Thursday, July 19, 2012

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

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.

Why subject Ryan Gomes to the amnesty clause? Based on the current roster of the Clippers, only two players are eligible for that move, he and Eric Bledsoe. The move ensures the club is no longer in danger of exceeding the hard cap and paying luxury tax.

Who do we keep? Here are the Los Angeles Clippers' unrestricted free agents: Chauncey Billups Randy Foye, Kenyon Martin, Bobby Simmons, 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.

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.

Chauncey Billups has officially rejoined the Clippers.

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.

Philadelphia 76rs Lou Williams has already made the move to Atlanta. Jodie Meeks and Xavier Silas are tall guards who could fit LAC's needs, especially Jodie's shooting. Sam Young can serve as a backup to Caron. Craig Brackins would be an interesting option off the bench, while Tony Battie is a tall big that precisely could fit in the Clippers' budgetary plans.

Phoenix Suns: Robin Lopez is restricted, and more likely going to be retained by the Suns. Aaron Brooks and Shannon Brown are guards who are too small and too redundant for the Clippers' needs in the backcourt. Besides, Brooks is already headed to Sacramento. The same can be said for Ronnie Price. The Clips are more likely to go after Michael Redd and Grant Hill, given their needs.

Update: Grant Hill is going to be a Clipper.

Portland Trailblazers: Raymond Felton has agreed to a sign-and-trade to the Knicks, while Nicolas Batum has an offer sheet from Minnesota that Neil Olshey is taking his sweet time on. JJ Hickson has a deal set up for him to stay in the Northwest. Joel Pryzbilla would fit the tall big need, but with the current cap space available, he may possibly be out of the price range. Fans would welcome the return of former Clipper Craig Smith, but he is undersized for the position. Former lottery selection Jonny Flynn does not fit the need that the Clippers are looking for.

Sacramento Kings: Their free agent options are interesting free agent options.Terrence Williams and Donte Greene are wing options that would be handy in providing spot minutes for the team as relievers.

San Antonio Spurs:Tim Duncan will always be a Spur. Reports are that Spurs are to keep Danny Green with an offer. The former UNC Tar Heel proved to be an effective option for Popovich as an alternative starter to Manu Ginobili. Patty Mills will probably sign after his Olympic campaign with Australia, while the same can be said for Boris Diaw for France.

Toronto Raptors: Aaron Gray looks to be staying in Canada, but the other two tall big free agents in Solomon Alabi and Jamaal Magloire could be intriguing possibilities. Sonny Weems and Alan Anderson are cheap wing options for LA. As for Ben Uzoh, his skill set is pretty much already set by the current Clipper roster.

Utah Jazz: Josh Howard and C.J. Miles are interesting wing possibilities, while Blake Ahearn would be a luxury with the backcourt depth available.

Washington Wizards: Cartier Martin is staying in Washington. Brian Cook is no stranger to Clipper fans, as he was LA's throw-in for the deal that sent Nene to the nation's capital from Denver. Also familiar would be James Singleton, the hardworking forward who spent his first two seasons there. Morris Almond and Maurice Evans are two different kinds of swingmen. Morris can fill it up, while Maurice will make it difficult for you to fill it up.

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