The Los Angeles Clippers, much to the surprise of absolutely no one, don't like spending money when they don't have to. That's what we learned, or rather re-affirmed, when Donald Sterling and Co. backed out of a potential deal with the Boston Celtics after balking at the cost.
It's a bit of backtracking that will ultimately cost the franchise Chris Paul. And when CP3 goes, so too does any hope of winning a championship in the near future.
The potential deal on the table centered around Kevin Garnett, Doc Rivers, DeAndre Jordan and some draft picks. L.A. was looking to add the legendary power forward and upgrade at head coach while giving up an overpaid center and a few draft picks that weren't likely to even be in the lottery.
That sounds like a great deal, right? Well, it was for the Clippers.
But according to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski, the money was just too much for the Clippers.
Clippers refused to give additional 1st-round pick, but ultimately $35M extension for Rivers and $3M-plus Jordan trade kicker played part.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) June 18, 2013
Sorry, let me control myself after my fit of laughter here.
The Clippers are seriously backing out of this deal because of a pick that will probably be in the 20s and around $38 million? They're doing that despite the millions and millions of dollars they'd make by easily asserting themselves as the premier team in Los Angeles?
The endorsement deals would come flowing in as this team took yet another step forward. Now they're poised to take a massive leap backward. Blake Griffin's highlights are fun, but there won't be as many without Chris Paul throwing him lobs.
There won't be as many wins either, because CP3 is as good as gone unless these negotiations start back up in the near future.
Definitely don't rent or buy in one of Sterling's buildings. RT @MrTrpleDouble10: If you're CP3, what are you thinking right now?— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) June 18, 2013
For the Clippers, this offseason was supposed to be about doing whatever it takes to keep the league's premier point guard. Vinny Del Negro was let go, in large part to appease CP3, and the rest of the moves were originally intended to do the same.
Welp. So much for that.
So to recap, Sterling threw CP3 under the bus for VDN's firing and then balked at the price for a great coach. Not the best recruiting job.— D.J. Foster (@fosterdj) June 18, 2013
I'm pretty sure that somewhere out there, Danny Ferry, Daryl Morey and Mark Cuban are all sitting around with massive ear-to-ear grins on their faces while popping Champagne even though it wasn't five o'clock yet when the news was announced.
Their pursuits of CP3—and possibly Dwight Howard—just got significantly easier.
Paul is a pathologically competitive basketball player. He wants to win at all costs, perhaps more so than any other player in the NBA. That's why it was so important for the Clippers to show that they were completely committed to playing winning basketball.
Hey Dwight? You thought playing with Kobe was hard? On a day-to-day basis, CP3 is even more relentless and unforgiving. But good luck!— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) June 14, 2013
So far, they've completely failed to do that. When you're committed to winning, you don't balk at the price tag of an elite head coach and a power forward/center who can immediately aid your cause. The only reason you let up is when the CBA prevents you from spending more.
Keeping DeAndre Jordan is not going to suddenly convince Paul that the organization will do what it takes. Not unless Jordan suddenly stops being a defensive liability and a player who can't be counted on in late-game situations because of his atrocious shooting from the charity stripe.
Paul is still saddled with almost completely carrying the Clippers if he chooses to return. After Blake Griffin disappeared down the stretch and no-showed the playoffs, CP3 isn't exactly working with a Big Two, much less a Big Three like he could elsewhere.
Will Chris Paul play another game for the Clippers?
In Houston, he could join forces with James Harden and Chandler Parsons while playing under a general manager who has proven that he will literally do whatever it takes to land stars. In Atlanta, he'd be the building block that Ferry shapes the team around, and he'd have an excellent shot to play alongside Howard. In Dallas, he and Dirk Nowitzki would form a stellar duo and, once more, he'd have a front-office member who's willing to do anything and everything necessary to win.
All three of those organizations stand in stark contrast to the Clippers. For what seems like the bajillionth time, the organization has proven to be too cheap to promote a winning culture.
The Clippers are cheap, who knew..— John Ledesma (@JohnnyNBA) June 18, 2013
Unless talks between the Clippers and Celtics re-open, Sterling may as well start writing his goodbye note to CP3.
Just don't expect him to use any sort of expensive stationary; the back of a napkin will do just fine.