The Clippers have been one of the NBA’s most successful regular season teams over the past several years, but that regular season success hasn’t translated into a deep playoff run — the team has been eliminated in either the first or second round of the postseason in each of the last five years.
With Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and J.J. Redick all on track to become unrestricted free agents this summer, the Clippers could find themselves at a crossroads, writes Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report. Although there’s still optimism within the organization about Paul and Griffin re-signing, things could change quickly if the Clippers suffer another first-round defeat this spring.
Ding provides a handful of interesting Clippers-related tidbits in his piece, so let’s round up some of the highlights…
- “More and more people” around the NBA believe that Griffin isn’t necessarily a lock to remain with the Clippers in free agency, according to Ding. Griffin’s interests in the entertainment industry make him likely to stick in Los Angeles, but Ding suggests that the star forward may be open to considering the Celtics or even the Lakers.
- For his part, Griffin weighed in on the Clippers, who have been up and down this season and have played sub-.500 ball since the All-Star break: “One thing you can control always is effort. Our effort hasn’t been there at times as a team. Haven’t had trust. I think that’s something we talked about a lot early in the season: the trust. Knowing the next man’s going to be there for you, knowing you’ve got to be there for whoever goes next. I think we miss that.”
- One team source indicated to Ding that Paul’s “hard-driving nature and politician’s polish” make it hard for teammates to get close to him. According to that source, “nobody’s really friends with Chris.” Another source tells Ding that CP3 is closer to Doc Rivers than he is to any of his teammates.
- There’s still some “in-house resentment” toward coach’s son Austin Rivers, but it “isn’t out of control,” Ding writes.