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Clippers turn attention to getting a shooting guard

As they work on finalizing a contract extension with Blake Griffin, the Clippers talk to the agents of Chauncey Billups and Jamal Crawford. Billups is the team's top target.

July 01, 2012|By Broderick Turner
  • The Clippers would like versatile veteran guard Chauncey Billups to return to the team next season.
The Clippers would like versatile veteran guard Chauncey Billups to return… (Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles…)

While the Clippers continued putting the final details on a contract extension for Blake Griffin, they spent Sunday on the phone talking to the representatives of their own and other free agents.

The Clippers offered Griffin a five-year, $95-million extension when the free-agency period began Saturday night. Though the team has been given every indication that Griffin will agree to the deal, the Clippers and the All-Star power forward's agent are working on finalizing things.

Griffin, who will make $7.2 million next season, can negotiate a five-year deal with an opt-out clause after the fourth season or he can get a four-year deal and get the opt-out clause after three seasons. There also could be a signing bonus.

Either way, Griffin could be with the Clippers through the 2017-18 season.

Griffin, like all free agents, can't sign the extension until the 10-day moratorium is lifted on July 11.

The Clippers got the backup scoring big man they were looking for by acquiring Lamar Odom from the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for sending Mo Williams to the Utah Jazz.

The Clippers have now turned their attention to getting a shooting guard.

Chauncey Billups, who played in 20 of the 66 games before suffering a season-ending left Achilles' tendon injury, remains the Clippers' top target. Billups' agent and the Clippers are working on a one-year deal.

Billups, a 14-year veteran who turns 36 in September, has said he plans on being back playing no later than December.

The Clippers also have talked to Jamal Crawford's agent. Crawford, who opted out of his $5.2-million contract with the Portland Trail Blazers, probably will seek the mid-level exception that starts at $5 million for the first two years of a four-year deal.

The length of the contract with Crawford is something the Clippers have to sort out.

The Clippers also have interest in bringing back free-agent guards Randy Foye and Nick Young. The Lakers also have an interest in Young.

The Clippers are also interested in shooting guards Ray Allen and Jason Terry.

The Clippers currently have a payroll of $59 million.

Their preference is not to exceed the luxury-tax threshold, which is $70.307 million for the upcoming season.

If the Clippers get close to the tax or go over it, they may be forced to use the amnesty provision on a player, and that player probably would be forward Ryan Gomes and his $4-million salary.

Under the new collective bargaining agreement, a team can waive one player and have his entire salary removed from the team's salary cap and for tax purposes.

The player will get his entire salary.

broderick.turner@latimes.com

twitter.com/BA_Turner

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