Clippers Notes: Billups, Paul, Howard, Griffin

The Clippers are going to wait a little while before deciding what to do with coach Vinny Del Negro but its not too early for some to start speculating on possible replacements.  Phil Jackson is unlikely for a number of reasons, but Ric Bucher of 95.7 The Game (on Sulia) has an equally eyebrow-raising idea for L.A.'s other team: Chauncey Billups.  One NBA exec suggested that hiring the veteran guard to man the sideline would maximize the club's chances of re-signing star Chris Paul.  Bucher doesn't know if Billups is going to retire or is even interested in becoming a coach, but he notes that the consensus around the NBA is that the Clips' early exit is almost certain to cost Del Negro his job.  Here's more on the Clippers..

  • With about $45MM on the books next year, the Clippers would have to move someone to re-sign Paul and make a run at Dwight Howard, but there's always a way, tweets Ramona Shelburne of  The Clippers, like everyone else, doubt that Howard would leave money on the table to leave the Lakers, but they can make a nice pitch if he's willing to talk.  One way to free up space could be by moving DeAndre Jordan, who has lots of fans in front offices around the league (Twitter links).  
  • Blake Griffin sounded confident that Paul will re-sign with the club in his post-game comments after last night's loss. "He knows how we've done things, especially the last two years. I think he knows it's a great place to play," said the forward, according to Shelburne (on Twitter).
  • While the free agent focus will be on Chris Paul, Matt Barnes is going to get paid this summer as well, notes Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld (via Twitter).  The veteran capped off his season with a 30 point and 10 rebound performance last night.

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