Chris Paul will be entering the final year of his contract this summer, but it seems an extension isn't the first thing on his mind these days. Paul tells Christopher Dempsey of the Denver Post that his number one priority this offseason is making sure the Clippers are able to re-sign Chauncey Billups, who played just 20 games for the Clips before suffering a season-ending Achilles injury in February.
"He knows my top priority right now is to make sure he’s back with us again next season," said Paul at Billups’ basketball camp in Colorado. "That was the best backcourt mate I played with since I’ve been in the NBA. He just gave me so much confidence and made things so much easier for me. So I need him back and want him back with the Clippers."
The Clippers aren't expected to have cap space this summer, particularly if Mo Williams exercises his $8.5MM player option. However, Los Angeles should have no problem retaining Billups using a cap exception, with or without the Bird Rights he regained last week due to an arbitrator's ruling. What's not clear yet is whether there's mutual interest between the two sides — Billups told Dempsey recently that while he enjoyed his time in L.A., he was looking forward to exploring his options in free agency.
"I liked Clipperland. I liked the movement," said Billups. "I thought before I got hurt we really had fun and were playing great. I liked it a lot, but of course I would be crazy not to entertain any other offers that I might have. That's the fun of being a free agent."