NBA free agency opens on July 1, and here are a handful of stars who could be on the move.
USA TODAY Sports
Lob City already lost its mayor, with point guard Chris Paul deciding on Wednesday to orchestrate a trade from the Los Angeles Clippers to the Houston Rockets.
So is fellow forefather Blake Griffin headed out of town next?
Not if Lawrence Frank and the rest of the Clippers power brokers can do anything about it.
While Griffin is on the short list of the league’s most coveted free agents, with Phoenix, Miami, and Boston among the known suitors and a plan in place to start meeting teams in Los Angeles on Saturday, the Clippers executive vice president of basketball operations made it clear that keeping him is their top priority.
“We wanted them both back,” Frank told USA TODAY Sports of Paul and Griffin in a visit on the NBA A to Z podcast on Thursday. “Chris decided to leave, so that doesn’t change (how they view Griffin). For Blake, Blake’s in a very, very unique situation in that Blake was the first pick of the Clippers (in 2009).
“The perception of the Clippers changed once Blake Griffin started as a Clipper, right? And we’ve had great success. Chris obviously, you know, was a great – Chris’ winning ways, we’re grateful for (them). But Blake is in a position (where) we look at him as Clipper royalty, and it hasn’t changed. So we are going to do everything we can to keep Blake a Clipper. But ultimately, just like Chris and just like all the other free agents, it’s his decision. And we respect whatever decision he chooses to make.”
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The key question, of course, is whether the Clippers will truly do “everything” they can to keep him around. If so, there will be a five-year contract offer worth a combined $170 million coming his way very soon.
Griffin’s health history will always be a consideration. He missed 21 games last season because of arthroscopic surgery on his right knee and 47 in the season prior due in large part to a torn quadriceps tendon and the broken hand he suffered in a fight with the team’s then-assistant equipment manager.
Still, stars like Griffin are few and far between. The five-time All-Star is still in his prime (28 years old) and still highly productive (21.6 points, 8.1 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game last…