Tuesday 18th June 2024,
The Hoop Doctors

Chris Paul Hints He’ll Stay with Clippers

Chris Paul hasn’t yet come out and said he’s re-signing with the Los Angeles Clippers directly, but he sure seems like he’s ultimately going to.

Forget that the Clippers are in the playoffs for the second straight year. That doesn’t have as much to do with his decision right now. What does is how far they go. They were bounced in the second round last year, and if they’re ousted in the first or second rounds this year, I could see him struggling to return if some major changes aren’t made.

But, I could also just see him returning. Yes, because they made the playoffs, but also, where else is he going to go? Dallas? Atlanta? A place to be determined? His New York dream is dead so it won’t be there. Knowing what kind of teams have the money to sign him then, it seems likely that he’ll re-up with the Clippers over the summer.

That’s been the thinking all year. Paul would remain in Los Angeles out of sheer convenience if nothing else. And I still believe that’s what will happen, something he has already reinforced.

Following practice on Sunday after the Clippers trounced the Memphis Grizzlies in the first game of their NBA playoff series, Paul lamented the loss of Eric Bledsoe, even though Bledsoe is still next to him (via Arash Markazi of ESPN.com):

“Bled is one of the best guards in our league,” Paul said after practice Sunday. “I’ve said it all season long. I’m enjoying playing with him right now because there’s no way he can be here next year because we probably won’t have enough money to pay him. He should be a starting point guard in this league next year.”

Bledsoe is actually under contract for next season at $2.6 million, but Paul’s words may be the clearest indication yet that he fully intends to sign the five-year, $108 million contract extension the Clippers plan to offer him in the offseason. He knows as long as he is the Clippers’ point guard; there simply is no room for Bledsoe.

Nothing like complementing a teammate and then asserting he won’t be playing next to you next season, right?

Unless Paul is implying he’s on his way somewhere else and Bledsoe will be starting for the Clippers (doubtful), this is further evidence that he plans to stay right where he is.

Bledsoe is under contract through next season, and the only way the Clippers give him up (i.e. trade him so he may start somewhere else) is if Paul returns. He wasn’t dealt at the trade deadline because Los Angeles had no idea what was going to happen with Paul this summer. The Clippers kept him as an insurance policy.

It doesn’t seem like they’ll have to keep him much longer, though. What with Paul making constantly “we” references and already packing Bledsoe’s bags, it seems he’s hell-bent on returning to Blake Griffin’s side.

Of course, there’s a lot of first-round basketball left to play. If the Clippers get eliminated by the Grizzlies or their second-round opponent, his intended actions could still change.

Right now, though, he’s a member of the Clippers. And it seems he’s already decided to keep it that way.

Eric Bledsoe is a different story.

Dan Favale is a firm believer in the three-pointer as well as the notion that defense doesn’t always win championships. His musings can be found at Bleacherreport.com in addition to TheHoopDoctors.com. Follow @danfavale on Twitter for his latest posts and all things NBA.

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