The Clippers have gone through this summer without a general manager since Neil Olshey took the pay raise in Portland — and done pretty well for themselves.
They made the obvious move and gave Blake Griffin a max extension. They landed Jamal Crawford and Grant Hill to give them a deeper bench and some veteran presence. They took a smart gamble on Lamar Odom. They brought back Chauncey Billups, although that was in part to make Chris Paul happy. Because the biggest job for the Clippers is to keep Paul happy and bring get him to re-sign with them next summer.
Blake Griffin was impressed. It was a job done by committee with Gary Sacks, the Clippers’ director of player personnel, coach Vinny Del Negro and team president Andy Roeser as the money man. Griffin told the AP he wants to see Sacks get the full time GM job.
“If he doesn’t get the GM job I’ll be shocked and definitely a little disappointed because he deserves it and I think everybody else thinks he deserves it,” Griffin said. “I hope that it’s going to be him.”
It’s nice that is what Griffin wants. What really matters is what Paul wants — he is the key to the Clippers and the guy they have to keep. This season the Clippers need to convince him that they have the front office savvy — and the willingness to spend — to compete with the Lakers and Thunder in the coming years. Paul is very competitive and he wants a ring. If he doesn’t think the Clippers can get him there, he will go next season where he thinks a team can (hello Dallas).
You may think that is an inverted power structure, with the player having the power over the team, but there are not 10 franchise guys in the league like Chris Paul and when you get one you do whatever it takes to keep him.