The Los Angeles Clippers since the arrival of Chris Paul five seasons ago have been one of the powerhouse teams in the NBA. However, they have been unable to find that same level of success in the playoff going no further than the Western Conference semi-finals over that span. With both Paul and Blake Griffin likely to opt of their deals next offseason, J.J. Redick does not see this upcoming campaign as a make-or-break year.
“If you’re one of the two best teams, three best teams, why would you take a step back? You’re right there. The thing that’s specific to our team is like, what’s the alternative?”
“In terms of our [salary] cap situation, I think for us to get cap space, Blake and CP would have to leave. So it’s like are you really going to let two of the top 10 players in the league go? And replace them with what?”
“So I don’t buy the whole, ‘We have to do it this year or we’re going to break up.’ Listen, man, I’ve been in this game long enough to know that things can change in a week. Things can change in a year. Things can change in five. So you never know.”
Redick clearly sounds like he has the belief that both players would return even after opting of their respective deals. Yes, the continued rise in the salary cap with benefit the Clippers in their attempt to retain their players in free agency but that doesn’t mean they will take it because it’s the biggest deal on the table. There’s a lot more to it than just offering the largest contract as Los Angeles just can’t seem to get over the hump.
The fact of the matter is that Paul is in his early 30s with his window to winning a championship being closer to closing than opening. Meanwhile, the Clippers had attempted to trade Griffin last year after the off-the-court turmoil. If they falter once again in the playoffs, in the same manner, it’s hard to envision them not at least entertaining the opportunity to play elsewhere in free agency.