Off season to-do list: Clippers

UPDATE: Baron Davis signs a 5 year deal worth $65 million. I wrote this post before the news came out, so I changed some things, but disregard anything that does not take the Baron Davis signing into account.

We apologize for getting this post up late. Been swamped by the end of summer session and what not. There will be constant regular posts by the end of the week.
The forgotten LA team, the Clippers, will be very active this offseason. The notoriously stingy Donald Sterling will have to make the decision to re-sign his franchise player Elton Brand and starter Corey Maggettte. Elton Brand is asking for a $120 million. That sounds reasonable for a player of Brand's calibur, however, he played only 8 games last season because of an Achilles rupture and is reportedly waiting it out to see what the Clippers do to bring in free-agents. Look Brand, you are not going to free up that much cap space by opting out, asking for $120 million, but still trying to be the good guy by waiting for free-agents to sign with the Clippers. He should have kept the last end of his deal and not opted out if he was truly sincere about wanting to bring in free-agents. The best idea probably would have been to stay with his deal and finish out the last year and produce, and then become more active in the market next year. Although there will be no shortage of free agents next year, Brand still could have gotten the money he deserved if he played well this next season. I'm not surprised if Elgin Baylor is hesitant to knock on Sterling's office and ask him to cut a few checks worth $120 million dollars. Nevertheless, the Clippers will probably keep him on a long term deal, but this trade from a TrueHoop reader is intriguing. No one expected him to do this, but maybe he is unsure of how he will come back after the injury and wants to lock up as much guaranteed money as he can.

Corey Maggette is the next player the Clippers have to deal with. He made $7 million this past season and there have been rumors of him going back to play with the team he played for his rookie year, the Orlando Magic. Maggette is an extremely frustrating player. He is ridiculously athletic, but does not use it to his advantage consistently. He was the highest scoring Clipper this season with a 22.1 ppg average. He also logged 5.6 rebs and 2.7 assists. Those numbers are not bad and Maggette is right to be asking for money. Maybe it is frustrating to watch Maggette play because he has not been in the right system that allows him to use his athleticism to his full advantage. When he first came into the league he had flashes of greatness, but it seems that Maggette has spent his entire NBA career in mediocrity that it has become a habit for him now. A change would suit Maggette, and his talents and size would be great assets for most NBA teams. Expect the 6ers to make hard runs at Brand and Maggette. Maggette is probably more of a possibility for a Philadelphia considering how much money they have (around $11.5 million) to throw at Maggette as well. It doesn't make much sense for Philly to acquire Maggette since he plays the same position as Andre Iguodala which would give Philly two super-athletic players at the 3 who underachieve. There will be a lot of other teams interested in Maggette's services including the Suns who reportedly have the most interest in him and will probably explore a sign-and-trade involving Leandro Barbosa. Other teams only have the MLE to give Maggette which means about $2 million dollars less in pay.

This does not necessarily speak to Maggette's athleticism, but it shows how quick his reaction time adds up to 1 light year faster than the average joe, and more generally, how an NBA player's reaction time is compared to the average joe. It seems appropriate after a discussion of Maggette.

That takes care of the two big pieces for the Clippers. Looking at their lineup there is a player by the name of Cutino Mobley on the books that got paid $8.3 million this last season and due to make $9.1 million this coming season. It seems like Mobley's bad play can go under the radar because he is playing for a bad team, but a closer looks shows that, he only averages 12.8 ppg, 3.6 rebs, and 2.6 assts. To put that in perspective, he averaged the exact same number of points as Same Cassell did before he went to Boston. The other two categories of rebs and assts are pretty close also. You may say, "well, Cassell overachieved and he handled the ball more than Mobley." Well, Mobley averaged a full 10 minutes more than Cassell, as well as averaged 11.3 field-goal attempts compared to Cassel's 10.6 field-goal attempts, and shot 47.2% from the field which is almost exactly the same as Cassell's 47.3% avg from the field. Mobley is a heavy contract on the team's payroll and is not getting any younger as he will turn 33 on September 1st.

