The outcome of the 2016-17 NBA season will affect the decision of Los Angeles Clippers stars Chris Paul and Blake Griffin in the upcoming free agency. If they suffer an early exit in the NBA Playoffs 2017, will the Clippers break their “Big Three” this summer?
The “Big Three” of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan is expected to give the Clippers their first NBA championship title. However, since the creation of “Big Three”, their only greatest achievement was reaching the Western Conference Semifinals. The Clippers face the Utah Jazz in the first round of the NBA Playoffs 2017 and lost the Game 1 by only two points.
If the Clippers will be easily eliminated, some people believe that this will be the last season that the “Big Three” will play together in one team. Both Paul and Griffin will become free agents and may consider entertaining other offers if the Clippers suffer another disappointment.
Doc Rivers hopes LA Clippers keep “Big Three”
Chris Paul and Blake Griffin verbally agreed to re-sign with the Clippers in the upcoming free agency. However, the Clippers will be needing to throw a huge amount of money in order to keep their core intact. Aside from Paul and Griffin, J.J. Redick will also become a free agent and expected to demand a massive contract this summer.
According to USA Today Sports, re-signing all starters will require the Clippers approximately $196 million, with $140 million in salaries and $56 million in luxury tax. Doc Rivers hopes Clippers owner Steve Ballmer will not think twice to bring back their stars this summer.
“Here’s my argument to (the question of whether all that luxury tax is worth it),” Rivers, who is three years into a five-year deal worth more than $50 million, told USA TODAY Sports recently. “Let’s say we don’t win this year — which I think we will, (but) let’s say we don’t. Do you give up on a 50-win team that has proven that they’re really close (to winning it all), or do you hang in there and keep trying to maybe make changes around (the core)?”
Doc Rivers compares Clippers’ situation with the Utah Jazz
Rivers used the Utah Jazz as an example with the Clippers’ situation this summer. The Jazz also faced the same problem with Karl Malone and John Stockton. However, instead of joining other teams, Malone and Stockton decided to play together in Utah.
Though they failed to bring the Larry O’Brien Trophy to Utah, the Jazz made two consecutive NBA Finals appearances. Rivers credited the achievement with Malone and Stockton’s decision to stay in Utah. Rivers hopes Paul and Griffin will have the same kind of mentality in the upcoming free agency.
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Video courtesy: Youtube/Pro Basketball