Latest Odds on Chris Paul Re-Signing with the L.A. Clippers

Oren FriedmanCorrespondent IIJune 28, 2013

With Doc Rivers in the fold, is Chris Paul ready to re-sign in Lob City?
With Doc Rivers in the fold, is Chris Paul ready to re-sign in Lob City?Harry How/Getty Images

With the recent acquisition of head coach Doc Rivers, the Los Angeles Clippers’ odds of re-signing Chris Paul to a max contract extension are very high.

Despite no public comment, Paul had his hands all over the deal, according to sources. While a deal for Rivers, and at the time Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett, was falling apart, Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Paul’s hand reignited the talks:

After superstar Chris Paul injected his influence to accelerate talks, the Los Angeles Clippers are searching for ownership approval to complete a blockbuster deal to bring Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers and forward Kevin Garnett to L.A., league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

When the NBA rejected a deal that would have allowed Garnett to follow his coach to Hollywood, Wojnarowski again reported that Paul was frustrated about the deal’s potential demise:

Free agent star Chris Paul pushed the Clippers to hire Rivers as coach, but will have to settle for Lionel Hollins, Brian Shaw or Byron Scott if he plans to re-sign with Los Angeles in July. Paul is unhappy with the fallout over the failed deal, sources told Yahoo! Sports on Friday night.

Upon the announcement that the Clips had come to terms with Rivers, Paul was non-committal in an interview at his camp in San Diego.

Paul is a good businessman, and by staying non-committal he has maximized his leverage. Nevertheless, Rivers likely came to Los Angeles with the understanding that he would come to coach Paul.

According to Wojnarowski:

Paul hasn’t formally committed to signing a five-year maximum contract in July, but Rivers is taking the job with full knowledge that he’ll be coaching Paul, sources said.

ESPN’s Marc Stein reiterated Wojnarowski’s claim that the Rivers deal should all but cement Paul’s signature on an extension.

While Paul will likely still take meetings with other free agent suitors like the Houston Rockets, the Dallas Mavericks and the Atlanta Hawks, none of those organizations offer the allure or the market of his current situation.

Even if Paul left for Houston to team up with James Harden, the Rockets would still need to upgrade their roster to make a significant impact in the postseason. While playing for owner Mark Cuban alongside future Hall of Famer Dirk Nowitzki might be enticing, Dallas still needs more pieces to contend. Clippers’ owner Donald Sterling has not done anything especially egregious since Paul joined Lob City. At only 24, Paul’s running mate Blake Griffin also has far more upside than the 35-year-old Nowitzki.

With valuable trading chips like DeAndre Jordan, Eric Bledsoe and the expiring contract of Caron Butler, the Clips still have cap flexibility and options for upgrading their roster before opening night.

Rivers is a tremendous upgrade over former Clips coach Vinny Del Negro and brings a championship pedigree that no Clipper coach has had since Larry Brown ran the team 20 years ago. Any indication that Sterling is still cheap with his contracts went out the window when a deal was reached with Rivers, making him the highest paid coach in the league.

More than just the organization, Los Angeles also gives Paul the ability to shine in the spotlight while dominating the nation’s second largest market. While the Los Angeles Lakers are still the marquee basketball brand in the City of Angels, the dichotomy between the LA franchises' star free agents could not be more revealing.

Whereas Dwight Howard has been ridiculed and criticized throughout his lone campaign in Hollywood, Paul has been deified in Lob City.

Prior to the Point God’s arrival, the Clippers would have put up billboards throughout town urging their star free agent to re-sign. Despite a rich history including some of the best big men to ever play the game and 16 championships to their name, it is the storied Lakers that have started the #STAYD12 campaign.

Los Angeles also gives Paul an appropriate market to continue some of his major endorsement deals. The Clips have two superstars with nationwide advertisements.

Blake Griffin’s KIA commercials are complemented nicely by the Cliff Paul All-State insurance commercials. According to a February Los Angeles Times article both Paul and Griffin have seen their commercial appeal rise as the Clippers have improved.

Last year about this time, Griffin had an awareness rating of 55% and a positive likability rating, or Q rating, of 18. Paul had an awareness and a 14 Q score. To compare, the average NBA player got a 52 awareness rating and a 13 Q score, according to Henry Shafer, president of the Q Scores Co., which crunches the numbers for interested companies. ... This year, Griffin’s Q score rose to 19, Paul’s to 18 – better than most non-athlete celebrities, who average 16.

Financially, no other squad can offer Paul more money or years than the Clippers.

Although all these indications might suggest that Paul inks an extension in July, Clipper fans will be cautious given the franchise’s history of futility. Just five years ago, beloved power forward Elton Brand ditched Los Angeles to sign with the Philadelphia 76ers.

The Clips thought an agreement with point guard free agent Baron Davis would ensure Brand’s signature on an extension.

Ultimately Brand left, and Davis kept his word by signing a multi-year deal with the Clippers. Los Angeles never totally recovered from that tailspin until it selected Griffin with the No. 1 overall pick in 2009.

Even last offseason, negotiations on a contract extension with former general manager Neil Olshey fell through, allowing the prized young executive to assume the same position for the Portland Trail Blazers.

Earlier this summer, the Clippers found a way to publicly alienate its two biggest superstars.

ESPN’s Chris Broussard reported that Paul was angry with the Clips for being blamed for the firing of Coach Del Negro. Soon after, Broussard reported that some within the Clippers organization had entertained a Griffin for Howard swap.

Rumors of ongoing talks with the Orlando Magic on an Arron Afflalo for Eric Bledsoe deal continue to suggest that the Clips have trouble keeping their information in-house.

Even with these potential slip-ups, however, it seems as if Paul would be giving up far too much if he left Los Angeles. From on-court performance, to off-court marketing and financial compensation, the Clips offer the best option for the highly coveted playmaker.

Anything can happen with Donald Sterling, but Clipper fans should like their chances of Paul re-signing in Los Angeles.


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