Clippers look to clamp on Griffin, Paul for long-term deals
Los Angeles, CA, United States (AHN Sports) – Blake Griffin and Chris Paul were keys to the Los Angeles Clippers’ resurgence this season.
The tandem has brought the once-maligned team to the second round of the NBA Playoffs, losing to the experienced San Antonio Spurs via sweep.
Now, the team is hoping that the duo can stick around for a long time and lead them to further success and eventually the championship.
“I feel those things are going to get done,” Clippers president Andy Roeser told espn.com. “The important thing is that we have to do other things to improve the team. But I believe we’ll do those things and ultimately I believe those two players (Griffin and Paul) are going to play out their careers here.”
Griffin can become a restricted free agent after next season if he doesn’t sign a contract extension with the Clippers this summer while Paul is under contract for only one more year.
Also, the future of Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro still hangs in the balance. The team has until June 1 to decide to retain his services or not.
Roeser is confident that they can retain the players for the long haul. Griffin has expressed interest in signing an extension with the Clippers while Paul has given the team indications that he wants to stay.
Still, Griffin and Paul’s decision is hinged on what off-season moves the Clippers will undertake to bolster their lineup.
Roeser said the four-game sweep at the hands of San Antonio showed the team’s weaknesses in certain positions, which they will address in the off-season.
“I think one of the interesting things, when you play a team like San Antonio, is that your weaknesses are on display,” he said. “It’s going to give us a lot to think about in the offseason.
“I think we absolutely look at this and say, ‘If we want to get to the next level, there’s more we’re going to have to do.’ But we’re prepared to do those things.”
Clippers general manager Neil Olshey said owner Donald Sterling has committed unlimited resources to build a championship caliber team.
Meanwhile, guard Mo Williams said he will not opt out of his $8.5 million player option for next season.
“No,” Williams said when asked if he would opt out this summer. “I can tell you that right now.”
Williams had a solid season with averages of 13.2 points, 3.1 assists despite coming off the bench and mostly out of position as a shooting guard.
“This is my first time in this position. I don’t think about it when I’m playing,” Williams said. “I haven’t thought about it. I pay a good man 4 percent of my money, so he’ll make a good decision for me.”