Mobley does not seem to be the Clipper's biggest problem. Mobley will squeeze out every penny of that $42 million dollar 5 year contract with the Clippers, but he still has potential to produce at numbers like 15ppgs with a few dishes and a couple more boards IF he gets the right point guard. That seems to be the biggest hole for the Clippers. The injury to Shaun Livingston was tragic, but I think that every basketball fan is pulling for him to make a full recovery. His status is still up in the air and it seems unlikely that he will be able to produce like the emerging star pre-injury, and probably will not get signed by a team during this free-agent period. Their starting guard, the Stanford legend, Brevin Knight, has had to carry the load. Unfortunately, putting the weight of the playoffs on the aging guard's shoulders is asking a little too much. Knight has always only been a backup point guard at best in the league and has never been able live up to a starter role. The next mistake of the Clippers was signing Smush Parker. You would think that being arena roommates with the Lakers would allow them to see just how bad Smush Parker is. Even if that didn't help, the fact that Phil Jackson and Pat Riley, two of the best "personality handlers" in the history of the league couldn't deal with him, what would make any Clipper official think Mike Dunleavy could? His whopping 6.4 ppg and 3.4 assts in his 19 games in Clipper colors was probably enough to show the Clippers just how bad signing him was, but Clipper fans can breathe a sigh of relief knowing he is gone now. There was always Dan Dickau though right? The drafting of Eric Gordon should help the Clipper's problems in the backcourt a little bit, but Gordon is more of a combo guard and it is a little much to expect him to be the franchise point guard. I think Gordon will be a solid NBA player, but not in the next year or two.

The two bright spots for the Clippers are their center, Chris Kaman, and their young prospect Al Thornton. There is no real backup for Kaman unless you think Tim Thomas is a credible center, the Clippers need to address that gap. With the right players, Kaman can be one of the top 5 centers in the league. He is an incredible asset that logs the most minutes on the team at 37.2 minutes per game with 15.7 ppg and 12.7 rebs a game. Thornton is a very good player that will find a spot on an NBA roster for many years to come. He still has a lot of work to do, and needs to increase his 4.5 rebs per game and overall defense in order for him to be an all-around solid player.

The work for the Clippers in the front court is basically done if they can resign Brand and Maggette, but the backcourt problem for the A guy like Baron Davis changes the whole complexity of the Clipper's back court. They are now a serious threat in the Western Conference, and the arms race in the Western Conference continues, and it seems like the Lakers have some big competition now. This offseason just got very interesting. It seems like there is spillover from all the big name movement during the season into the offseason.


I'm sure a lot of you have seen this, but when you win the championship blowing those bonuses in Vegas while hanging out with the boxer of the hour, doesn't seem so bad.

Chris Douglas-Roberts could have been a first-rounder but he didn't go to some workouts. He even didn't workout out for his home town team, the Pistons! Obviously a player can't make every workout he is invited to, but at least go to one or two below where you are projected to be drafted. It is time that the NBA move to an NFL combine type system.

Fellow blogspot site, Basketbawful, has some great stuff on their site. They posted an amazing NBA fact yesterday about a really shady triple-double by the Magic's Anthony Bowie. Of course, Shaq backed the decision up too.

Speaking of Shaq, this is a great freestyle SLAM's Russ Bengtson put up of a possible Kobe freestyle response to Shaq's antics last week. It is...looong.

The "Everytime-Jay-Bilas-says-'long'-and-'upside'-we-take-a-drink" game was brought to Jay Bilas' attention and he promptly stopped using those words and started using some other interesting synonyms.

China hates Yi Jianlin at nightclubs because it puts their Olympic gold medal in basketball at stake. Someone should inform them that they have a -100 to 0 chance at winning the medal this year. I'd put their shots of medaling at about -30 to 0.

Picture Sources: sportingnews.com (first), ballhype.com (second), sportsillustrated.com (third), nba.com (fourth), realgm.com (fifth), clippers.topbuzz.com, slamdunkcentral.com (seventh)


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