With Chris Paul having been traded so he’s closer to Killen’s BBQ — and to play with James Harden — the Los Angeles Clippers are making re-signing Blake Griffin their top priority. Expect them to call him up at 12:01 Eastern on July 1 and offer him a big contract to stay in L.A (whether it is a full max is not known, there are rumors the Clippers don’t want to do a full five-year max).
The question is, does Griffin still want to stay?
He’s going to at least talk to other teams, and that will start with the Phoenix Suns, reports Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times.
To be more specific, the Suns have the cap space to offer Griffin a four-year max deal which starts at $29.7 million and will be worth almost $128 million over four years, although there are rumors that the Suns want to offer the max over fewer years (three years deal). The Clippers’ offer would start at the same base number but have larger raises (eight percent as opposed to five percent) and would total out at five years and $172 million if they maxed it out. Griffin also could ask for options after three years with either team.
According to reports out of Arizona, the Suns also are scheduled to meet with Paul Millsap as they try to land a four and speed up their rebuilding. Millsap would be in the same boat with max or near max offers.
For Griffin, both Miami and Boston also want to talk to him, but an offer would be forthcoming only if they strike out with Gordon Hayward. Other teams will call as well.
The question in Phoenix is exactly what kind of team are they building, and with what goal? They have drafted well in recent years and have Devin Booker, Josh Jackson, Dragan Bender, and Marquese Chriss on the roster, suggesting they may want to develop those guys and take some time rebuilding. But owner Robert Sarver doesn’t like
missing out on playoff cash giving the loyal Suns fans a chance to see their team in the postseason, so if they bring in Griffin and keep Eric Bledsoe they have a shot at the playoffs. (Although the bottom spots in the West could be tough to get next year with teams such as Denver, Minnesota, and Portland among others all scrapping for spots.)
Does Griffin want to be part of a Suns team? Is it better than the Clippers even without Paul? Or will he be patient and see what other offers come his way? He is one of the big dominoes now in free agency, and if he takes his time it could bottleneck the process.