Chris Paul signing with Spurs ‘legitimate concern’ for Clippers
By Dan Devine
Chris Paul can exercise an early termination option in his contract this summer, forgoing the final year of the five-year maximum-salaried pact he signed to stick with the Los Angeles Clippers in the summer of 2013 so that he can re-enter the unrestricted free-agent market. It’s long been rumored and reported that, if he were to do so, the future Hall of Fame point guard was a near certainty to re-up with the Clips on a new five-year max deal that would pay him nearly as twice as much as the last one to carry him through his mid-30s.
But “near” isn’t “total,” and after another disappointing first-round playoff exit for Paul’s Clippers — albeit, once again, with mitigating circumstances — some NBA analysts and observers have wondered whether CP3 might seek a new home that might increase his chances of moving past the second round of the postseason for the first time in his career. A new home like, oh, I don’t know, the perennially title-contending San Antonio Spurs, perhaps?
“There’s been a lot of rumblings about [a marriage between the Spurs and] Chris Paul, and I think that’s real,” ESPN.com’s Zach Lowe said during Tuesday’s episode of his podcast, “The Lowe Post.” “I think there’s mutual interest there. I don’t know how real it is, given the Clippers can offer a gigantic amount of money and are also a really good team, and the Spurs, like I said, have no sort of cap flexibility to get there. I’m very curious about what they do this summer and who’s on the team next year.”
Those rumblings got even louder when ESPN’s Marc Stein reported that the Spurs “are exploring the feasibility of making a free-agent run” at CP3, and that the Clippers “regard the threat of San Antonio signing away Paul as a legitimate concern.”
The depth San Antonio would have to sacrifice to afford a top-dollar offer for Paul undeniably poses a challenge to Spurs management. But the prospect of adding Paul to the frontcourt duo of Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge could potentially create a star trio that closes the gap on the Golden State Warriors, who capitalized on an ankle injury Leonard aggravated in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals and went on to complete a 4-0 series sweep of Gregg Popovich and his 61-win team.