When the Clippers traded Chris Paul to the Rockets on Wednesday, there were two immediate thoughts. The first was that Houston had become the first team to take a significant step towards trying to close the very wide gap between themselves and the Warriors. The second was that the Clippers’ summer just got far more interesting.
With Paul gone, Los Angeles has reached the proverbial fork in the road. One path they can take is to re-sign Blake Griffin, make a push to bring J.J. Redick back as well, and do their best to tread water as a Western Conference playoff team. The other path is to sign-and-trade Griffin and Redick in an effort to bring in assets, flip one or both of Patrick Beverley and Lou Williams for picks and blow it all up.
The problem the Clippers face is that they aren’t the ones in control of which path they go down. That will likely be determined by Griffin and whether he’s willing to return to Los Angeles despite Paul’s absence. There are reasons to believe he’ll want to stay — the money and the fact that he and Paul clashed on and off the court at times –and that he’ll want to leave — the Clippers are no longer a true contender even with him around.