The Los Angeles Clippers held their team exit interview on Saturday after a first-round playoff exit to the Memphis Grizzlies. While Chris Paul has stated that he is unsure of his future with the organization and has not even begun to think about it, Clippers President of Basketball Operations Gary Sacks is “very confident” that their star point guard will eventually re-sign with the team.
Los Angeles offered Paul a three-year, $60 million extension last summer that Paul turned down. Under the new collective bargaining agreement, the Clippers were only able to offer a three-year extension, most likely a major factor in Paul’s decision to decline.
As of July 1, the two sides can start speaking about a new deal, and Chris Paul is eligible for a five-year, $108 million extension. Sacks has made it clear that the team plans on re-signing Paul and making him the cornerstone of their franchise for years to come. When asked about the situation, Sacks said, “It’s always difficult, it’s never easy, but we feel confident we can be successful.”
Head coach Vinny Del Negro’s contract also expires June 1. Del Negro’s future may rely mainly on the opinions of star players Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. If the two superstars think it’s time to bring in someone new, the Clippers will not hesitate to do so. To reach the franchise’s goals, the team will undoubtedly need to make a run deeper into the playoffs; for that to happen, Chris Paul needs to be back in Los Angeles.
This off-season may very well be the biggest in franchise history. With the team’s star player and head coach’s contracts both expiring this summer, the team’s decisions will impact their window as a contender in the Western Conference. Chris Paul’s decision on whether or not to return to Los Angeles may very well depend on what the Clippers plans for Vinny Del Negro are.