Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Whaddya Think? New Look Clippers

Baron Davis has reportedly agreed to sign with the Clippers for 5 years and $65 million. If what Elton Brand said earlier is true, then he should be signing for a reduced salary soonish. That would give the Clippers 8 players under contract (including Gordon, who is guaranteed a contract based on where he was drafted):

PG: Baron Davis, Brevin Knight
SG: Cuttino Mobley, Eric Gordon
SF: Al Thornton, Tim Thomas
PF: Elton Brand
C: Chris Kaman

See here and here for intelligent commentary on the issues. The gist: they're better, and playoff-bound, but not elite by any means.

My thoughts:
  • That's a pretty exciting starting lineup. Baron may only play 60 games, though, and Brand is coming off an achilles injury. No one has seen Brand play many games with the current incarnation of Kaman, who has apparently overcome his ADD.
  • Assuming Kaman+Brand=synergy (which I am willing to), the question becomes whether Thornton is ready to take the next step. Despite only being in his second year, Thornton will turn 25 this year. He showed some really nice flashes of offense, but can he become a better passer and a more efficient scorer?
  • They'll absolutely need a better backup point guard (and unfortunately, Beno Udrih is gone), especially considering that Baron Davis doesn't generally play 82 games.
  • They need several bigs. As a Lakers fan, that's worrisome because of Ronny Turiaf's restricted free agency.
The problem with all these needs is that, assuming Brand signs for somewhere near his value, there's not much money left. Maybe they split the mid-level two ways, signing two crappy backups. That still leaves two roster spots they need to fill at a minimum, and more on the horizon. If they can show anything before February, then the usual slew of veteran free-agents who get bought out of their contracts (don't say I didn't warn you, but Antoine Walker is playing the last year of his contract in Memphis and would surely be a buyout candidate) will show up for the vet's minimum, but how to get there?

In any case, it should be fun to watch what they do. Donald Sterling always said he'd spend if he found players worth spending on, maybe his whole "cheap" reputation was undeserved?

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