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Plan CP3: How much does he value L.A. legacy?

5/24/2013

ESPNDallas.com will compare the Mavericks and Clippers in five facets -- other than money -- that could play a role in Chris Paul's free agency decision in a one-per-day series: owners/front office, coaches, co-stars, supporting casts and franchise tradition. We'll focus on Dwight Howard next week.

Both of these franchises used to be NBA laughingstocks.

The Mavs have since earned a reputation as one of the league’s best franchises. They were one of only three franchises in NBA history to reel off 11 consecutive 50-win seasons, making a pair of Finals appearances and winning one title during that span. That type of success demands respect.

The Clippers, meanwhile, have a grand total of one 50-win season in franchise history.

Granted, that was last season, when Chris Paul led the Clippers to a 56-win campaign. That came on the heels of a .606 winning percentage in the lockout-compressed 2011-12 season, when the Clippers won a playoff series for just the second time in franchise history.

The Clippers’ tradition is terrible, but CP3 has a ton of sweat equity in the franchise’s glory days. How much does he value the legacy of being the man who keyed the turnaround of Los Angeles’ other basketball team?

If Paul joins the Mavs, he’s joining a franchise that has recently been to the top of the mountain and plans to return. Dirk Nowitzki would willingly pass the baton as franchise centerpiece, but Paul would be attempting to live up to standards set in Dallas during Dirk’s Hall of Fame career.

With the Clippers, CP3 sets the standards. He’s the guy who saved that franchise from being a long-running basketball joke.

EDGE: Mavs, although Paul could have a major emotional investment in trying to finish the job in L.A.