Ever since the playoffs ended for both the San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Clippers, rumors have been swirling that Chris Paul may be interested in joining the Spurs next season
Free agent-to-be Chris Paul will be a wanted man this summer.
Especially after he experienced yet another disappointing season with the Los Angeles Clippers. Paul, who has yet to reach the Conference Finals, tried valiantly to will his team to the second round after they lost Blake Griffin to a season-ending injury during their first round matchup against the Utah Jazz. Ultimately, his squad came up short again, losing in seven games on their home court.
Paul will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason, meaning he is free to sign with any team he wants. Many believe that he is going to strongly considering joining the San Antonio Spurs. After all, the Spurs will be without the services of Tony Parker for the first few months of next season. Parker ruptured his quadriceps tendon in his left knee during Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Houston Rockets.
The 35-year old point guard is not expected to be back until January at the very earliest.
On paper, it seems like a great fit. Paul, even at 32, is still one of the best point guards in the league. He is not just a fantastic floor general who runs the offensive beautifully, he’s also a dogged defender whose quick hands wreak havoc on passing lanes. For a guy who wants so desperately to win, joining a tremendous franchise like the Spurs (who reached the Western Conference Finals again this year), seems like an excellent career move.
And the Spurs could sure use some help at the point guard position. Before Parker experienced a sudden resurgence in the playoffs, he put together his worst regular season from a statistical standpoint since his rookie year. He often looked a step slower, which is unfortunate because he has relied on his speed to create for himself throughout his career. Blame it on older age or just the NBA and international mileage on him, he just wasn’t super impressive last season.
Patty Mills, also an unrestricted free agent, is expected to get a sizeable pay-raise this offseason as well, and may not return to the Spurs. And while DeJounte Murray has a ton of potential, he’s still just 20 years old and needs some seasoning and experience before he’s ready to be a starter.
Although Paul going to the Spurs is an enticing possibility, it’s far from realistic.
Whenever it comes to big stars joining contending teams, you’ve GOT to look at the salary cap situation.
As it stands right now, not only would the Spurs (who had the fifth highest payroll last season) have to probably say goodbye to Mills and breakout star Jonathon Simmons, they’d also have to convince Pau Gasol to reject his player option of $16.1 million – which isn’t happening. They’d also have to potentially say “No” to Manu Ginobili wanting to return for another run, being that he made $14 million this past year.
And there’s NO way they would have space to resign Dewayne Dedmon, who performed well at the starting center position for much of the regular season.
Now ask yourself, do these sound like the kind of moves the Spurs would make for ONE player who maybe has a couple great years of ball left in him? No way!
The Spurs aren’t going to tear up half their roster to try to bring Paul in, as much as they would probably love to sign him.
The last piece of evidence is this – Paul is the president of the National Basketball Players Association. He FOUGHT for bumps in salaries for NBA players. So why would he leave potentially up to $53 million and an extra year of being signed up to play on the table by joining the Spurs and not re-upping with the Clippers?
So while it may be a popular “hot take” media angle right now, don’t buy CP3 joining the silver and black for even a second. Instead, expect Popovich to continue to groom Murray into eventually being Parker’s successor. And don’t be shocked if they find a way to bring back Mills.
CP3 will be staying in La-La Land, where he will become a $205 million dollar man and be making more State Farm commercials with his Clippers teammate DeAndre Jordan.