The NBA free agency period officially begins as of midnight on Saturday, July 1st. However, several big moves have already come just a day or so ahead of that date. The Los Angeles Clippers are a team at the forefront of the headlines, as they traded All-Star Chris Paul just a day ago to the Houston Rockets. On Friday night, it was reported that the Clippers were able to entice their other star, Blake Griffin, to remain with the team thanks to a huge payout. Here are the latest details on how Los Angeles got Griffin to stay before exploring other teams in free agency.

Griffin to ink $173M deal

In a report from ESPN, it was said that league sources confirmed that Blake Griffin agreed to a five-year deal worth $173 million with the Los Angeles Clippers.

A meeting took place on Friday involving Griffin along with team owner Steve Ballmer, as well as president/coach Doc Rivers, and special consultant Jerry West. Several players were also part of the meeting with fellow All-Star DeAndre Jordan among them, as well as new acquisitions Patrick Beverly and Sam Dekker from the Rockets.

For his career, Griffin has averaged 21.5 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 4.1 assists per game in about 34 minutes of action on average. The Oklahoma City native has made the All-Star team five times so far during his career, all of which has been spent with the Clippers.

Injuries continue to be a concern for the big man, as was evidenced during the Clippers' most recent playoff outing. Griffin went down early in the series with a toe injury and L.A. ended up losing in seven games to the Utah Jazz in the first round.

Other teams out

With the news of Griffin's re-signing with the Clippers, it puts a damper on the attempts of several other interested teams.

Just recently it was reported that the Phoenix Suns had an interest in meeting with Griffin and that he also had a "high interest" in playing for Phoenix. The Denver Nuggets were also said to have a meeting planned, but now those meetings are canceled. In addition, the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat were also considered potential suitors.

However, the Clippers were able to offer the right contract and incentive for Griffin to stick around.

Despite Chris Paul recently leaving town, the Clippers seem committed to winning as they realize their All-Stars Griffin and DeAndre Jordan are still a solid foundation. However, one has to wonder how they might address the point guard position. Will Austin Rivers take over as the starter now that CP3 has departed, or will they shop around for another guard that might part of the NBA free agency class?

Stay tuned as this summer's wheeling and dealing seems off to a dramatic start with more NBA free agency moves or trades likely to occur in the coming weeks.

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