Chris Paul

Clippers Notes: Paul, Griffin, Redick

The Clippers are hoping to re-sign Chris Paul to a max deal this summer, sources tell Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times. The point guard can receive approximately $205MM over the next five years if he stays with the franchise. He could only sign a four-year contract, which would be worth roughly $152MM, if he goes elsewhere. Los Angeles could ostensibly attempt to bring Paul back at a figure below the max, but above what another team could offer, though it appears that option is unlikely.

Here’s more from Los Angeles

  • Blake Griffin would like to sign a max deal with the Clippers this offseason, Turner adds in the same piece. The scribe hears that Los Angeles is angling for that outcome as well. Earlier today, we passed along five potential landing spots should he decide to leave the Clippers.
  • Multiple NBA sources tell Turner (same piece) that they expect J.J. Redick to sign elsewhere. Turner estimates that the shooting guard will command $18-20MM per year, which could be too high of a price for the Clippers to pay.
  • The Clippers announced that Griffin underwent surgery to repair an injury to his right toe, as Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders passes along (Twitter link). Los Angeles did not provide a recovery timetable for Griffin, who will be a free agent this offseason.
  • Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report wonders if it’s time for the Clippers and Paul to go their separate ways. Ding examines Paul’s game and argues that while he hasn’t won a championship, his presence allows his teams to contend nearly every season.

Knicks, Clippers Expected To Re-Open Trade Talks

Another early playoff exit for the Clippers may reignite trade talks with the Knicks involving Carmelo Anthony, writes Marc Berman of the New York Post.

The teams had extensive discussions before the February deadline, but New York’s front office turned down several L.A. proposals. The difference this time might be shooting guard J.J. Redick, whom the Clippers were not willing to include before, but may be available now in a sign-and-trade.

Like many observers, Berman expects a shakeup in Los Angeles this summer. Chris Paul is almost certain to opt out and re-sign, and he would love to see the team acquire Anthony, a long-time friend. An offer centered around Redick and Austin Rivers might be enough to make it happen.

The 32-year-old Redick would replace Jamal Crawford in the package that the Clippers were offering in February. An 11-year veteran, he averaged 15.0 points per game this season and shot .429 from 3-point range. One of the top long-distance shooters in the league throughout his career, Redick would fill an obvious need in New York.

Rivers, 25, would fill another need with his defensive prowess and his flexibility to play three positions. He re-signed with the Clippers last summer and is under contract through next season, with a $12.65MM player option for 2018/19.

Berman estimates a new deal for Redick starting at $11MM, which would combine with Rivers’ $11.8MM salary to get the Clippers close to Anthony’s $28MM price (including a 15% trade kicker). Another Knick who might be included in the deal is Courtney Lee (more than $11.7MM next year), whom the Clippers asked about in February, so the trade could become much larger. L.A. doesn’t have a first-round pick to offer until 2021.

With a no-trade clause in hand, Anthony will have final approval on any deal. While the thought of joining Paul, DeAndre Jordan and possibly Blake Griffin on a contending team might appeal to him, Berman notes that personal matters could affect his decision. Anthony recently separated from his wife, LaLa, and may not want to move far away from his son.

While that will play out over the summer, it’s clear that the playoffs have changed the dynamics of the deal, just as Knicks president Phil Jackson predicted at his press conference last month.

“You lose in the first round, it didn’t work out, we gotta change some people on our team,’’ Jackson said. “So there may be some quick outs may change some people’s minds as to what they’re going to do.”

Pacific Notes: World Peace, Clippers, George

He may be officially enrolled at UCLA, but that doesn’t mean Metta World Peace is ready to retire from the NBA. The Lakers forward recently reassured Serena Winters of Lakers Nation that he remains intent on playing two more season.

I’ve got two more years and I’m going to be 20 years, a professional basketball player,” World Peace said. “This year I was more mentoring [for the Lakers], but obviously, if I would have played I would really have had Staples Center rocking more! I still feel like I can bring something to the table, whether it’s mentoring or whether it’s playing, I’m open to either.

Just because the veteran hopes to continue playing in the NBA doesn’t mean he’ll be back with the Lakers however. Earlier this month the 37-year-old tweeted goodbye to the franchise after reportedly being told that Magic Johnson said he probably won’t be re-signed.

