playoffs this season.  With both coach Doc Rivers and point guard Chris Paul on board though, the Clippers have reason to be optimistic.  With rumours of a deal for Dwight Howard, and concerns about locker-room chemistry between Paul and fellow starters Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, there are perhaps as many reasons to be concerned as there are to be optimistic.

Versatile swingman Mike Dunleavy Jr. has agreed to a two-year deal with the Chicago Bulls.

Versatile swingman Mike Dunleavy Jr. has agreed to a two-year deal with the Chicago Bulls.

In other news, Mike Dunleavy Jr. has agreed to a two-year deal with the Chicago Bulls.  The deal is curious because the Bulls already have two small forwards who have both played quite well.  Luol Deng, who has been with the team since they drafted him in 2004, started at small forward this season, as he has for the past nine years, and rebounded the ball well whilst providing solid defence.  Deng’s back-up, sophomore Jimmy Butler, also played well coming off the bench and providing some nice three-point shooting.  Considering this, and the fact that both Deng and Butler as so much younger than Dunleavy, who is 32 years old, it seems odd that the Bulls would sign the veteran swingman.  Dunleavy is good, but signing him means something else must be in the works for either Deng or Butler, but most likely Deng considering his potential trade value.

Former Thunder point guard Eric Maynor will be suiting up for the Wizards next season.

Former Thunder point guard Eric Maynor will be suiting up for the Wizards next season.

Point guard Eric Maynor has signed with the Washington Wizards and will likely be serving as the back-up point guard to John Wall.  Maynor’s field goal percentage has been nothing to write home about, but his assist-to-turnover ratio is among the best in the league.  The point guard, who was traded from the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Portland Trailblazers mid-way through this past season, was greatly missed by the Thunder in the playoffs when their starting point guard Russell Westbrook went down with injury.  The move is a quiet one for the Wizards, but does provide some depth.

Veteran forward/center Andray Blatche will be returning to the Brooklyn Nets next season.

Veteran forward/center Andray Blatche will be returning to the Brooklyn Nets next season.

And finally back-up center/forward Andray Blatche has agreed to a deal that will bring him back to the Brooklyn Nets this season.  The Nets, who many consider to have made an upgrade to their front court by bringing in forwards Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, will apparently be maintaining their depth as they were able to hang onto Reggie Evans in the trade and have been able to retain Blatche. 

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