Report: Celtics, Thunder expected to pursue Blake Griffin in FA

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports / Reuters

The Los Angeles Clippers have enjoyed a fairly unfettered reign over Tinseltown in recent years, but that could come to an abrupt end this summer.

Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Clippers are anxious about the possibility of retaining stars Blake Griffin and Chris Paul - both will likely opt out of their contracts and become unrestricted free agents on July 1.

With Griffin in particular, several executives told Turner that the Boston Celtics and Oklahoma City Thunder are expected to make bids for the best home-grown player in Clippers history.

Free agency was part of the impetus for bringing in Jerry West, who's currently finalizing a deal with the Clippers. A two-time Executive of the Year, West worked with the Golden State Warriors in a consultant role in recent years, and was a driving force behind the team attracting Kevin Durant last offseason. The Clippers hope West can help them retain Paul and Griffin this summer.

While the Clippers will have the advantage of being able to offer the most money to Griffin - as much as $175 million over five years - they may be hesitant to tie up so much future cap space in a player that's dealt with a litany of health concerns over the years. They will need to strike a delicate balance of hedging their investment without alienating their star player in the process.

The Celtics - who have salary cup space to take on a max player, an All-NBA guard in Isaiah Thomas, and the top pick in this month's NBA draft - would likely feel that Griffin could push them closer to unseating Cleveland atop the Eastern Conference. They have also been linked to Utah Jazz wing Gordon Hayward.

Oklahoma City isn't quite as close to the pole position in its conference, but boasts the presumptive 2016-17 MVP in Russell Westbrook, and can offer Griffin something that no other team can: sentimental attachment. He was born in Oklahoma City and went to school at Oklahoma.

Report: Celtics, Thunder expected to pursue Blake Griffin in FA
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