Western Notes: Clippers, Williams, Thunder

Whether the Clippers win or lose their first-round series against the Spurs, don’t expect major changes this summer, writes Sean Deveney of The Sporting News. He notes that the team’s stars, Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, both have trade kickers in their contracts that would impede any deal. Paul is signed for two more seasons at $44MM total, with a player option for a third. The trade kicker would inflate his salary by 10%. Griffin is under contract for two more years totaling nearly $40MM, also with an option for a third. He has a 15% trade kicker. Deveney says the team has little choice about keeping free agent center DeAndre Jordan, which could involve a five-year commitment topping $100MM, even though the Clippers would be over the luxury tax for the third straight year and would incur a repeater tax if they paid the tax again the next year.

There’s more from the Western Conference:

  • Pelicans coach Monty Williams said he was joking with comments about the noise at Oracle Arena, according to Tom Haberstroh of ESPN. In a press conference before tonight’s playoff game, Williams downplayed comments he made earlier in the day that he wasn’t sure the arena’s decibel level was “legal.” Because Williams is a member of the NBA’s competition committee, his statement could be construed as more than just an idle threat. “It was more of a compliment more than anything,” Williams explained. The NFL’s Atlanta Falcons were punished in February for using artificial noise in their stadium.
  • The Thunder’s trade for Enes Kanter solved one problem but created another, writes Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman. Oklahoma City finally got the post-up scoring threat it needed, but weakened its defense in the process. Kanter came to OKC from the Jazz in a three-team deal at the deadline. Tramel estimates that, even with Kanter’s defensive shortcomings, it will cost the Thunder $12MM to $15MM a year to keep him when he becomes a restricted free agent this summer.
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