Paul, Grif­fin opt out of deals

Clip­pers stars be­come un­re­stricted free agents but could re-sign with the team.

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS - By Broderick Turner

The Clip­pers were in­formed Friday that both Chris Paul and Blake Grif­fin have de­clined their player op­tions for the 2017-18 sea­son and will be­come un­re­stricted free agents, ac­cord­ing to NBA ex­ec­u­tives who were not au­tho­rized to speak pub­licly on the mat­ter.

The Clip­pers plan to re­sign both Paul and Grif­fin to max­i­mum deals, the team has said in the past.

Paul had un­til next Thursday to in­form the Clip­pers of his de­ci­sion and Grif­fin un­til next Wed­nes­day.

One team of­fi­cial said it wasn’t a sur­prise that the two took this course be­cause there is so much more money both Paul, who would have made $22.8 mil­lion next sea­son, and Grif­fin, who stood to make $20.1 mil­lion next sea­son, can make as free agents.

If Paul re-signs with the Clip­pers, he can earn the most money from them, mak­ing about $205 mil­lion over five sea­sons. He would earn $35 mil­lion in his first sea­son if he stays with the Clip­pers, $38 mil­lion the sec­ond, $41 mil­lion the third, $43 mil­lion the fourth and $46 mil­lion the fi­nal year, when he will be 38 years old.

If Paul signs with an­other team, he would get $152 mil­lion over four years. He would get $35 mil­lion in the first year with that team, $37 mil­lion the sec­ond, $38 mil­lion the third and $40 mil­lion the last year.

If Grif­fin re-signs with the Clip­pers, he can earn more from them than any other team, about $175 mil­lion over five years.

He would start at $30 mil­lion in the first year with the Clip­pers, $32 mil­lion in the sec­ond, $35 mil­lion in the third, $37 mil­lion in the fourth and $39 mil­lion in the last.

If Grif­fin de­cides to bolt and sign with an­other team, he would get less money, earn­ing about $130 mil­lion over four years. He would get $30 mil­lion in the first year, $31 mil­lion in sec­ond, $33 mil­lion in the third and $34 mil­lion in the fourth.

The fifth year and ex­tra cash that the Clip­pers can give both players gives L.A. a big ad­van­tage with Paul and Grif­fin.

But the Clip­pers will get com­pe­ti­tion for the two players, who have been team­mates for six years.

There have been re­ports that Paul will visit the San An­to­nio Spurs, Hous­ton Rock­ets and Den­ver Nuggets.

And there is a pos­si­ble new des­ti­na­tion for Paul.

Ac­cord­ing to one ex­ec­u­tive, if the Lak­ers ac­quire Indiana’s Paul Ge­orge this sum­mer, Paul would be in­ter­ested in visit­ing with them.

Grif­fin also is ex­pected to have sev­eral teams vy­ing for his ser­vices.

The Bos­ton Celtics, Hous­ton Rock­ets and per­haps even his home­town team of Ok­la­homa City will be af­ter Grif­fin.

Grif­fin will en­ter the freeagency pe­riod that starts July 1 re­cov­er­ing from an­other in­jury.

He had surgery May 1 for a plan­tar plate in­jury to his right big toe.

He was in­jured dur­ing Game 3 of the Western Con­fer­ence first-round play­off series, which the Clip­pers lost in seven games to the Utah Jazz.

The Clip­pers didn’t give a timetable for his re­turn, but they said it was “rea­son­able to ex­pect” Grif­fin to be back on the court some­time dur­ing the ex­hi­bi­tion sea­son.

That would be about a six-month re­cov­ery pe­riod if Grif­fin’s re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion went with­out any prob­lems.

He had the stitches taken out of his toe a few weeks ago and is ex­pected to be out of his walk­ing boot next week.

One ex­ec­u­tive said Grif­fin will prob­a­bly still get a max deal from ei­ther the Clip­pers or an­other team.

Both Paul and Grif­fin may seek a no-trade clause in their con­tracts, which could then make things dicey for the Clip­pers be­cause their point guard would be in his 17th sea­son in the fi­nal year of the deal and be­cause Grif­fin has had an in­jury­marred ca­reer the last few sea­sons.

Nev­er­the­less, Doc Rivers, the Clip­pers’ coach and pres­i­dent of bas­ket­ball op­er­a­tions, will use his power of per­sua­sion to try to get Paul and Grif­fin back into the fold.

Clip­pers for­ward Luc Mbah a Moute has un­til next Thursday to in­form the team whether he plans to de­cline his op­tion.

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