After an early postseason exit, the Los Angeles Clippers face an offseason full of headaches, the biggest of which is re-signing Chris Paul. The superstar point guard will become an unrestricted free agent this summer, and the Clippers will attempt to convince one of the best playmakers in the league that it gets better. But does it get better, and, more importantly, will the Clippers convince him?
Going into the season, the Clippers looked stacked. Blake Griffin has established himself as a perennial All-Star, albeit because of the entertainment value he brings to the table. The Clippers also had some legitimate weapons on the bench in Jamal Crawford and Eric Bledsoe. Add to that the veteran leadership that Chauncey Billups, Grant Hill and Caron Butler bring to the table, and on the surface the team looked very solid.
However, it’s no secret that this team is getting old and just doesn’t glue that well. Butler has looked past it all season long while Billups and Hill have suffered through injuries. DeAndre Jordan, while supremely athletic, can’t knock down free throws and can be an exploitable liability at times.
Perhaps the worst point of it all is the coaching of Vinny Del Negro. The jokes that Paul is the one actually coaching this team have circulated for a good while now, and it is clear that Del Negro is not capable of taking a team to a championship.
So, can the Clippers still convince Paul to stay? They certainly can. First and foremost, they can offer him significantly more money than anyone else possibly could, and that is always a great incentive. Another thing that the Clippers have to do is listen to what Paul wants and cater to his needs. That would probably involve a new coach and reshaping of the roster.
It’s hard to predict whether Paul will decide to remain a Clipper, but this year’s free agency looks to be a lot of fun.
Vytis is a Miami Heat and NBA columnist. You can follow him on Twitter here: @VytisLasaitis