The Clippers expect Chris Paul to demand a full five-year, maximum salary contract when he becomes eligible for unrestricted free agency in 2017, league sources tell ESPN.com’s Zach Lowe. Paul has an option for the 2017/18 season, but given the rising salary cap, he’s expected to opt out – along with Blake Griffin – to secure a more lucrative deal.
The new Collective Bargaining Agreement could have an impact on what Paul’s next contract might look like, but under the current CBA, he’d be eligible for a starting salary of around $33.5MM, based on the current cap projections for next year. At that rate, a full maximum salary deal for five years would be worth in excess of $190MM. That would be a huge investment for the Clippers to make in a point guard who will be 32 next summer, and it remains to be seen how negotiations will play out between the two sides. But as Lowe observes, owner Steve Ballmer has indicated he’s willing to spend what it takes to keep the team together.
Here’s more from Lowe on the Clippers:
- While Lowe doesn’t cite any sources when he discusses Griffin’s situation, he suggests that maxing out the star power forward would be a “no-brainer” for the Clippers next summer. As the ESPN scribe notes, Doc Rivers has no interest in engaging in a rebuild, and the franchise isn’t well-positioned for one, so expect L.A. to do everything it can to keep its core pieces and remain in contention.
- The Clippers are almost out of trade assets, but they could conceivably package Jamal Crawford and a future first-round pick for an upgrade on the wing, says Lowe. Still, he notes that the team loves Crawford and quality wings “don’t come cheap.”
- The Clippers currently have two future first-rounders committed to other teams in trades, but they have some flexibility to move another one, despite the Ted Stepien rule. As Lowe explains, the NBA quietly made a change its trade rules this past summer — teams are now allowed to simultaneously owe two separate first-round picks with “two years after” language attached, rather than just one. The Clips are currently set to send the Celtics a first-round pick two years after they send one to the Raptors, and could agree to trade another first-rounder that would change hands two years after that pick is sent to Boston.