May 7, 2013, 11:50 AM EDT
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.
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.
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