When you signal an intent to pay whatever it takes, you’re probably going to have to pay a lot.
Playing for free-spending Clippers owner Steve Ballmer, Blake Griffin and Chris Paul know their only limit in free agency next summer is the NBA’s max contract. So, they’ll take that to the fullest.
Zach Lowe of ESPN:
The team expects Paul to demand the full five-year max (or whatever the longest possible deal ends up being in the revised collective bargaining agreement) to stick around, per several league sources.
Give it to him. Give it to him and don’t think twice.
The Clippers have assembled a legitimate title contender, and that’s too difficult to do just to break it up now. If they re-sign Griffin, they’d have now recourse to replacing Paul if he leaves.*
*If they re-sign both stars, they’d have even fewer mechanisms to replace free agent J.J. Redick if he leaves. Redick could wind up with a max contract. No joke.
A five-year max contract – projected to be worth about $195 million (or maybe more in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement) – would take Paul into age 37. As he declines, that deal could become a liability.
But the Clippers’ championship window is open. Now is the time to spend. Let the backend of Paul’s contract be tomorrow’s problem.
If the Clippers re-sign Paul, Griffin and J.J. Redick – at any cost – the offseason will be a success. There were already positive signs about Griffin staying. Paul’s interest in a deal only the Clippers can offer him indicates his desire to re-sign, though that doesn’t preclude him from leaving. It’s a long season ahead, and the Clippers can’t secure Paul until July. But at that point, they could go a long way by agreeing to his contract demands.
Gordon Hayward is going to have surgery on his ankle and leg, which should not be a surprise to anyone who saw the gruesome injury to his leg just 5:15 into his Celtics career. There is no timetable for his return yet, maybe he makes it back for the playoffs, but the Celtics are not going to rush him and he may well miss the entire season.
What next for Boston?
In this PBT Extra I cover the three things to watch for from Boston, which in the short term could mean the Kyrie Irving show. Longer term, not much changes.
Gordon Hayward broke his leg early in his Celtics debut – a devastating injury. He’s preparing for surgery tonight, per Jeff Goodman of ESPN:
First – after a perfect introduction from Marcus Smart – Hayward addressed the Boston crowd from his hospital bed before tonight’s game against the Bucks.
What’s up everybody? Just wanted to say thank you to everyone who has sent me your thoughts and prayers. I’m going to be alright. It’s hurting me that I can’t be there for the home opener. I want nothing more just to be with my teammates and walk out onto that floor tonight. But I’ll be supporting you guys from here and wishing you the best of luck. Kill it tonight. Thanks, guys.
At least this nice moment (and an outpouring of support) came out of such a gruesome injury.
And if Smart keeps setting up his teammates so well, maybe the Celtics’ offense will keep humming.
Joel Embiid‘s minute limit of below 20 bummed out everyone (especially Embiid).
But good news could be on the way.
Keith Pompey of The Inquirer:
The 76ers look like a borderline playoff team, Embiid’s health the biggest variable. There’s a direct correlation between his ability to stay on the court and Philadelphia’s postseason chances.
Plus, he’s just so darn fun to watch. The more he plays, the bigger victory it is for every viewer not rooting for the 76ers’ opponent that night.
John Henson was on the trade block. Greg Monroe seems permanently affixed there.
Another player the Bucks apparently want to deal? Rashad Vaughn, who was the No. 17 pick in 2015.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
Milwaukee has been working to trade several players to clear salary-cap space, including guard Rashad Vaughn and center John Henson, league sources said. The Bucks have been willing to attach a second-round pick in offers for Vaughn, league sources said.
It’s unclear whether the Bucks are still as motivated to move Vaughn. They slid under the luxury-tax line by stretching Spencer Hawes. One-time target Richard Jefferson already signed with the Nuggets. A roster vacancy and cap savings might not matter as much anymore to Milwaukee.
But Vaughn has struggled in two NBA seasons. The Bucks might be better off trying to develop someone else, even a D-League player, over the 21-year-old Vaugh.
Vaughn is due $1,889,040 this season. He faces a $2,901,565 team option for next season, which his team must decide on by Oct. 31. It seems unlikely that will be exercised.
This is what happens when you draft players for the wrong reason.