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Clippers confident Chris Paul will stay with team this summer. They should be.

May 7, 2013, 11:50 AM EDT

Los Angeles Clippers Paul reacts during their loss to the Memphis Grizzlies in Game 5 of their NBA Western Conference Quarterfinals basketball playoff series in Los Angeles Reuters

Chris Paul and his agent are going to get calls — he is the best point guard in the NBA and he is an unrestricted free agent. He can go anywhere he wants this summer. Teams are going to take a shot.

But they all know it’s a long shot. At best.

The Clippers are rightfully confident he’s going to stay. That is the feeling around the league, too.

The Clippers will make re-signing Paul their top off-season priority but Clippers vice president of basketball operations Gary Sacks — the GM in practice — sounded very confident speaking to the media on Monday during the Clippers day of exit interviews. From ESPNLosAngeles.com.

Sacks met with Paul on Saturday during the team’s exit interview and believes that he will be back, but was cautious about getting into details with Paul becoming an unrestricted free agent and not being able to sign an extension until July 1.

“A lot of that information we’ll keep private, because that’s an internal thing, but I feel very confident,” Sacks said. “I think he’s an integral part of this. We feel like we had a great partnership for the last couple of years and we want to continue it obviously.”

Paul knows he’s on a team that can win (56 regular season wins this year), has good players and he likes living in Los Angeles.

But there’s another reason he likely stays — he was key in putting this roster together. While Blake Griffin was already here (and already changing the Clippers’ culture) when they traded for Chris Paul, a lot of the roster moves since then — keeping Grant Hill, getting Jamal Crawford — were things Paul wanted.

Mark Heisler wrote about this for Hoopshype.

The insiders learned a year ago that Paul had no intention of leaving, for more reasons that the fact he was on a promising young team in Lala Land. Paul wasn’t just on the Clippers, he had so much input, he was virtually running the team.

It was even acknowledged by a Clippers official, noting, “This is Chris’s roster.”

This is pretty much an open secret around the league.

It’s why nobody thinks Chris Paul is leaving — he has everything he wants in Los Angeles.

Well, maybe except the right coach. But you can bet he has a lot of say on that, too.

  1. ravensallday2012 - May 7, 2013 at 12:06 PM

    Enter Phil Jackson

  2. Mr. Wright 212 - May 7, 2013 at 12:17 PM

    I just have one question, because the Clippers have a lot of the Nets’ same problems:

    What is their plan for getting better, if they max out Paul, they already have Griffin maxed out, they’re vastly overpaying Jordan for the next 2-3 years, they still owe Butler $8M next year, they’ve already used their amnesty clause on Gomes, if I recall properly. They’re going to be way over the cap once Paul signs. Crawford already has the MLE for the next 4 years. You saw once again how much of a non-factor Jordan is as the playoffs go along, and Griffin can be neutralized by guys who are physical with him like Z-Bo. Until he expands his game, the Clippers aren’t going anywhere with Paul being the only consistent threat.

    • Kevin S. - May 7, 2013 at 9:37 PM

      They get a new MLE each year, it was only used on Crawford the first year of his deal. Eric Bledsoe + Caron Butler’s expiring contract should be able to land the Clips someone decent, pushing Jordan down to fourth-banana status. They can fill out the rest of the roster with the MLE, BAE (if they don’t go over the apron), draft picks and veteran’s minimum at that point, and Blake’s young enough to still get better. If Sterling’s willing to sustain a payroll at or near the luxury tax, the Clips have room to improve.

  3. eventhorizon04 - May 7, 2013 at 12:54 PM

    Agreed.

    While there are increasing reports of friction between Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, overall, the Clippers are the best spot for Chris Paul. He handpicked half the roster, he’s raised his national profile and correspondingly has gotten more endorsement (“Cliff Paul” ads are everywhere), and while the Clippers disappointed this year in the playoffs, they do look like a consistent future top-4 seed. It’s hard to imagine Chris Paul going to another team that combines a large media market with a roster that becomes a top-4 seed by adding Paul.

