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Clippers Free Agents - Keeping Gordon and Jordan Top Priority

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According to a report from Ramona Shelburne, Los Angeles Clippers General Manager Neil Olshey's first two phone calls once the NBA allowed them, were to the agents of Eric Gordon and DeAndre Jordan.

The Clippers keep getting mentioned in rumors surrounding Chris Paul and Dwight Howard, and they have a gaping hole at small forward which they are trying to fill perhaps with Tayshaun Prince or Caron Butler, but first things first. Gordon (entering his fourth season in the NBA and eligible now for a contract extension) and Jordan (also entering his fourth season and a restricted free agent) are considered by the organization key elements of the team's young core, and the Clippers would indeed be wise to make sure and take care of their internal business before turning to external affairs.

Olshey told Shelburne:

The first phone calls from our organization today were in regard to our own players... We're committed to the core group we have. We've been building slowly and we're in a great position to capitalize on that now with our cap flexibility. But we know that our existing players are a priority.

The reality of course is that everything will be happening at once over the next few weeks, but hopefully the Clippers can resolve the situations with Gordon and Jordan sooner rather than later.

According to the report, Jordan's preference would be to remain with the Clippers. He's gotten a great opportunity to play in LA after sliding into the second round of the draft out of college, and he seems genuinely happy in LA (then again, he's a pretty jovial dude and he might seem that happy most anywhere). He's very close to Blake Griffin, the Clippers' franchise player, which is another good reason to keep him around. But DJ owes it to himself to test the free agency waters to see what his value is. With several other high profile centers on the free agency market, there may be some dominoes that have to fall before Jordan signs an offer sheet with another team, or re-signs with the Clippers. Bear in mind that because he is a restricted free agent, the Clippers will have three days (under the new CBA) to match any offer sheet Jordan signs. So the Clippers have the right of refusal in this case - it will all come down to how much they are willing to spend on Jordan.

Gordon is eligible for a four year extension under the new CBA - technically, he's eligible for a five year extension, but under the new CBA teams are only allowed to have one such extension in affect at a time, and the Clippers will want to save theirs for Griffin next year. Which means Gordon can choose between a four year extension now, or the option of five year contract when he becomes a restricted free agent next summer.