National Basketball Association roundup
June 23 (The Sports Xchange) - Power forward Blake Griffin opted out of his contract with the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday and point guard Chris Paul will do the same sometime next week, according to multiple published reports.
The decisions would make both players unrestricted free agents on July 1.
The departure of the two stars could possibly leave the Clippers in a reorganization mode after the current group has been unable to reach the Western Conference finals. Neither player is expected to fully close the door on a possible return.
Speculation has Paul being a target of the San Antonio Spurs. The nine-time All-Star averaged 18.1 points and 9.2 assists last season.
Griffin could be highly pursued by his hometown Oklahoma City Thunder to give Russell Westbrook a high-impact running mate that was missing last season after Kevin Durant's departure. The five-time All-Star averaged 21.6 points and 8.1 rebounds last season but has been plagued by injuries over the past three seasons.
Finding an identity under coach Fred Hoiberg meant trading the face of the franchise for the Chicago Bulls.
All-Star swingman Jimmy Butler was relocated to the Minnesota Timberwolves after more than a year of simmering trade talks involving Butler, who reunites with former coach Tom Thibodeau.
"What we've done," Bulls vice president John Paxson said, "is set a direction. We've decided to make the change and rebuild this roster. We're going to do it with young players we believe can play a system Fred is comfortable with."
Last summer, the Bulls parted with Joakim Noah and traded former point guard Derrick Rose to the New York Knicks. Another step away from contention and into rebuilding mode was the best path, per Paxson.
Detroit Pistons shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has been suspended two games without pay after his recent guilty plea in a drunk-driving incident, the NBA announced.
Caldwell-Pope's suspension will take place for the first two games in which he is physically able to play during the 2017-18 campaign.
Earlier this month, Caldwell-Pope received 12 months probation after pleading guilty to operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated in Auburn Hills, Mich.
Caldwell-Pope was arrested in March after being pulled over for driving 45 mph in a 25 mph zone, according to police. After a field sobriety test, he was arrested and a breathalyzer test displayed he had a blood-alcohol level of 0.08. (Editing by Andrew Both)