L.A. Clippers Trade Rumors: Chris Paul, Blake Griffin To Opt Out, Test NBA Free Agency?

L.A. Clippers trade rumors have picked up again following a Game 7 loss to the Utah Jazz. The Clippers could lose Chris Paul and Blake Griffin during the NBA offseason, as both All-Star players can opt out of their current contracts. It raises the possibility of a sign-and-trade deal if Paul and Griffin aren’t content with the current situation in Los Angeles. Could it also be time for ownership to move on from Doc Rivers and try to go in a different direction as a franchise?

On Sunday night (April 30), Staples Center hosted Game 7 of a first-round playoff series between the Los Angeles Clippers and Utah Jazz. Though the final score was 104-91 in favor of the Jazz, the game wasn’t even as close as the score might indicate. The game was at least competitive in the first half, with Utah holding a 46-39 lead going into halftime. To open the third quarter, though, the Jazz went on a 23-9 run, extending their lead to 69-48. Falling behind so quickly has led many fans to blame head coach Doc Rivers on social media.

This is where the various L.A. Clippers trade rumors have started to pop up again, as the team got embarrassed on their own home court. At times seeming listless and uninspired, most of the second half also had Clippers coach Doc Rivers simply standing on the sideline with his arms crossed. He likely couldn’t believe what he was seeing on the court, as the lower-seeded Jazz could basically do anything they wanted on either end of the court. It was not how veteran Paul Pierce wanted his final NBA game to go either.

Paul Pierce In Final NBA Game With L.A. Clippers
[Image by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images]

It’s easy to make the excuse that missing power forward Blake Griffin doomed the Clippers during the 2017 NBA Playoffs. A reality to the situation, though, is that the trio of Griffin, point guard Chris Paul, and center DeAndre Jordan have still never made it past the second-round of the postseason. The team has made the NBA Playoffs in six consecutive years, three times going out in the first round and three times getting eliminated in the conference semi-finals. The success of making the playoffs has been overshadowed by the lack of even a single conference title.

During the 2016-17 NBA season, the L.A. Clippers payroll was at just over $114 million. That is the fourth highest number in the entire league, just behind the roughly $115 million spent by the Detroit Pistons. Having one of the highest payrolls in the league hasn’t translated to postseason success, but the core of the roster is still relatively young. It’s possible that the L.A. Clippers trade rumors could take a back seat if Blake Griffin and Chris Paul decide to opt in for the 2017-18 NBA season.

There are going to be a lot of NBA rumors about the futures of Paul and Griffin, as each player could presumably get a long-term contract from another franchise during free agency. What Clippers fans have to hope for, is that they decide to instead sign contract extensions to remain in Los Angeles and try to finish what they started as a group. Could that thought process be enough to keep them all happy? Or is this the stage of his career where Paul seeks to play with a friend like Carmelo Anthony or Dwyane Wade in another city?

L.A. Clippers Frustrated With NBA Officials
[Image by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images]

One of the most intriguing L.A. Clippers trade rumors is with the New York Knicks. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, it appears that the doors have swung open for Knicks team president Phil Jackson and that he could soon look to trade All-Star small forward Carmelo Anthony. Anthony, who is friends with Chris Paul, might be the type of acquisition that would keep the point guard in Los Angeles. But can the franchise afford another hefty salary? Could the team try a new trio of Paul, Anthony, and DeAndre Jordan?

There are certainly more questions than answers about what the Clippers are going to do during the NBA offseason. The biggest fact is that the offseason has begun too quickly for the team (again) and ownership may be ready to make some changes, no matter what Chris Paul and Blake Griffin decide to do with their player options. Fans should expect a drama filled NBA offseason, especially as the 2017 NBA Draft approaches, and for social media to be filled with L.A. Clippers trade rumors and scenarios about what the future holds for Doc Rivers.

[Featured Image by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images]