When Chris Paul was traded to the Clippers, it was with the understanding that he would give them a couple years — this season, and he would opt-in for next season. Opt in for a cool $17.8 million.
But there was a concern he would opt-out after this season, either to go play with someone else or because Clippers owner Donald Sterling screwed it up.
Clippers fans can exhale. On the Jim Rome radio show this week, Paul confirmed that “the decision was made” (via Eye on Basketball).
Which was true from the start — that option was voided when he was traded. He will stay with the Clippers.
He likely will stay beyond that. This is a team that is the most legitimate threat to the Oklahoma City Thunder over the next five years. With Paul and Blake Griffin they have the transcendent players, around them they have quality role players like DeAndre Jordan, Mo Williams, Kenyon Martin and more.
They could use another piece or two, but Paul is not going to find a better landing space than the Clippers — big market (meaning big marketing opportunities off the court), winning team with potential, and fans who idolize him. Not only will he opt in, I’d be shocked if he didn’t sign an extension (or opt-out then re-sign with the Clippers, for financial reasons) after next season.
The report that Kevin Durant told Russell Westbrook he’d re-sign with the Thunder before choosing the Warriors?
Royce Young of ESPN:
I misspoke in saying that Durant specifically told Westbrook he was coming back.
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Center Anderson Varejao will miss the Olympics for host Brazil because of a herniated disc in his lower back.
The Golden State Warriors announced the injury Wednesday and say that Varejao should be ready for the start of training camp but will not be healthy enough to play in the Olympics. Varejao recently experienced back pain while training with the Brazilian National Team and returned to California to be examined by Dr. Robert Watkins earlier this week.
Varejao averaged 2.6 points and 2.3 rebounds in 22 games after signing with the Warriors on Feb. 22. He re-signed with the team earlier this month.
PHOENIX (AP) — Phoenix Suns coach Earl Watson completed his staff Wednesday, naming Jay Triano associate head coach and Tyrone Corbin and Nate Bjorkgren assistant coaches.
Triano spent the last four seasons as assistant coach with the Portland Trail Blazers, including Watson’s final season as a player in 2013-14. The first Canadian-born head coach in NBA history when he directed Toronto, he also is the coach of Canada’s national team.
Corbin was Sacramento’s interim head coach for 28 games in 2014-15. He played the Suns in 1987-89.
Bjorkgren remains with the Suns after spending last season as assistant coach/player development coordinator. He also was head coach of the Suns’ NBA Summer League team the past two years.
The Suns also named Marlon Garnett assistant coach/player development coordinator, and Scott Duncan and Jason Fraser player development coaches.
The Los Angeles Clippers still have Paul Pierce under contract. Not many minutes for him, but he has a roster spot.
Pierce probably wants come back but is thinking it all over, according to Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times.
Pierce has been debating this with himself for a while now.
Pierce saw a dramatic drop off in production and how much he was used last season by Rivers. Pierce averaged a career-low 6.1 points per game on an also career low 48.9 true shooting percentage. His PER of 8.2 was also a career low. You get the idea. By the end of the season Pierce was mostly an afterthought for Doc Rivers (although he did start one game after Blake Griffin was out and the Clippers’ playoff dreams were toast).
Pierce would be more mentor than a key player on the court, but he would be on probably the third best team in the West, a team that capable of making a deep playoff run. Does he want to do that for one more season? You know Doc would welcome him.