Tuesday, July 10, 2012

What Should Vinny Del Negro do? My LAC offseason wishlist (Part III)

The Los Angeles Clippers finished with the 5th Seed in the Western Conference, needing seven games to fend off the Memphis Grizzlies, highlighted by their scintillating comeback from 27 points down in Game 1.

Unfortunately, they went up against the buzzsaw that is the San Antonio Spurs, thus ending their postseason.

Free Agency Fever has begun. Now what? Let's go through it...

The holdovers: Eric Bledsoe, Caron Butler,  Ryan Gomes, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, Travis Leslie, Lamar Odom, Chris Paul and Trey Thompkins.

What exactly went on in the Odom deal? Here is the official wording from the Clippers themselves.
The Los Angeles Clippers today acquired forward Lamar Odom from the Dallas Mavericks as part of a four-team trade also involving the Utah Jazz and Houston Rockets.  The Clippers sent point guard Mo Williams to the Jazz and the draft rights to Furkan Aldemir, the Clippers’ second round selection (53rd overall) in the 2012 NBA Draft to Houston while the Jazz conveyed the draft rights of Tadija Dragicevic, Utah’s second round pick (53rd overall) in the 2008 NBA Draft to Dallas.  To complete the trade, Dallas sent the draft rights of Shan Foster, the Mavericks’ second round selection (51st overall) in the 2008 NBA Draft to the Jazz with Houston sending cash considerations to Dallas. 
What does Lamar Odom provide you? The former Clipper provides versatility with his size as well as his veteran experience. He'll also improve bench production that will be affected after the departure of Mo Will.

Who do we keep? Here are the Los Angeles Clippers' unrestricted free agents: Chauncey Billups Randy Foye, Kenyon Martin, Bobby Simmons, Nick Young. They do not have any RFAs.

Billups and Martin are vets that I'd like to keep around as locker room guys and role players. I value Foye's contributions, but definitely will not overpay for him. Likewise for Nick Young, but Swaggy P has some flaws that kind of make me cringe a little.

Reggie Evans is also one of our free agents, but the Clippers arranged for a sign-and-trade to the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for a heavily protected second round pick.

Nick Young has already agreed in principle for a one-year deal with Philadelphia.

Who should we chase? There are three tiers of players that the Clippers should be chasing.

1. Two-guards. It is very clear that LA needs height in its backcourt. Also a shooter. Ideally, the two should go together, but not really that necessary on the latter. A couple of interesting options being thrown around is Jamal Crawford and Jason Terry, but the former has some well-known issues and the latter is 34 and is probably on the decline. They have targeted Ray Allen as well, who is definitely on the decline, but his shooting is perceived to be an asset. If said two-guard can play small forward in a pinch, it would be an advantage.

2. Tall big. DeAndre is the only true center they have in the lineup, but there is a need to secure some height. We need also for that particular big man to be able to either mentor DeAndre or push him to play better. One of the free agent options would be to bring back Marcus Camby, who helped with the mentoring process in the early years. It would be of great help if the big has some workable talent at least on one side of the floor.

3. Bench depth. There is a need to upgrade team depth. It sometimes became too agonizing to watch non-production in our rotation. Whether Vinny Del Negro had anything to do with that, we are not exactly THAT sure, but having key pieces to surround our offensive core will really be welcomed.

Now, time to peruse the targets.

Miami Heat: After winning a title, Juwan Howard is probably off to retirement. Ronny Turiaf and Eddy Curry are complete polar opposites, with the Gonzaga alum being the more palatable choice. Considering the options available, the chance for Terrel Harris to be a Clipper has passed.

Milwaukee Bucks: Carlos Delfino would be an intriguing target, with his shooting capability. Kwame Brown, in spite of his "bust" tag, has been in the league for a while already with his size and defensive skill. Ersan Ilyasova is probably out of our price range.

Minnesota Timberwolves: Michael Beasley has already agreed to be with Phoenix Suns. Anthony Tolliver is a serviceable and capable big, while Anthony Randolph is the usual case of potential unrealized.

New Orleans Hornets: Clipper fans would love to bring back Eric Gordon, but Phoenix has already made the max deal that the Indiana alum prefers. Another former Clipper in Chris Kaman would be someone they'd like to take back, but he'll be getting better offers. With Lamar in the team, does not make much sense to go after Carl Landry.

New York Knicks: Landry Fields has been signed to an offer sheet by the Raptors, while Jeremy Lin just signed his with the Houston Rockets. Mike Bibby and Baron Davis do not fit the current needs of the Clippers, however, JR Smith and Steve Novak do, the former for his off-the-bench scoring ability and the latter for his shooting prowess. As for Jared Jeffries, he is someone who can defend multiple positions and would be handy for any team.

Oklahoma City Thunder: Derek Fisher is a veteran point guard who can provide leadership and stability at the position, while Royal Ivey is a surplus guard whose calling card is supposed to be on the defensive end. Both guards would be perceived as luxuries to the Clippers, thus non-necessity. However, Nazr Mohammed is big guy down low buried by better talent in front of him in Ibaka, Perkins and Collison. He has the size for the position and could be handy for LA.

Orlando Magic: Ryan Anderson looks to be the buddy for Anthony Davis in New Orleans, while Jameer Nelson looms to be staying. Daniel Orton is an intriguing possibility for the Clippers to sign as their cheap back-up big, as he is truly big. Positional gluts will probably make DeAndre Liggins and Ish Smith as non-targets.

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