Up until last night, it's been pretty clear that CP3 was not destined to become a Maverick. Beyond the fact that Dallas just doesn't necessarily have the pieces to attract Paul, Paul has expressly told the Mavericks not to bother. But, of course, last night some news broke just in time to keep Mavericks fans from totally losing hope.
According to Chris Broussard of ESPN, Paul is irritated with the Clippers organization for laying the blame for the Vinny Del Negro firing squarely on his shoulders. After the Del Negro firing, Chris Paul reportedly told the front office that he would have no part of coaching decisions. Meanwhile, Clippers owner Donald Sterling said that he lamented having to fire Vinny, but that sometimes in a "Player's league" you have to do some things you don't want to do to keep the players happy and the team competitive.
If that's not Sterling throwing Paul under the bus, then I don't know what is. I can understand why CP3 would be mad.
On the other hand, it was pretty clear that Vinny Del Negro was not a very good coach, and his poor decision making fundamentally hurt the Clippers during their playoff series against Memphis. Most people expected him to be fired at the end of the season, so it's certainly possible that Sterling and the rest of the front office interpreted CP3's determined silence as complicity, or even as a demand.
Similarly, it's hard to say that anyone (other than Sterling and Del Negro) even blames CP3 of anything; most people are thrilled that Del Negro has been ousted. If anything, Paul's supposed involvement is being celebrated.
Nonetheless, Paul is irritated that the Clippers organization has, as far as he's concerned, used him as a scapegoat to keep the bad press off of themselves. I think that's a valid irritation. The question is whether Paul is irritated enough to leave the Clippers for greener, more North-Texan, pastures.
The answer, I think, is still probably not. The Clippers still have a ton of upside and promise moving forward, with a new coach and time for their roster to gel and improve. Their main problem was really their defense, a facet of the Clippers' game that showed promise of improvement from time to time, and that has a whole summer to develop. They were a real threat to make it out of the West this season, and there's no reason to think they won't be again next season. Not to mention the extra approximately 25 million dollars the Clippers can offer him.
And really, as Broussard mentions, if any team is going to look more appealing in light of this whole ordeal, it's probably Atlanta and the possibility of rostering both CP3 and Howard. It's also unlikely that that will happen, but if Paul is looking at any alternate possibilities, he's probably looking at that scenario.
Not to mention the fact that it's unclear from Broussard's report to what extent Paul would be interested in looking elsewhere. All information is credited to unnamed "sources" and he avoids quotes around statements like "he might look elsewhere." I think, for the most part, while interesting, this report doesn't change the free agent market in a really meaningful way.
It's a nice scuffle to get our hopes up about, but don't get overly excited, either. Paul is still likely to remain a Clipper.