The elite basketball season comes to an end and while we hope to see another Game 7 of a great championship match-up, other teams start to make serious plans about next year. One of the most intriguing players that takes the eye of the NBA fans with amazing skills and unfulfilled potential that comes to mind to contending teams is Chris Paul. While the Clippers had a season that they would like to forget as soon as possible, one of their greatest concerns is the future of Chris Paul.
The internet community these days exploded with reactions of Paul in Spurs colors, and how great would that fit be for the injury damaged Spurs that did a relatively good job in the regular season. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports on CBS Sports Radio: “Not that I see. I don’t know where that came from, and I’ve spent a lot of time around the Spurs this spring. They would have to just tear up that entire payroll. It’s almost unlike anything the Spurs would have done or would do to. To even have a chance at him, they’d have to really gut the roster. And to do that for a 30-plus-year-old point guard, who has a couple great years left, there’s no question – I think there’s more pressure on the Clippers to have to re-sign him than for the Spurs to turn their whole franchise over to make a run at him. Listen, Chris Paul, financially, the difference with him being able to stay in L.A. and get paid, I’d still have a hard time imaging him leaving there. There’s so much money for him to be made. And in that Los Angeles market, in terms of his marketing endorsements, I still think they’re a pretty overwhelming favorite to re-sign him.”
The Clippers can offer Paul a projected $205 million over five years. Because they have his Bird Rights, they don’t need cap space to re-sign him.The Spurs max offer to Paul projects to be $152 million over four years, but they’d need major moves to clear enough cap room to do that. Even if they trim their roster to Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge, Danny Green, Pau Gasol and Tony Parker, they’d still need to dump two of those players. It’s obviously a lot for San Antonio to overcome. But it’s not so far outside the Spurs capabilities. To sign LaMarcus Aldridge two years ago, they traded Tiago Splitter (to Hawks) and let Cory Joseph (Raptors), Aron Baynes (Pistons), Marco Belinelli (Kings) walk in free agency. Paul is probably more valuable than the players San Antonio would have to shed this time around, though his age and the Spurs loyalty to Parker raise questions.
Would they rather dump an injured and declining Parker (clearly one of their recent legends) or a productive player like Green or Aldridge? (Gasol, who has spent only one year in San Antonio and might even be convinced to opt out, is the most likely to go).