The Los Angeles Clippers will be keeping All-Stars Chris Paul and Blake Griffin for more seasons, despite another playoff disappointment this year at the hands of the Utah Jazz.
Mark Heisler of the Orange County Register reported that neither Paul nor Griffin intend to leave the Los Angeles area or join the Lakers next season. The All-Star duo apparently wants to spend the remainder of their prime as part of the Clippers, who have suffered so many heartaches in the postseason.
"Of course, this is irresistible to the press, which frames every reverse as the end of the current era, as in: Has Griffin/Paul played his last game as a Clipper? Actually, insiders say the answer is no. Both love it here and want to stay," according to Heisler.
"Normally, this kind of speculation is meaningless, with free agents prone to leaving on a whim. In their case, however, the speculation has been right as long as both players have been here, with both having already signed new contracts with nary a presentation from another team."
Clippers owner Steve Ballmer also expressed his desire to keep the core intact no matter what it costs him. In an interview with Matthew Rocco of Fox Business, the tech billionaire stressed that he's willing to go way above the luxury threshold just to keep this group of guys and play for the championship in the coming seasons.
However, Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN is reporting that Griffin might be considering playing elsewhere to give him a new environment after a series of injuries the past two seasons. Griffin, who averaged 21.6 points and 8.1 rebounds during the 2016-17 regular-season, missed the last four games of the series vs. Spurs with an injury to the plantar plate of his right big toe.
"Sources close to the Clippers tell Arnovitz that they continue to expect Chris Paul to re-sign with the team, but Blake Griffin's future is less certain. One source, "in good humor," suggested that it wouldn't be a huge surprise to see Paul go through a public process of taking meetings with other teams before re-signing with the Clippers, while Griffin is more likely to go through the process privately and perhaps land elsewhere," writes Arnovitz.