Though the Los Angeles Clippers have the third best record in the Western Conference and are willing to do just about anything Paul tells them to, the point guard is still reportedly unsure of what he’ll do this summer.
According to T.J. Simers of the Los Angeles Times, Paul, contrary to popular belief, has yet to decide whether he will re-sign with the Clippers:
Yahoo.com’s Adrian Wojnarowski recently reported inaccurately that Paul is “planning to re-sign with the Los Angeles Clippers, punctuating his pick-and-roll partnership with Griffin with a maximum contract extension and final say about every move their franchise now makes.”
It sounds good to the Clippers, and might happen. And DeAndre Jordan still might become a force at center for the Clippers.
But Paul said, “No, I haven’t decided what I am going to do next season, and no, I haven’t told anyone what I’m going to do.”
The smart money is on Paul returning to the Clippers. They can offer him more money than any other team and they’ve proved they’re committed to winning. Unlike Dwight Howard, he really doesn’t have a whole lot of reasons to leave.
Still, his continued ambivalence has to be slightly disconcerting if we’re the Los Angeles organization. Despite the newfangled look and impressive depth, the Clippers could be but another second-round exit away from losing Paul.
At that point, one has to wonder where he would go. The Atlanta Hawks? Dallas Mavericks? Surely not the New York Knicks. That dream, that infamous toast is dead.
It’s difficult to imagine Paul playing for any of the teams that will actually have the cap space needed to sign him. It’s also difficult to believe he’ll attempt to team up with Dwight Howard. The Hawks seem to be the only team with enough cap and potential allure to house both of them, and it borders on implausible to assume either of them would spurn the busy streets of Hollywood for a far more reserved Atlanta.
Of course, that doesn’t mean it won’t happen, that Paul won’t up and leave the Clippers. Because he could.
But will he?
Even if Los Angeles is headed for another early postseason exit, I just don’t see it happening. Perhaps then, Paul wills some changes into existence. Maybe he forces the organization to trade DeAndre Jordan in favor of a more Chris Paul friendly stretch forward. Perhaps he demands that they find a way to land another marquee name.
But leave? Desert the team that is willing to spend whatever it takes to keep him?
I don’t think so.
Normally, I’d say anything is possible when it comes to the NBA, but on the wrong side of a new CBA, it honestly isn’t. Only a handful of teams can afford to construct a super team, and the Clippers are one of them. Paul isn’t about to leave to go play alongside an aging Dirk Nowitzki in Dallas or jump at the opportunity to instill greatness in a perennial middling team in Atlanta.
Paul has the opportunity to continue to revive what was a dead franchise in Los Angeles. He has the opportunity to get paid. Like seriously paid. And whether or not you believe the Clippers are legitimate title threats, he has the opportunity to contend for a championship.
More so than anywhere else he’d be able to go.
Dan Favale is an avid basketball analyst and firm believer in the three-pointer as well as the notion that defense doesn’t always win championships. His work can be found at Bleacherreport.com in addition to TheHoopDoctors.com. Follow @danfavale on Twitter for his latest posts and all things NBA.