For quite some time, the Los Angeles Clippers have been faced with the reality of both Blake Griffin and Chris Paul testing the free agent market during the summer of 2017. Now, the first domino toward that situation has fallen, as Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical reports Blake Griffin will opt out of the final season of his contract.
Griffin had approximately $21.4 million remaining on his contract and, given what he can command on the open market, it was a virtual certainty that he would elect to become an unrestricted free agent. Still, Paul faces a similar decision this week and it would be stunning if he did not follow in Griffin’s footsteps.
There have been whispers that the Boston Celtics could pursue Griffin in free agency and, earlier in the week, word broke that the Houston Rockets could also be attempting to clear space for a run at the All-Star power forward. Griffin, who is now 28 years old, has encountered several injury concerns over the past few seasons but, in the same breath, he remains a top-tier player when healthy and he is young enough to potentially survive the perils of a four-year maximum contract from another suitor.
In the end, the Clippers can offer Griffin (and Paul) more money than any other team and that provides Los Angeles with the inside track to keep the ship moving. That does not, however, mean that Griffin won’t explore his options and if the Clippers fail to pony up the cash or another suitor blows him away with a perfect pitch, a move elsewhere would not be stunning.