July 1 is also the day the Clippers could begin negotiations on an extension with Gordon, one of their leading scorers from last year's team. If this was a normal year, all indications are that the team would do so the second the clock struck 9:01 p.m. in Los Angeles on June 30.
While there was previously some uncertainty over whether Gordon would sign a long-term extension with the team after it lost 116 games his first two seasons, a source close to the situation said that much of that uncertainty has been allayed after the Clippers traded guard Baron Davis to the Cleveland Cavaliers in February.
Gordon made little secret of his feelings about Davis, the oft-injured point guard whose work ethic and inconsistent play hamstrung the franchise for two seasons before he enjoyed a resurgence in the 2010-11 season.
In a postgame interview in December of 2009, Gordon famously said of Davis, "Last year, he never was focused. I'm just going to say it."
This past season, the Clippers made a noticeable effort to put the ball into Gordon's hands more often, letting the offense flow through him and Griffin. He averaged a career-high 22.3 points in 56 games before a wrist injury derailed the final few months of his season.
Gordon is under contract for $3.8 million in 2011-12. Under the terms of the current CBA, the team would be able extend him a qualifying offer of $5.1 million before June 30, 2012 and make him a restricted free agent. If he hasn't signed an extension before that time, Gordon could accept the qualifying offer and become an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2013.
Griffin can become a restricted free agent after the 2013 season and unrestricted free agent after the 2014 season.
After sitting out the entire 2009-10 season with a knee injury, he returned to post an All-Star caliber year for the Clippers last season.
On the season, he posted averages of 22.5 points and 12.1 rebounds and recorded 63 double-doubles. He was the only player in the NBA to average at least 20 points, 12 rebounds and three assists, was the first rookie to be voted into the All-Star Game since Tim Duncan in 1998 and was a six-time Rookie of the Month selection for the Western Conference.
In January of this year, Olshey told ESPNLosAngeles.com that Griffin, the reigning Rookie of the Year, "will only ever be a Clipper."
Of course, Olshey is currently only under contract through October of 2011.