In 24 games for the young Lakers, World Peace averaged just 2.4 points in 6.4 minutes per game. His last taste of heavy NBA action came in 2012/13.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Insiders says that Chris Paul and Blake Griffin love it with the Clippers and want to stay, writes Mark Heisler of the Orange County Register. Both have signed new contracts with the Clippers in the past without entertaining a presentation from another franchise.
  • Several factors will influence the Lakers‘ chance of acquiring Paul George, per Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report, including whether or not the forward qualifies for the designated veteran salary boost and where their pick falls after the draft lottery.
  • When the Kings hired Scott Perry to be their executive vice president of basketball operations they netted one of the masterminds behind the dominant Pistons teams of the mid-aughts. Ailene Voisin of the Sacramento Bee details Perry in an extensive feature.

Clippers Rumors: Ballmer, Paul, Griffin

With the Clippers looking to extend their season Friday night in Utah, Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN.com has published an interesting, in-depth feature on the team, exploring the last few years in Los Angeles and what might come next for the franchise. The piece features several interesting details and stories on the Clippers and is worth a read in full, but here are some of the highlights from Arnovitz:

  • Clippers owner Steve Ballmer maintains that he has no interest in blowing up the club’s roster, even if L.A. can’t get out of the first round. “I love those guys, and I want those guys back,” Ballmer said.
  • Ballmer also told Arnovitz, as he said recently to Matthew Rocco of FOX Business, that he’s not averse to going deeper into tax territory as the Clippers continue to build the roster and re-sign key pieces. Ballmer explained to Rocco that because the value of the franchise keeps increasing, he’s willing to lose a little money along the way if necessary. “If we’re in it and we’re playing for a championship, I don’t mind the tax,” Ballmer said to Arnovitz.
  • Sources close to the Clippers tell Arnovitz that they continue to expect Chris Paul to re-sign with the team, but Blake Griffin’s future is less certain. One source, “in good humor,” suggested that it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see Paul go through a public process of taking meetings with other teams before re-signing with the Clippers, while Griffin is more likely to go through the process privately and perhaps land elsewhere.
  • Several of Paul’s teammates told Arnovitz that the veteran point guard insists that his teammates are able to “absorb criticism at any moment,” and that you’re likely to keep hearing from CP3 about a blown coverage even if a replay shows it wasn’t your fault. “If I had to go to war, I’m going with Chris every day,” said one member of the Clippers. “I just wish he was wrong more. I wish he would say, ‘My fault.'” Despite Paul’s ornery nature, most Clippers teammates and staffers say that he has “mellowed with age,” Arnovitz writes.

Clippers Rumors: Rivers, Offseason, G. Green

After losing Game 5 at home to the Jazz on Tuesday night, the Clippers will head to Utah down 3-2, on the brink of elimination. And as soon as they’re bounced from the postseason, which could happen as early as Friday, the Clips will face some potentially franchise-altering decisions, as Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical outlines. According to Wojnarowski, it’s not “realistic” to believe that the Clippers will bring all their key free agents back and go deeper into the luxury tax if they’re ousted in the first round on the heels of another Blake Griffin injury.

While there may be some roster changes coming in Los Angeles, the Clippers are very unlikely to undergo any sort of front office upheaval, per Wojnarowski, who says that Doc Rivers isn’t leaving the club. Rivers has owner Steve Ballmer‘s trust and confidence, and the Clippers like their current front office structure, which includes Lawrence Frank in an executive VP of basketball operations role, Wojnarowski writes.

Still, the Clippers’ brain trust will have a lot to think about if the team’s season comes to an end this weekend. Here’s more on the franchise:

  • Bill Plaschke of The Los Angeles Times breaks down several scenarios for the Clippers’ offseason, suggesting it would be “stunning” if the team were to bring back its entire core after another early postseason exit. In Plaschke’s view, the most likely scenario involves retooling the team around Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan, with Griffin and J.J. Redick heading elsewhere.
  • A past roster decision is coming back to haunt Rivers and the Clippers in this year’s postseason, according to James Blancarte of Basketball Insiders, who details the team’s decision to waive Joe Ingles in 2014. The Australian forward caught on with the Jazz shortly after being cut by L.A., and is playing a key role for Utah in these playoffs.
  • Before he signed with the Celtics last summer, Gerald Green appeared to be on the verge of signing with the Clippers, reports Sean Deveney of The Sporting News. Sources tell Deveney that the Clips believed they had Green locked up before he ultimately landed with Boston. Green likely wouldn’t have been a postseason difference-maker for Los Angeles, but he did have a big game for the Celtics on Sunday, when he poured in 18 points in Game 4.

