Clippers Rumored to Want to Sign Chris Paul and Blake Griffin to Max Contracts

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMay 1, 2017

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 1: Blake Griffin #32 talks with Chris Paul #3 of the Los Angeles Clippers during the game against the Houston Rockets on March 1, 2017 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
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The Los Angeles Clippers are hoping to sign superstars Chris Paul and Blake Griffin to max contracts this offseason, according to Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times.

Both players are under contract for next season but have early-termination clauses and would become unrestricted free agents if they exercise them. Paul could sign a five-year deal for $205 million, while Griffin is in line for a five-year deal worth $175 million.

According to Turner, Paul answered, "'No, I haven’t,' when asked if he had given any consideration to his contract option."

However, Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders reported in February that Paul and the Clippers had already verbally agreed to a max contract extension, while Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN.com reported on Friday that "Sources close to the Clippers say that they expect Paul to re-sign with the Clippers."

As for Griffin, "The Clippers and Griffin hope to work out a maximum deal, according to NBA officials who were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter," according to Turner.

And Kyler reported in January that "Sources close to Griffin said recently that he is not remotely interested in changing teams and they expect the deal process to go very smoothly and quickly this summer."

There are questions about whether re-signing Griffin and Paul is the right direction for the franchise, however. The pair have never been able to get past the conference semifinals, though they have led the Clippers to six straight playoff appearances.

And with teams like the Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs and Houston Rockets all built around superstars in their primes—and teams like the Denver Nuggets and Minnesota Timberwolves expected to improve dramatically in the coming years given promising young cores—the Clippers window may have closed in the Western Conference.

Plus, dedicating maximum money to the pair this summer will likely make it impossible for the team to bring back its other free agents, including J.J. Redick, Raymond Felton and Alan Anderson. Additionally, Luc Mbah a Moute and Marreese Speights can each opt out of their current deals.

Even if Paul and Griffin do re-sign, the Clippers could find themselves with a far weaker supporting cast come the 2017-18 season.

On the other hand, if the Clippers lose the superstar pair they'll find themselves in a rebuilding mode. It would be the end of an era, the most successful era in franchise history.

"There are a lot of decisions to be made," center DeAndre Jordan acknowledged on Friday, per Turner. "We’ve got a lot of free agents. We’ve got a lot of guys who have played a lot of great basketball who can, if they want, go to a different team. I’ll definitely think about that."

"This is one of the best teams I’ve been on talent-wise and character-wise," he added. "So I really love being around these guys as teammates and as friends off the court. So, yeah, I want them all to come back."