The Los Angeles Clippers received a double dose of bad news Friday, as power forward Blake Griffin and point guard Chris Paul both announced that they would both be opting out of their current contracts to test free agency. After faring quite well at the NBA Draft, the Clippers’ future is once again highly uncertain.
Chris Paul and Blake Griffin to Test Free Agency
Los Angeles Clippers’ power forward Blake Griffin has decided not to pick up his player option for next season with the Los Angeles Clippers, The Vertical was the first to break the news.
Sources: Clippers All-Star forward Blake Griffin has opted out of his contract to become a free agent.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) June 23, 2017
Clippers’ point guard Chris Paul has also decided to test free agency, reports the Los Angeles Times, but will wait until June 29, 2017 to make it official.
Clippers guard Chris Paul has also informed the Clippers he is declining his option to become unrestricted free agent, per source
— Brad Turner (@BA_Turner) June 23, 2017
This news is not necessarily a surprise, but should make the Clipper Nation uneasy. DeAndre Jordan too.
"Y'all really held me hostage just to opt out 2 years later?" pic.twitter.com/faPQqQjf77
— Bleacher Report NBA (@BR_NBA) June 23, 2017
Financially, both Paul and Griffin would fare better re-signing with the Clippers. Paul would be eligible to earn up to $205 million and Griffin $175 million over 5 years. With a franchise other than Los Angeles the most the pair could earn is $153 million and $130 million over 4 years, respectively.
Paul is coming off one of the best seasons of his career. The nine-time All-Star averaged 18.1 points on 47.6% shooting, 5 rebounds, 9.2 assists and 2 steals per game. He was fantastic from behind the arc, sinking 124 three-pointers on 41.1% shooting, and also excelled at the foul line (89.2%). The “Point God” is expected to be actively pursued by the San Antonio Spurs, Houston Rockets and Denver Nuggets. The Spurs would be a particularly good fit for Paul’s unselfish style of play, and San Antonio needs to secure a viable replacement for the aging Tony Parker.
Griffin missed a quarter of the 2016-17 season and exited the playoffs early due to injuries. In the 61 games he did play, the five-time All-Star was exceptional; averaging 21.6 points, 8.1 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game. The Rockets are reported to be interested in Griffin as well as Paul, and may make a run at him come July 1. The Boston Celtics and Minnesota Timberwolves could also use a solid power forward, and would both be good fits for Griffin’s talents.
At least one report has surfaced stating that Griffin “wants no part of CP3” and has “grown increasingly frustrated” with the Clippers organization. If true, the duo is sure to part ways.
The lure of money. The lure of a Championship ring. Both will come into play as this saga plays out. In the meantime, Clipper fans should come to terms with the fact that they will likely never see Paul and Griffin take the floor as teammates again.
LOS ANGELES, UNITED STATES – APRIL 03: Chris Paul (3) and Blake Griffin (32) of LA Clippers are in action during an NBA game between Los Angeles Clippers vs Washington Wizards at Staples Center, Los Angeles , CA, USA on April 03, 2016. (Photo by Mintaha Neslihan Eroglu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)