Clippers are eliminated from playoffs by Jazz and will face major questions in the offseason
season that began with so much promise for the Clippers has come to an abrupt halt, and now they venture into the unknown.
They were dispatched from the Western Conference playoffs 104-91 by the Utah Jazz on Sunday afternoon at Staples Center, sending the Clippers home to ponder what happens next after they lost the best-of-seven series 4-3.
A team that lost in the first round for the second consecutive season will look different next season, but how much change will be made is the big question.
“We’ll figure that one out,” said Doc Rivers, the Clippers’ coach and president of basketball operations. “I’m thinking about the loss today instead of the summer. I’m sure everyone will have their own suggestions. We’ve been reading about our obituary for about three months now. So, I’m sure everyone will have that.”
The Clippers didn’t have Blake Griffin to help them after he went down for the season with a plantar plate injury to his right big toe in Game 3. Griffin wasn’t at Sunday’s game because he was on the East Coast getting another opinion from a foot specialist to determine his surgery options.
Griffin and Chris Paul both have early termination clauses in their contracts, meaning they can become unrestricted free agents this summer.
Paul has to inform the Clippers of his decision by June 29 and Griffin must do so by June 28.
Paul, who will turn 32 on Saturday, would earn $24.268 million next season if he doesn’t opt out. If he signs a new contract with the Clippers, the point guard could get a five-year deal worth about $205 million. If he were to go to another team, Paul could sign a four-year deal worth about $152 million.
Sources inside and outside the organization have told The Times that the Clippers hope to re-sign Paul for the maximum deal. The sources requested anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the situation.
Paul, who had just 13 points in Game 7, said “No, I haven’t,” when asked if he had given any consideration to his contract option.
Griffin’s contract for next season is for $21.3 million, but the power forward can also get a better salary if he opts out.
Signing a maximum deal with the Clippers would net Griffin $175 million over five years. Another team could offer a four-year deal worth about $130 million.
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.
J.J. Redick will become an unrestricted free agent when the season is over. He earned $7.3 million this season and is looking for a big pay raise.
Redick, 32, could get a deal from another team for $18-$20 million per season, and that may be too high for the Clippers to swallow, meaning their shooting guard would walk, as most NBA officials expect him to do.
Starting small forward Luc Mbah a Moute can opt out of his deal that will pay him $2.3 million next season. He has to inform the Clippers by June 29 of his decision.
Reserve center Marreese Speights is expected to opt out of his deal that would pay him $1.4 million next season. He has to inform the Clippers by June 22 of his decision.
Speights is looking for a mid-level deal that will start around $8.4 million per season, meaning he’ll almost certainly be with another team next season.
Reserve guard Raymond Felton will become an unrestricted free agent and also is expected to seek a mid-level deal, meaning he would also leave the Clippers.
Alan Anderson will become a free agent and Paul Pierce is retiring.
“There are a lot of decisions to be made,” center DeAndre Jordan told The Times on Friday night after the Clippers’ Game 6 victory. “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. 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.”
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