There is an “understanding” within the Clippers’ organization and Chris Paul’s inner circle that he will re-sign with the team in the off-season, according to Yahoo! Sports. The expectation is for Paul to re-sign with the team after the season, and all signs point to him doing exactly that. He’s changed the culture since coming to Los Angeles and has a core in place around him to keep the Clippers competitive for long after just this year. It would be a major surprise to see Paul even flirt with another team in free agency.
Per Yahoo! Sports:
HOUSTON – Free agency is a distant, fleeting idea for Chris Paul now, an All-Star game MVP under his arm and a Western Conference championship within his reach. He’s planning to re-sign with the Los Angeles Clippers, punctuating his pick-and-roll partnership with Blake Griffin with a maximum contract extension and final say about every move their franchise now makes.
“As I get older – and I’m 27 – you have to start playing with your mind more than all the athleticism,” Paul said Sunday night.
Make no mistake: The Clippers conduct business in complete concert with Paul’s intelligence and desires. Within the organization and Paul’s inner-circle, there’s an understanding that he’s staying a Clipper, but committing now costs him leverage – and perhaps could allow one of the league’s all-time cheap franchises to get away with a half-hearted pursuit at contention.
Without James Harden, the Oklahoma City Thunder are more vulnerable in the Western Conference now. As one West GM said, “You can load up on Durant and Westbrook in a way that you couldn’t do with Harden there.”