Report: Clippers expect Chris Paul to demand longest-possible max contract in free agency

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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.