The Los Angeles Clippers want Chris Paul back. I think despite any comments made by a frustrated player after a big loss, Chris Paul would like to be back as well. Options are limited this summer unless several teams get creative and get help from other teams under the cap that don’t have a chance to sign him. He is the #1 Free Agent on the market this year and after he decides where he’ll be playing next year is when the other dominoes start to fall. The Utah Jazz happen to be in a position to possibly help the Clippers make this signing a reality.
Chris Paul is eligible to sign a 5 yr, $107.5 million contract with the Clippers this summer. He can only sign a 4 year deal with other teams. That total is averaged out to $21.5 million over that 5 year span. That is a lot of money to turn away from, but Chris Paul is also a competitor and he wants to win. If another team (Hawks?) can put together a convincing enough plan on the table (you and Dwight will rule the world!) it may be enough to sway him. His new average salary would be just under $4 million more than he made this past season. By signing him to that deal, it will put the Clippers well into the luxury tax. Let’s not forget that Donald Sterling has been notoriously cheap in his time as the Clippers owner. Don’t let this recent success fool you because he has blown up playoff contending teams before (Elton Brand, Lamar Odom, Corey Maggette). Maybe he has turned over a new leaf, and is willing to pay that tax for a championship contending team. If not he will need to get rid of some players and this is where the Utah Jazz could be of some help.
Eric Bledsoe’s name has been linked to the Utah Jazz ever since the trade deadline. Whether this was a creation of Bledsoe’s agent trying to get his client to a starting role or there is actual mutual interest we will never know unless a move is actually made. I’m of the belief that where there’s smoke there’s fire because the fact of the matter is the Jazz need a starting point guard to add to their young core. Another player that the Jazz could have some interest in is DeAndre Jordan. He is a young, athletic, defensive minded player that can give Derrick Favors some much needed help down low. Eric Bledsoe is scheduled to make $6.35 million over the next 2 seasons and DeAndre Jordan is set to make $22.4 million. In my trade scenario the Jazz would take on the $13.6 million in contracts due to these players next year while sending the 21st pick in this years draft and a future 2nd round pick the Clippers way. The Clippers most likely would not resign Matt Barnes as well as he will demand mid-level on the open market this year. This would free up the cap room necessary to resign Paul, sign their 2 late 1st round draft picks (via Utah and their own) and stay below the luxury tax.
The Clippers would have to resign Lamar Odom, Ronny Turiaf, Ryan Hollins, and Chauncey Billups on the cheap but they can get that done. With the 2 draft picks this would keep them at around 14 players. It would be a win-win situation for both teams as the Clippers would remain in contention now and in the near future, and the Jazz would add more young, talented pieces to their already talented core. Of course with anything that happens to the Clippers, Donald Sterling is at the core and he could be ready to press the restart button once again. Let’s hope for the sake of these two teams he has developed a taste for winning and is ready to keep the exciting duo of Chris Paul and Blake Griffin together.