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.