The Clippers had a mostly impressive season. They were able to pair the explosive Blake Griffin with arguably the best point guard in the NBA in Chris Paul. Management surrounded them with solid players like Chauncey Billups, Mo Williams, Caron Butler, Kenyon Martin and DeAndre Jordan. LA also made the playoffs for the first time since the 2005-06 season.
Conversely, all these spectacular turnarounds, for one of the most unsuccessful teams in the NBA for the past few decades, overshadowed some problems. During last free agency, the Clippers were forced to match the offer sheet signed by DeAndre Jordan with the Golden State Warriors.
He is owed $32.9 million over the next three seasons, which severely confines the team’s ability to build around Paul and Griffin. Jordan is no doubt an athletic, defensive force down low, but not at the aforementioned price tag. The Clippers cap consequently sits at $49.2 million for next season.
The team still has roughly $9 million in cap space to sign additional pieces, yet this is not where their major dilemma lies. For the 2013-14 season, both Paul and Griffin will become free agents. Unless the team can sign either or both to extensions, management will be hard-pressed to make the numbers match.
Griffin will be a restricted free agent, but will no doubt be offered a max deal by someone, and the same applies for Paul. To estimate their future cap, it would have Paul at approximately $17 million, Griffin at $16 million, Jordan at $10.9 million and Butler at $8 million. This would place LA at $51.9 million, with just four players on the roster. After this, the team would have just $8 million to add pieces needed to make the NBA Finals, ultimately every general manager's goal.
However, surely both all-stars will be offered more than previously mentioned by other teams. It is for this reason that the dynamic duo need to sign extensions as soon as possible, to avoid the arduous process that is free agency.