Instead, the Clippers locked their star player up to a huge five-year, $173 million deal.
Griffin met for two hours with several members of the Clippers organization, including team owner Steve Ballmer, president and coach Doc Rivers, special consultant Jerry Rest and a handful of players. The meeting was described as "a trip down memory lane."
When the meeting was over, Griffin told the group: "I want my legacy to be a Clipper."
Griffin had declined his player option for next season, but it was just an opportunity to restructure his deal and make more money. The 6-foot-10 forward had scheduled visits with the Phoenix Suns and Denver Nuggets — had he signed with either of those teams, the most he could have made was about $130 million over four years.
Re-signing Griffin doesn't come without a few red flags. He's missed multiple games in the playoffs each of the past two years and hasn't played without Paul for several seasons. Will he still have success with a downgrade at point guard?
There are plenty of other questionable pieces on the Clippers roster, too. And despite having a solid trio of Paul, Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan, the team never made it past the second round of the playoffs.
Still, keeping Griffin at least gives the Clippers a foundation to build around. Whether it pays off remains to be seen, but especially in L.A., it's better to try to stay relevant than to fade back into obscurity.