Doc Rivers Says Chris Paul Will 'Absolutely' Stay with Clippers

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMay 27, 2017

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - APRIL 21: Doc Rivers of the Los Angeles Clippers talks with Chris Paul #3 of the Los Angeles Clippers during the game against the Utah Jazz during the Western Conference Quarter-finals of the 2017 NBA Playoffs on April 21, 2017 at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. 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)
Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images

Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers is planning to do everything in his power to ensure superstar point guard Chris Paul remains with the organization during the NBA offseason.

On Saturday, TMZ Sports passed along comments from Rivers about the situation after Paul became the focus of speculation involving a move to the San Antonio Spurs. The Clippers coach said he "absolutely" expects the nine-time All-Star to stay in Lob City despite the rumors.

His stance comes ahead of a summer filled with question marks for Los Angeles. Paul and power forward Blake Griffin both own early-termination options in their contracts, which they could exercise to become unrestricted free agents.

In February, Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders reported the Clippers and their point guard had "verbally agreed" to a long-term deal. He would opt out of his deal and re-sign with the franchise for more than $200 million.

Marc Stein of ESPN.com noted Friday it might not be that easy, though. He pointed out the Spurs are "exploring the feasibility" of creating the necessary space under the salary cap in order to make a serious bid for Paul in free agency, which the Clippers view as a "legitimate concern."

San Antonio will be looking for more star power after getting swept by the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals. The team couldn't keep pace with the Dubs after 2016-17 MVP candidate and two-time Defensive Player of the Year Kawhi Leonard reaggravated an ankle injury in Game 1 and never returned in the series.

While longtime Spurs point guard Tony Parker enjoyed a resurgent playoffs before his season came to a premature end with a ruptured quadriceps tendon in the second round versus the Houston Rockets, the 35-year-old is no longer capable of carrying a team on his shoulders like he could during his peak seasons.

San Antonio is a projected $25.7 million over the cap with 11 players under contract for next season, according to Spotrac, so it would need to get creative to make room for Paul.

There have also been whispers about Rivers' future in recent months. In March, Stein reported there has been "persistent chatter" around the league about the coach returning to the Orlando Magic, though a timetable for the possible move is unclear.

There are a lot of moving pieces for the Clippers this offseason. Paul is the biggest of them all. If he does decide to leave, whether it's for the Spurs or another team, it could have a trickle-down effect and leave L.A. looking a lot different heading into the 2017-18 season.

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