The Houston Rockets have reached an agreement to acquire Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul in a blockbuster NBA trade.
In return, the Clippers receive Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams, Sam Dekker and a protected first-round pick next year, according to the Associated Press, which cited a person who on the condition of anonymity because the teams have not finalized the trade with the start of the free agency period coming up on Saturday.
Paul issued a statement, saying he was experiencing an "unbelievable amount of emotions."
"I don't even know what to say," Paul said. "Lots of love and tears. I'm so blessed and thankful for the ability to play this game, this is the part that no one can prepare you for.
"To the Los Angeles community and to Clipper Nation I say, thank you. For the past six years you all have welcomed not only me but my family. We all love you."
Paul was acquired by the Clippers in a 2011 trade with New Orleans. The move to Houston would break up a tandem that featured the 32-year-old Paul and All-Star forward Blake Griffin, a Lob City duo that made the Clippers a consistent playoff contender after years of low expectations.
Paul met Tuesday with the Clippers to discuss his future, the LA Times reported. The meeting came just days before the start of the NBA's free-agency period, which allows team to begin negotiations with players.
Paul could have become an unrestricted free agent, but he opted in to the final year of his contract to facilitate the trade, according to ESPN.
Paul averaged over 18 points and 9 assists last season. He has career averages of 18.7 points and 9.9 assists and is still widely considered one of the best point guards in the NBA, capable of creating opportunities off the dribble and igniting an offense.
With the Clippers, Paul was a First-Team All-NBA team member three times. He was named Second-Team All-NBA twice. The team, however, failed to make it out of the second round of the playoffs in the last six seasons.
He will join a team led by star James Harden that was eliminated by the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference semifinals and would likely have to go through the champion Warriors to reach the NBA finals.
The deal was first reported by The Vertical.