Sources: Blake Griffin intends to sign
Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin has let team officials know that he intends to sign a five-year contract extension this month, sources with knowledge of the situation told ESPNLosAngeles.com on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Clippers point guard Chris Paul declined a three-year, $60 million extension on Saturday, according to a Los Angeles Times report.
Griffin can't officially sign the extension until July 11, but negotiations between the team and his representatives are not expected to turn into a drawn-out process, sources said, as no player coming off a rookie-scale contract who is eligible and was offered the maximum contract extension has passed on it.
The Clippers couldn't officially offer Griffin an extension until after 9 p.m. PT Saturday. Team president Andy Roeser called Griffin's representatives shortly after 9 p.m. to offer the extension, sources with knowledge of the situation said.
Paul's decision was a formality, as the star guard could re-sign for $48 million more after next season.
Paul will make $17.7 million next season, the final year of his current contract, and will wait until the end of the 2012-13 season to sign a max five-year, $108 million extension, according to the Times report.
Griffin could earn as much as $95 million over the course of the five-year extension if he is voted an All-Star starter again or named to a second All-NBA team next season under the so-called "Derrick Rose Rule" in the new collective bargaining agreement.
Under another clause in the new CBA, rookies may extend their contracts by four years. However, a team may designate one player to sign a five-year extension.
Griffin was always going to be the Clippers' designated player, according to sources within the organization. However, had Eric Gordon not been traded to the New Orleans Hornets last December as part of the Paul trade, it might have created a problem.
With Griffin the only player on the Clippers' roster in line for such an extension, and his place in the league firmly established -- he was the rookie of the year in 2011, as well as a two-time All-Star -- he will receive the designation.
Griffin's extension would begin with the 2013-14 season. He would be able to opt-out of the final season of the contract, but is otherwise committed to the franchise through 2018.
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Since drafting Griffin No. 1 overall in 2009, the Clippers have tried to surround him with a mix of talented young players and veterans that could help him succeed and the franchise to win. That process accelerated last season when the Clippers acquired All-Star point guards Chris Paul and Chauncey Billups and signed small forward Caron Butler. The Clippers finished fifth in the Western Conference and advance to the second round of the playoffs, where they were swept by the San Antonio Spurs.
The Clippers have always been confident they would keep Griffin.
"I can guarantee you he will only ever be a Clipper," former general manager Neil Olshey said in December of 2010. "If (Oklahoma City Thunder general manager) Sam Presti arrived on Kevin Durant's doorstep at midnight on July 1 with an extension, understand that Blake Griffin lives two blocks away from me in Manhattan Beach so it's going to be a much shorter commute for me."
Olshey is now the Portland Trail Blazers' general manager, but the sentiment remains within the Clippers organization. And much like Durant, Griffin likely will sign that extension with little fanfare.