Pacific Notes: Lakers, Divac, Clippers

The Lakers would be making a terrible mistake by targeting Pacers forward Paul George as their much needed superstar, Mitch Lawrence of the Sporting News writes.

George, the “anti-Magic,” has shown poor leadership and a tendency to alienate teammates, Lawrence says. Those aren’t characteristics typically paired with a young team like the Lakers.

In the same piece, Lawrence goes on to add that a better fit for George may be Boston because the Celtics, unlike the Lakers, boast the strong-willed vets to withstand George’s occasional negativity.

Should the Lakers continue to pursue the swingman, however, they’ll need ensure that their point guard is mentally strong enough to deal with the vocal superstar.

  • After a tumultuous first few seasons at the helm, Vlade Divac has been given an opportunity to manage a stable Kings franchise, Ailene Voisin of the Sacramento Bee writes. “I knew the staff I wanted to put together. There was always so much (drama) going on ever since I got here, it took up a lot of my time,” Divac said. “Finally I have been able to find people who believe in what we are trying to do and who I am very comfortable with.
  • The Clippers have every intention of competing for a title even with the injured Blake Griffin on the sidelines, Bill Oram of the Orange County Register writes. “It’s not the best thing that could have ever happened to us,” teammate Chris Paul said, “but it’s not the end of the world. We still are going to go out there. We know we got a job to do. We got a big game (Sunday), Game 4, and we go out there expecting to win.”
  • Could a candid conversation on Jimmy Kimmel be considered tampering? USA Today’s Alysha Tsuji wrote about how Lakers executive Magic Johnson may have tampered while commenting specifically about not tampering.
  • Count Gary Payton (Sr.) among the crowd who thinks Warriors forward Draymond Green should be this season’s Defensive Player of the Year, an Associated Press report outlines. The Glove also speaks highly of Kawhi Leonard as a legitimate candidate.

Clippers Notes: Griffin, Paul, Redick

Blake Griffin, who was ruled out for the remainder of the postseason with a toe injury, can become a free agent this summer, but he may not have many teams lining up to give him a long-term max deal, Kevin O’ Connor of The Ringer contends. O’Connor details Griffin’s injury history, which includes several ailments on each of his legs, and believes it will cause rival teams to be cautious when making the big man a multi-year offer in free agency. Griffin could always elect not to activate his ETO and stay with the Clippers, though the $21.4MM he would receive in the 2017/18 season is less than the annual salary he’s likely to receive on the open market.

Here’s more from Los Angeles:

  • The window to trade Griffin closed over a season ago and the Clippers missed their chance at getting value for him, O’Connor notes in the same piece. The scribe argues that if GM Doc Rivers had pulled the trigger years ago, the team would have much more depth today and players such as Paul Pierce and Raymond Felton wouldn’t be soaking up significant playoff minutes.
  • Chris Paul is expected to re-sign with the Clippers, but O’Connor (same piece) wonders if the team should be worried about Paul finding a more attractive option in free agency. He speculates that the Spurs could be a threat should the franchise open up the necessary cap space to give Paul a maximum-salary contract.
  • Sam Amick of USA Today (video link) isn’t sure owner Steve Ballmer is going to sign off on paying luxury tax payments again for a team that doesn’t have a clear path at a championship. In addition to Paul and Griffin searching for max deals this summer, J.J. Redick will be a free agent and Amick estimates that the Duke product will warrant a deal that pays him $18MM per year.

Doc Rivers Hoping To Retain Clippers’ Core

The Clippers are down 1-0 to the Jazz in their first round playoff series, and there has been speculation that if L.A. can’t get by Utah, a significant roster overhaul could be around the corner. However, head coach and president of basketball operations Doc Rivers tells Sam Amick of USA Today that he’d like to keep the Clippers’ core intact, even with Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and J.J. Redick facing potential unrestricted free agency.

“Here’s my argument to (the question of the roster will be worth going deeper into the tax to keep intact),” Rivers said. “Let’s say we don’t win this year — which I think we will, (but) let’s say we don’t. Do you give up on a 50-win team that has proven that they’re really close, or do you hang in there and keep trying to maybe make changes around (the core)?

