Clippers Sign Ty Lue to New Deal, Could Paul George Be Next?

After what seemed like a long, dragged-out process, the Los Angeles Clippers have extended their head coach, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

On Wednesday, owner Steve Ballmer, President of Basketball Operation Lawrence Frank, and head coach Ty Lue were able to strike a deal on a long-term contract that will make him one of the highest paid in the NBA. Shortly after Wojnarowski’s announcement, The Athletic’s Shams Charnia shared that Lue will make nearly $70 million over five years.

Ty Lue Extended, What’s Next For Clippers?

Now that their head coach is locked in, the Clippers will likely turn their focus (or ramp up their focus) on bringing back Paul George.

George is a free agent this offseason and will likely draw huge interest if he hits the market. He can command a four-year deal worth about $212 million in the open market. The Clippers can offer the 34-year-old star forward four years and $221 million, though reports suggest they don’t want to go past the three years and $152.4 million they gave Kawhi Leonard last offseason.

The Clippers very much want to stay relevant and keep George around with their new arena opening next season. Losing one of their stars because they refused to add a fourth year onto his deal might not be the best look for a team that’s already playing second fiddle in the city they’re in.

If George does hit the open market, which it seems like he will, the 76ers appear to be the lead candidate to sign him. George is from Los Angeles, so the Clippers are likely hoping that continuity with a group he likes, as well as the ability to stay home, will keep him a Clipper on that three-year deal. However, at PG’s age, this is going to be his last big payday, so moving across the country to Philly for an extra ~$60 million doesn’t sound too hard to stomach.

If the Clippers don’t go to that fourth year and George departs, reports have linked upcoming Bulls free agent – and another LA native – DeMar DeRozan as a potential backup plan. It still seems more likely than not that DeRozan remains a Bull. DeRozan has expressed his desire to stay in Chicago, even though the two parties don’t feel like a fit for each other right now.

Ty Lue is back in LA, could Paul George or DeMar DeRozan be next on their agenda?
© Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

I would expect if DeRozan hits free agency that he would present the Bulls to match any offer he might want to take. However, given where the Bulls are a sign-and-trade would make so much more sense for them and their roster’s need for change. Not that DeMar hasn’t been very good in Chicago, but his salary cap hit would make it nearly impossible to make a significant change. Not to mention, the current core centered around DeRozan hasn’t produced anything more than one playoff win in the last three seasons.

So having said all of that, the Paul George decision could be a massive domino in deciding what happens with DeMar. If George does leave, DeRozan feels like a perfect fallback option to keep the Clippers relevant in the West and create some buzz about a hometown player. And, for the Bulls, moving DeRozan via a sign-and-trade so they can gain assets is probably the best-case scenario for the team’s long-term outlook.

NBA Free Agency is set to begin on June 30th when teams can begin negotiation with free agents. Teams can actually start signing players on July 6th.

You can read more about the Clippers rumored interest in DeMar DeRozan below …

written by

Matt is from the Chicagoland area and has been working in Chicago sports since 2015 with stops at WGN Radio, the Chicago Blackhawks, Stadium, and NBC Sports Chicago prior to landing at Betsperts. Matt covers just about everything for Betsperts and Bleacher Nation but focuses on the NHL and college football.

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