Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error PLAYA VISTA >> Doc Rivers gives the credit to Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. For a franchise with a transient history and no heritage to speak of, those two players have lent the Clippers stability and credibility.“These guys have been responsible for the birth of our franchise in a lot of ways,” the Clippers coach said Wednesday.Put the annual postseason flameouts aside for a moment. The Clippers have won 50-plus games for five consecutive seasons, one of only two teams to do that during that stretch; their players show up on postseason awards ballots year after year; it is generally acceptable, if not exactly en vogue, to cheer for the other team in L.A.That is the Golden Age of Clippers basketball. It makes sense Rivers would want to try yet again with the same group despite vociferous calls to break up the roster.However, he was far from definitive about the future of the core.Where Rivers could have reasonably said he wanted to bring back Paul and Griffin at any cost, pending owner Steve Ballmer’s approval of that kind of spending, he instead left the option open-ended.“Just because you’ve been good for a long time,” he mused, “is the mix good enough to be great at some point? That’s what we have to make the right decision on. That’s really important.”Rivers said he has spoken with Griffin after the power forward underwent surgery on his toe Monday in North Carolina. It was an injury that “literally almost brought (Rivers) to tears.” The coach had seen how hard Griffin worked after a quadriceps injury derailed his playoffs a year earlier, too.What Rivers did not know, he said, was whether the injury would impact Griffin’s own decision. Both he and Paul can opt out of their contracts at the end of June, moves they are widely expected to make as the salary cap spikes and player salaries will jump accordingly.“That’s been asked, I can tell you that,” Rivers said. “Upstairs, around, I’ve heard that a ton. I don’t actually know the answer to that. That’s going to have to be a Blake decision.“His body of work is pretty good. I don’t think he is sweating opting out. That’s just my opinion, but I don’t know that yet. That’s something we will know very soon.”Griffin can earn $175 million from the Clippers over five years against approximately $130 million over four from another team. Paul could re-up for about $205 million over five years or take approximately $150 million over four years to go elsewhere.Rivers said he has spent the days since Sunday’s loss watching other teams participate in the playoffs and meeting with players and staff in what he calls “real sessions,” in which “we talk the truth about the team instead of all the other white noise.”That white noise would be the external chatter that the Clippers are irreparably doomed; cursed even. However, Rivers spun the team’s 51-31 regular-season record despite Paul and Griffin missing 20 games each with injuries as more of a success than how it is widely cast.“Say what you want about us,” Rivers said, “when we’re whole, we’re really good and we see that. So when you hear all this talk about us, to me it feels more negative. It felt that way all year.”Beyond re-signing Paul and Griffin, Rivers said the Clippers clearly need to upgrade on the wing. They need more size on the perimeter, a lesson learned the hard way thanks to the physicality of Jazz forwards Joe Johnson, Gordon Hayward and Joe Ingles; and more youth.However, Rivers, also the team’s president of basketball operations, offered a reminder of the franchise’s limitations. With center DeAndre Jordan giving them three maximum-salary players, the front office has annually had to find rotation players willing to sign minimum contracts.“We’ve brought in minimum contract guys and we brought them in because that’s all that we can bring in,” Rivers said. “But you just keep working at it and you got to keep making that decision: Is ‘good’ good enough? Where if you have a couple of breaks, like draft picks or free-agent signings that can maybe bump you over, do you keep going that route?”Choosing to divert from that route, changing the status quo, would mark a significant philosophical shift for the Clippers and would likely signal the departure of either Griffin, Paul or both.“We’re going to make the right decision,” Rivers said, “I can tell you that. Our goals have not changed. We want to win it. We realize we’re not good enough. Bottom line, we’re not good enough. We have to bring in a better mix or change the mix.“We have to do something.” And it could be over.Paul and Griffin, along with J.J. Redick and a half-dozen role players, are eligible to become free agents this summer and they and the Clippers have big decisions to make.“I think that they deserve a chance to win,” Rivers said, “and that they have built this legacy. … I would love them to shepherd that through. Whether that happens or not, it’s too early. We’ll make all those decisions or they’ll make them for us.”Rivers discussed the Clippers’ recent playoff catastrophe on Wednesday; a first-round loss to the Utah Jazz after Griffin went down with a toe injury, and the approaching offseason, which might be the most important in franchise history.There is little reason to doubt Rivers harbors a strong preference to keep the Clippers’ core together. Twice, in 2014 and ’15, Rivers’ team was well on its way to the Western Conference finals before tripping over its own feet. In each of the last two postseasons, dreams of a deep run have been shattered by injuries.