On Friday, the Los Angeles Clippers were told that both Blake Griffin and Chris Paul declined the options they had for the upcoming season and will be unrestricted free agents, according to executives from the NBA.
The Clippers are planning to re-sign both players to the maximum deals, team officials have said. Paul had until June 29 to inform Los Angeles of the decision he was making and Griffin until Wednesday June 28.
One official with the team said it was not a surprise the two players took the free agency route as there is so much money available to both players in the open market as free agents.
If Paul decides to re-sign with the Clippers he will be able to earn the most from them or approximately $205 million over a period of five years, including $35 million during the first season if he remains with the Clippers, with more each year concluding with $46 million during the final year, when he would be 38.
If the point guard were to sign with any other team, he would be paid $152 million across a period of four years with $35 million and first year and $40 million the final year.
If Griffin re-signs with Los Angeles he would earn as much as $175 million or more than with any other NBA team. Even Griffin leaves the Clippers he could earn only $130 million during a four-year contract.
The extra cash and fifth year the players can receive by re-signing with the Clippers gives a big advantage to LA in trying to keep the two all-stars.
However, the Clippers expect competition in signing the two players who have played on the same team for the last six years.
Reports have circulated that Paul will travel to visit with the Spurs, Rockets and Nuggets, but one other team has appeared on the radar.
One executive said if the Los Angeles Lakers acquired Paul George from the Pacers, Paul would have interest in visiting them.
Griffin is expected to be courted by the Celtics, Rockets and Thunder.
One problem that could occur with the Clippers trying to sign both is if they request a no-trade clause since Paul would be playing his 17th NBA season during the final year of a 5-year deal and Griffin’s career has been marred by injury the past couple of seasons.