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Beyond Chris Paul: Clippers' roster decisions for 2013-14 season

The team has not said whether it will keep Coach Vinny Del Negro for next season. The Clippers have six free agents and nine players on contract.

May 04, 2013|By Broderick Turner
  • Forward Matt Barnes (left) and point guard Chris Paul (3) are free agents while Coach Vinny Del Negro's future is uncertain with the Clippers.
Forward Matt Barnes (left) and point guard Chris Paul (3) are free agents… (Mark J. Terrill / Associated…)

Though the primary focus for the Clippers will be on re-signing Chris Paul and on whether the team keeps or releases Coach Vinny Del Negro, L.A. has other roster decisions to make as well.

The players came in Saturday for their exit interviews with the front office a day after the Clippers were eliminated by the Memphis Grizzlies in a Western Conference first-round series.

It was a Clippers team still coming to grips with having won the franchise's first-ever Pacific Division and finished with a team-best 56-26 record.

"This right here was unacceptable," Paul said. "We lost in the first round to a good Memphis team. But it was a team we were capable of beating. It's over."

The Clippers have nine players signed to contracts for a total of $44.7 million in salaries. They have six free agents, the biggest of them being Paul.

The team most assuredly will offer Paul, who will become a free agent July 1, the maximum deal of $107.3 million over five years .

He has the option of joining another team for a contract of lesser value: $79.7 million over four years. That would give the All-Star guard $27.6 million less than what he would make with the Clippers.

"I don't know how this whole thing is going to go or play out," Paul said. "I'm going to pray about it with my parents. Everybody knows that my family is always around. My mom and my dad are at my house right now. I'll keep my tight group that I always have with me. It'll all work out."

If Paul does re-sign with the Clippers, his starting salary for next season would be $18.7 million, an increase over the $17.7 million he earned this season.

"Obviously Chris is a huge piece to our team and us moving forward," Blake Griffin said. "So, he's going to know that we want him back and that we'd love for him to re-sign and keep moving forward with this franchise. But ultimately it's his decision."

Matt Barnes also is a free agent who had a career season with the Clippers. Barnes averaged a career-best 10.3 points per game, and he scored a playoff career-high 30 points in Game 6 against the Grizzlies on Friday night.

He said he wants to return to the Clippers. "This is a business, and I think I know that better than anybody in the league," said Barnes, who has been on nine teams.

Lamar Odom had another disappointing season after being acquired last summer from the Dallas Mavericks.

Odom averaged career-lows in points (4.6) and three-point shooting (20.0%), and his field-goal shooting percentage (39.9%) was the second-lowest of his career.

Odom made $8.2 million in the last year of his deal, but he'll probably have to take a substantial pay cut to remain with the Clippers or play with another team.

Chauncey Billups was beset by injuries all season that limited him to 22 regular-season games and the six playoff games. Billups, 36, also a free agent, said he doesn't plan on retiring after the season is over.

"I want to play a couple more years," Billups said. "The messed-up thing is my body has finally turned a corner and I feel good, but the season is over. I would love to be here with the Clippers."

Ryan Hollins and Ronny Turiaf, the Clippers' back-up big men, both will be free agents when the season is over. Both provided the Clippers with energy and effort.

Griffin's five-year contract extension starts next season. His deal is worth $95 million over the life of the contract, and his salary for next season will be $13.6 million.

Eric Bledsoe, back-up point guard, will earn $2.6 million next season. Bledsoe's name has come up in trade talks, mostly because it has been assumed it's time for him to become a starter in the NBA.

DeAndre Jordan, who was inconsistent most of the season, has two years for a total of $22.4 million left on his deal.

Caron Butler has one year left on his contract for $8 million, Willie Green has two more years for a total of $2.84 million and Jamal Crawford has three more years for a total of $16.3 million.

Grant Hill, 40, who remains undecided about retiring, has one year left at $2.04 million.

"If it is the last game, I'm certainly proud of what I've been able to do throughout the course of my career," Hill said. "If it's not, then I'll get back in the gym and start working soon."

broderick.turner@latimes.com

twitter.com/BA_Turner

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