Posted on June 23, 2017, by Travis Pulver
Lawrence Frank, the executive vice-president of basketball operations for the Los Angeles Clippers was asked during the NBA Draft Thursday night if DeAndre Jordan was being traded. His response was pretty cut and dry:
“DeAndre was never, ever dangled out there,” Frank said. However, after some news about his team’s other two superstars broke, he may be rethinking that position.
Several media outlets reported Friday afternoon that Chris Paul and Blake Griffin have told the Clippers that they would be declining the player options for the final year of their contracts. Paul was set to make $24.4 million next season and Griffin $21.4 million. Both will be hot commodities on the free-agent market when it opens up on July 1.
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The move could be a strictly financial one on their parts. Paul and Griffin could just be looking to score a bigger payday with the Clippers with the salary cap being as high as it is now. They will likely get max offers from several suitors, but the Clippers will be able to offer more.
So, if they are doing it for financial reasons, there is a good chance they will remain in Los Angeles. However, if they are tired of making the playoffs but never past the Conference Semifinals, they could move on.
San Antonio has expressed an interest in Paul as have several other teams. But the most he can get from the Spurs is a four-year deal worth about $152 million. The Clippers can give him a five-year deal worth $205 million.
Should Paul go to San Antonio, he would have a great shot at a title with the Spurs. But that would mean leaving a good chunk of money on the table. Then again, he’s already made over $158 million during his 12-year career. So—would a few million dollars make much of a difference to him?
Despite his injury issues in recent years, Blake Griffin will generate plenty of interest as well.
If they do end up going elsewhere, the Clippers might as well see what they can get for Jordan. He is not the kind of guy that can carry a team on his back like Russell Westbrook or James Harden. So rather than try to feature him for a year and then trade him, they would be better getting what they can for him now.
Anyone that trades for Jordan would have to take on the $46 million he is owed over the last two years of his contract. But the final year is a player option that he’ll likely exercise to take advantage of the salary cap.
The Clippers had been bottom-dwellers for years prior to drafting Griffin with the No. 1 pick in 2009. It took a couple seasons and the addition of Chris Paul, but the Clippers made the playoffs during the 2011-12 season and haven’t looked back. But their inability to get far in the postseason could bring the ride to an end. That is unless Paul and Griffin are more interested in money than getting a better shot at a championship.