Clippers hope to retain Paul George, but would ‘respect’ if he decides to opt out

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The Clippers have made public that they “very much” hope to retain Paul George in Los Angeles, but knows that if isn’t up to them at this point, as Saturday’s deadline approaches to decide if he wishes to exercise his $48.8 million player option. Rumors are starting to spread around the NBA suggesting that he’s been in advance negotiations with the Warriors

This is why the team’s president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank has pressed upon the idea that they are doing everything possible to negotiate a deal the fits all parts with the All-Star and his agent Aaron Mintz.

The Los Angeles franchise have the option of signing Paul to an extension that would go up to four years and $221 million, but both parts are yet to strike an agreement after months of ongoing conversations.

If the forward doesn’t decide on an extension before tomorrow’s limit, he would become a free agent or even opt into his deal. However, even if he decided to opt into his final year of his contract, he could use explore working a trade out to another team.

Even so, the Clippers remain hopeful that the player will want to stay home and nearby his family, considering he grew up close in Palmdale. The organization wishes to keep their core intact, as they already signed Kawhi Leonard to a three-year, $150 million extension at the start of the year.

“We love Paul,” Frank said during Thursday’s second round of the 2024 NBA Draft. “We very much want to retain Paul, but we also very much understand and respect the fact this is a business.

“We hope Paul’s decision is to be here. He’s been awesome. He’s been an All-Star. He’s one of the best two-way players in the league. He’s a terrific person. He’s got great family, so we hope he’s here but also respect the fact that if he chooses to opt out, that’s his choice. He’s earned it and we’ll see how things play out.”

The Clippers president also addressed James Harden’s situation, as he assures that both sides are finding common ground in negotiations

Lawrence Frank currently has a handful of work to do if he wants to keep his superstar-packed roster intact, as James Harden could also leave the team if both sides don’t agree on terms for next season. However, the Clippers president assures that he’s held productive talks with the point guard and his agents, Mike Silverman and Troy Payne.

“We think James has been terrific for us,” Frank expressed. “We hope he’s had a great experience while he has been here and we hope he decides to continue to be here. … We very much want James to remain a Clipper and hope he decides to do the same.”

However, things aren’t as easy as they used to, especially considering how the new collective bargaining agreement have imposed some restrictions. For tax-paying teams like the Los Angeles club, Frank recognized that it hasn’t been easy to find to negotiate with high-salary athletes. “This is a business and the reality of the new CBA impacts teams like us.

“When your better players are in their 30s and you’re trying to build a sustainable roster, it impacts it. Like if there was no CBA, with [owner] Steve Ballmer, it would be carte blanche. With the new CBA, it’s not even about the money as it is how are you going to build a sustainable roster, maintain your tools to have transactional flexibility? And with that comes really, really hard decisions,” he explained.