When Chris Paul left the LA Clippers’ training facility on Saturday, he was doubtful about his future with the team. On Monday, Clippers VP of basketball operations Gary Sacks said he was “very confident” the All-Star point guard would eventually re-sign with the team.
Sacks met up with Paul during the team’s exit interview and believes that he’s going to be back, but was cautious about getting into details with Paul becoming an unrestricted free agent and not being able to sign an extension till July 1.
“A lot of that information we will keep private, because that’s an internal thing, but I feel very confident,” Sacks said. “I think he’s an important part of this. We feel like we had a great partnership for the last couple of years and we would like to continue it obviously. These are decisions that have to be made and some of them will be taken at the right time. We cannot speak to him till July 1, so we’ll go on and do that. We’ll move forward when it’s appropriate.”
Paul is eligible to sign a 5-year, $108 million extension after July 1. He turned down a 3-year, $60 million extension last summer. But that is mostly because the Clippers could only offer him a 3-year extension at that point, under the terms of the new collective bargaining agreement.
“The No. 1 priority for us right now has to be re-signing our star player, Chris Paul,” Sacks said. “That’s our goal, that’s what we want to do. We want to put ourselves in a position to do that. We feel this organization is in a position to go on with that goal in mind. It’s always difficult, it is never easy, but we feel confident we can be successful.”
The Clippers will have to make another big decision before they’re eligible to re-sign Paul as Vinny Del Negro’s contract expires after June 1. The Clippers coach met with the media and realizes that his future may be tied to the wishes of Paul and Blake Griffin, who confirmed a 5-year, $95 million extension last year.
“I think all that plays a part,” Del Negro recounted. “I enjoy working with them. They are great guys and they’re incredibly talented. They’re the nucleus of the team obviously that you want to keep untouched and move forward with. I have enjoyed working with them and have seen their development.”
Sacks said he would indeed meet with Paul, Griffin and others before deciding on who will be the team’s next head coach.
“We wish to have feedback from our players to hear what they have to say,” Sacks related. “Whatever we do, we do as an organization. Of course you’re going to hear your star players. You’re going to hear all of your employees when you are making these decisions but I don’t think that is unusual.” Football lines
After losing in the first round of the playoffs to the Memphis Grizzlies last week, Sacks accepted how vital this offseason would be to the future of the franchise with the team’s franchise player and head coach becoming free agents.