- Ramona Shelburne, ESPN Senior Writer
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Los Angeles Clippers point guard Mo Williams has said he does not plan to opt out of the final year of his contract, which will pay him $8.5 million next season. However the situation isn't as simple as that.
Williams' agent Mark Bartelstein told ESPNLosAngeles.com Wednesday night that he and the Clippers are trying to "find a solution" to the situation. Namely, Williams is a former All-Star point guard who spent most of last season playing out of position at shooting guard and coming off the bench following the trade for Chris Paul and the acquisition of Chauncey Billups.
"Mo's a professional and I think he showed that last season," Bartelstein said. "He had a great year under difficult circumstances. That said, he's a starting point guard. He's an All-Star starting point guard. So we'll look at everything and see what makes sense."
Williams has until June 30 to make a decision on the final year of his contract. Bartelstein said both he and the Clippers are "kind of exploring everything" in the hopes of finding a solution that works for both sides before June 30.
The Clippers have approximately $59 million committed to players next season if Williams does not opt out of his $8.5 million contract for next season. If, as expected, the salary cap remains flat from this season's $58.4 million, that would put the team slightly above the salary cap.
The Clippers have formulated two scenarios for their offseason. One for if Williams opts out and they are below the salary cap, and one for if Williams does not opt out and they are slightly above the salary cap.
Randy Foye, Kenyon Martin, Reggie Evans, Billups, Bobby Simmons and Nick Young are all unrestricted free agents. They do not have a first-round pick, either. So any moves will have to be made via free agency or trade.
Just who is making those decisions after general manager Neil Olshey left to become Portland's GM earlier this month is still somewhat of an ad hoc affair with team president Andy Roeser handling much of the logistical and financial issues and head coach Vinny Del Negro and director of player personnel Gary Sacks handling draft preparation and scouting.
Roeser is heading up the search for a new general manager. Former Nuggets GM Kiki Vandeweghe, has emerged as a leading candidate, according to sources.
The Clippers are also considering whether to promote Sacks, 44, in an effort to keep continuity within the front office. Sacks is regarded as a bright up-and-comer in league circles. He was Olshey's top lieutenant on scouting and has solid relationships with many of the Clippers players and agents.
Two sources close to the process said it was unlikely the team would have a new GM in place before next Thursday's draft, but that it was more likely the situation would be resolved near the beginning of free agency.
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