Report: Ballmer committed to keeping Griffin, Paul long term at any cost

The 2017 offseason could be the most important stretch in the history of the Los Angeles Clippers, with both Blake Griffin and Chris Paul eligible for free agency.

Griffin has a player option worth over $21 million for the 2017-18 season, while Paul's is slightly larger at $24.2 million. With the salary cap rising, it's expected both All-Stars will opt out of their contracts and pursue more money.

Clippers owner Steve Ballmer won't go down without a fight, though, as he's fully committed to re-signing his dynamic duo no matter what it costs, according to ESPN's Ramona Shelburne.

Related: Is this a do-or-die season for the Clippers' core?

Head coach Doc Rivers has gone on record on numerous occasions stating the Clippers have zero intention of moving Griffin, who missed 47 regular-season and two postseason games as a result of hand and quad injuries, as well as a suspension for punching the team's equipment manager.

Los Angeles has qualified for the playoffs for the last five seasons, but has yet to advance to the Western Conference finals, including last season's 4-2 opening-round loss to the Portland Trail Blazers, with Griffin and Paul sitting the final two games due to injury.

Whether the team even considers trading one or both players prior to February's deadline will likely heavily depend on how they're faring in the standings, and if they believe they have a legitimate shot at finally getting over the proverbial hump to challenge for a championship. The "Lob City" core (which includes DeAndre Jordan) are heading into their sixth season together without any rings to their names.

Griffin averaged 21.4 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 4.9 assists on 49.9 percent shooting during the 2015-16 campaign, while Paul finished fourth in the NBA in assists (10), third in steals (2.05), and put up 19.5 points.

Report: Ballmer committed to keeping Griffin, Paul long term at any cost
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