About those Chris Paul-to-San Antonio Spurs rumors having serious legs…One NBA executive isn’t buying it.
From Bleacher Report’s Mike Monroe:
“I think all that talk is nothing more than leverage,” one Western Conference basketball executive said Thursday. “Chris is just trying to make sure he can leverage Doc (Rivers).
“If you’re the Clippers, don’t you have some reservations about giving him that big commitment? I know I would. So, if you’re Chris, you’ve got to create some interest out there in the league that then puts pressure on your own people to give you what you want.”
This may absolutely be true. After all, it’s hard to envision the Spurs gutting the roster just to carve out $35.4 million in cap space for Paul’s max. Dropping their name to scare the Los Angeles Clippers into giving Paul whatever he wants is a great move—you know, if the Clippers were in any position to play hardball.
What exactly is Paul trying to get here? The Clippers cannot spend the money they can offer him on anyone else. They could try to offer him a four-year max instead of a five-year deal, but they won’t. They’re smarter than that.
And that would mean Paul is essentially using the Spurs to extract a no-trade clause out of Los Angeles. Again: It’s possible. But this feels like an awful lot of trouble for merely that.
There’s no doubt the Paul-to-San Antonio is a long shot—a whimsical pipe dream. We can’t confirm the Spurs’ commitment to the pursuit until it becomes clear they’re shopping around for salary-cap relief and potentially willing to cut ties with Tony Parker. Likewise, though, it’s a little early to entirely rule out the possibility.
The Spurs are smarter than to let themselves be used as leverage. If that’s what Paul was doing, it seems like something to the contrary from San Antonio’s camp would have leaked out before now.