"I'm not a free agent until July," Jordan said flatly Sunday evening.
"Can you tamper with your own guy?" Rivers asked after the Clippers' season ended with a 113-100 loss to the
Keeping intact the core of
Jordan indicated in March that he intended to sign a maximum-length contract instead of a one-year deal that would allow him to capitalize on the massive increase in the salary cap that is expected to take place in the summer of 2016, though he is certainly entitled to change his mind.
If Jordan agreed to a maximum five-year contract with the Clippers for an estimated $108.3 million, it would severely restrict the team's ability to upgrade its bench, barring trades. That scenario would leave the Clippers with only the so-called mini-mid-level exception of $3.37 million per year for up to three years plus a slew of veteran's minimum contracts.
"We have to get this team more support," Rivers acknowledged after a season in which a spotty bench was a recurring issue. "With the contracts we're hamstrung with, it's going to be minimum deals for the most part. There are no big deals out there that we're going to make, most likely."
That would change should Jordan sign elsewhere, giving the Clippers the full mid-level of exception of $5.4 million per year for up to four years. Jordan would not divulge what factors he would weigh in making his decision.
"I've been here for seven years, so this is what I'm used to," said Jordan, who has led the
The Clippers could try to trade reserve forward-center
The Clippers have already committed $58.1 million in salary for next season. Paul ($21.4 million), Griffin ($18.9 million),
Lester Hudson and
In addition to Jordan, the Clippers will have to make decisions about five other unrestricted free agents:
The Clippers do not have a draft pick this season because their first-round selection is going to Boston as part of Doc Rivers' agreement to leave the
Rivers indicated a strong preference for keeping at least his star players around.
"Teams that have stuck it out, on the long run if you look at sports history, have done better than teams that have blown it up," Rivers said. "We're really close, clearly. It might be a defensive guy; it might be one more guy. I don't know yet."