“I always use Utah as a great (example). Thank God Karl Malone and (John) Stockton didn’t listen to people, you know what I mean? They fell (in the playoffs), and kept trying and kept trying. And finally, late in their careers, they finally broke through to the Finals. They didn’t win it (all). But you know, that’s the pursuit. I just think it’s so easy to (say), ‘Hey, they should break up,’ from the outside. And I think that’s such an easy opinion.”

As we noted this week, the Clippers were one of two teams to finish the 2016/17 in luxury tax territory, and that was with Paul, Griffin, and Redick on their old deals. The trio combined to earn about $50MM this season, but that number could increase beyond $65MM in 2017/18 for CP3 and Griffin alone, without even taking into consideration a raise for Redick as well. In total, Amick estimates that the Clippers’ team salary could increase to the $140MM range if they bring everyone back, which would mean a tax bill of more than $55MM.

Even though Rivers is the GM in Los Angeles, team owner Steve Ballmer will have the final say on roster moves if they significantly increase the money he’ll owe his players in the coming years, as Amick observes. And if the Clippers don’t make a deep playoff run this spring, there’s no guarantee that Rivers and Ballmer will see eye to eye on the team’s strategy going forward, despite the trust that the franchise’s owner has in his head coach.

A new long-term deal for Paul appears likely, but the Clippers will face some interesting decisions in the next few months, and will be a team worth watching this summer.

New Clippers Contract For Chris Paul ‘All Done’?

There have been rumors that the Clippers might break up their core if they don’t make a long playoff run, but that apparently won’t apply to Chris Paul, writes Mitch Lawrence of Forbes. Paul is in line for a five-year extension this summer worth more than $200MM, and an unidentified source tells Lawrence, “It’s all done, with a wink and a nod.”

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard a report along these lines. Back in February, Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders wrote that Paul and the Clippers had a “verbal agreement” in place for a new long-term contract. As we noted at the time, a verbal agreement isn’t binding, so even if such an arrangement is in place, the Clippers and CP3 are free to change course in the coming months. Paul won’t be able to officially sign a new five-year deal until July 6.

Paul, 31, is expected to turn down a player option for next season worth $24.27MM and seek a long-term contract that could be his last in the NBA. The nine-time All-Star led the Clippers to the No. 4 spot in the West with another stellar season, averaging 18.1 points and 9.2 assists over 61 games. Paul has been with the Clippers for the past six seasons.

L.A. is facing an offseason in which Paul and Blake Griffin are each expected to opt out, joining fellow starter J.J. Redick on the free agent market. There have been concerns about whether the Clippers can afford to bring all of them back, particularly if the season ends with another playoff disappointment.

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

Pacific Notes: Booker, Watson, Russell

An impressive sophomore season has Devin Booker conjuring up images of another gifted scorer: James Harden. Head coach Earl Watson recently spoke about how he envisions Booker facilitating the Suns’ offense similar to how Harden does in Houston.

He reminds me of a young James Harden because he plays at his own speed,” Watson told Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle of the Suns guard. “He plays not fast, but it’s quick, not blazing, but [he is] somebody that dunks on you. He can shoot. He can handle. He can pass. He can post. And he has a very old game for his age. It’s exactly how James was.”

In 74 games for the Suns this season, Watson has averaged 21.9 points per game but it’s his ability to control the ball down the stretch that reminds Watson of Harden.

I think James opens the door for him to [be a full-time point guard for the Suns],” Watson said. “You definitely see the ball in his hands down the stretch.

  • Second-year Suns coach Earl Watson is still learning the ins and outs of the job, specifically how decisions can sometimes come down from management that he doesn’t exactly agree with, Doug Haller of the Arizona Republic writes. “I was like, ‘I want to play this way. I want to win. I want to get in the playoffs.’ I never thought about players sitting or the other side of the game,” Watson said of the front office’s decision to rest certain veterans. “That was like a right hook I didn’t see coming. But I got back up. And I think our young guys have responded well.
  • Of all the things that D’Angelo Russell has improved upon in his second season, one of note is his ability to make in-game adjustments. “He’s done a good job, whether he’s making bad plays with that or missing shots, with still helping our team,” Lakers head coach Luke Walton told Mark Medina of the Orange County Register. “That is a huge step forward. It’s important you can bounce back within the game.”
  • The Clippers are well aware of the fact that the pressure is on them to win in the playoffs, Bill Oram of the Orange County Register writes. “Until we do anything, that’s what it is,” Chris Paul said. “We haven’t won. It depends on what day of the week it is and who did we just beat? It’s always changing but until we do something it’s going to be the same thing.
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