    I’m sure CP3 isn’t interested in going back to a smaller market, and he definitely isn’t interested in going to a roster that will need a couple of years to become very competitive. All signs point to the Clippers, unless Dwight Howard goes to a team like the Mavericks and Chris Paul decides that joining up with a Dirk Nowitzki and Dwight Howard front-court under a good coach like Rick Carlisle would create a contender. However, I think Dwight returns to the Lakers, and Dwight is the only free agent that, combined with CP3, would create a credible contender.

    • Kevin S. - May 7, 2013 at 12:57 PM

      The Mavericks couldn’t land both, but the Hawks could make Paul/Howard/Horford happen. If winning matters more than media market (and each player is willing to take a slight discount), that’s the best team either free agent can get to this summer.

      • wlubake - May 7, 2013 at 1:47 PM

        The Mavs can technically swing it, but it takes a team willing to sign-and-trade. I don’t see either L.A. team signing up for that. They can land one, but not both, which will probably keep them from landing either.

      • Kevin S. - May 7, 2013 at 2:36 PM

        Wow, apparently the thumbs down brigade isn’t a fan of pointing out salary-cap realities.

  4. therealhtj - May 7, 2013 at 1:05 PM

    CP3 may feel like he runs the team now, but the minute the ink is dry on his new extension, Donald Sterling gets to revert to being Donald Sterling.

  5. gpatrick15 - May 7, 2013 at 1:08 PM

    While I agree that it’s highly likely that he stays, let’s not assume it’s a given. If rumors are true that he and Griffin/Jordan aren’t on the same page as far as style of play goes, (http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/9239387/thirty-questions-part-2 via http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-simers-clippers-20130404,0,5863918,full.column) then I could totally see him walking. Allegedly, Griffin and Jordan want Lob City all of the time, but Paul being the complete floor general that he is, realizes that there are better plays or better options depending on what defense he sees. Like I said I believe that he’ll stay, but to rule out his exit, when every team will be vying for his services, is shortsighted.

  6. aboogy123456 - May 7, 2013 at 1:13 PM

    I think Chris Paul has a lot of reasons to stay in LA: Money, Big Market, winning team, not moving his family again, etc.

    But the issue with the clippers is that until they move Jordan or Griffin, or both, they don’t have a lot of room to grow as a team. That’s so much money invested in a frontcourt that has no real presence in the game, and because of that they can only afford lower contract guys to fill out the roster. Granted, they’ve done a great job getting veterans for cheap, but if they want to contend for a championship they need another elite player to help Paul, and Blake Griffin is good but he’s not a star. The clippers could get a lot of assets for him if they were to make a trade, and perhaps they could then afford to resign bledsoe and find a true post presence with the freed up room. that’s the approach that I would take, but sterling may care more about selling tickets than winning.

  7. lakerluver - May 7, 2013 at 1:14 PM

    @Kevin s., you have a good point…but it will never happen. I don’t think CP3 or Dwight wants to play for the Hawks.
    CP3 will re-sign with the Clips but I don’t think it’s his first choice. Just like Dwight will stay with the LAKERS, which is probably not his first choice either.

    • Kurt Helin - May 7, 2013 at 4:02 PM

      Howard’s people have said repeatedly he does not want to go home to the ATL and play. Whatever his reasons, it’s a non-starter.

      • Kevin S. - May 7, 2013 at 4:12 PM

        Wasn’t arguing the likelihood of it happening, only that Atlanta was the only team with the cap situation to even consider such a move.

  8. sunlightpianist - May 7, 2013 at 2:30 PM

    The question is if he will trust the effort and financial spending of Donald Sterling.
    The track record: Sterling is team owner since more than 30 years, had a lot of high draft picks, but reached playoffs in only 6 seasons, and won only two playoff-series.

    But if the Clippers are clever, they let CP decide about the next roster.

  9. 13arod - May 7, 2013 at 4:05 PM

    the only reason paul would leave is if blake goes

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