First, I'd like to echo the compliments for Clipper Steve.
I spend way too much time on the site. Thanks for breaking up my day and providing an outlet for my social dysfunction/obsession.
Here is my whack at fixing our broken Clippers.
This is somewhat dramatic and potentially excessive, but it is a time for bold moves. We need to move while Sterling is in the "win at all costs" mode, Baylor is struggling to save his job and Dunleavy wants to prove the naysayers wrong.
We call up Houston and trade for Tracy McGrady.
We offer them Cassell, Maggette and Mobley. Heck, they can have Minnesota's pick if they want, and our 2nd round this year.
The Clippers get:
Why Houston would do it:
They are unhappy with McGrady. He is not a proven winner and is fragile. They have their box-office breaker in Yao. Now they need to win. And they need to make a push this year before their franchise center starts saying things like: "We just did the usual Houston thing and found a way to loose."
So they get Cassell, who as we have seen is a burst of short-term can-win leadership. His contract is also only for one year, so if it works, great, sign him for one more and have him help guide the kids at PG. Plus he loves Houston.
They get Maggette, who is kind of a poor man's version of McGrady. Slightly more durable and probably has more fire in him then McGrady does. Especially if he is traded and needs to prove Dunleavy wrong. Plus, his slashing and foul-drawing will help Yao.
They get Mobley, a Houston hero. He spreads the floor, is level headed and a good leader. Does Houston have a good leader? Plus, maybe he sparks a mini-resurgence in Steve Francis, so that his signing isn't a complete waste.
And a couple of draft picks. We haven't used them too well anyway.
Why Clippers do it:
With McGrady, we are taking a risk, for sure. He is fragile, emotional and not a proven winner. However, I think Brand can wake him up. And Brand is going to have a fire under him.
Plus, well, he is Tracy McGrady. He can score. He can take over at the end of games. And whom do you double: Kaman, Brand or McGrady?
Having Brand and Kaman should help keep some of the pounding and scoring load off of him, and if he does go down, we have the always-exciting Thorton.
Hopefully, he would be happier in LA. He can battle it out with Kobe. He can endorse whatever he wants.
We get Mike James, a serviceable point guard with on-again, off-again years. Hopefully we get him on a good year. A great Plan B if Livingston is shot.
We rent Kirk Snyder for a year and say thank you.
We have what's left of the year to figure out how McGrady, Brand, Kaman and Livingston can play together.
For the 2008/9 and the remainder of folks:
Brand exercises the final year and then we give him what he wants.
We break up our mid-level exception between Powell, Davis and Ross. I think we can do this. If not, thanks but no thanks Powell and Davis.
We bring over MBFGC and see if we can't get him in to shape for 2010.
Livingston accepts the min. offer and everyone hopes he make sit.
We give Diaz a min. one-year deal.
We draft Budinger or whoever the best SG (that, um, can shoot) is available.
So our depth chart is thus:
PG Livingston (5.8)James (6)/Knight (2)
SG Ross (2)/Diaz (800k)/Budinger (2.4)
SF McGrady (21.1)/Thorton (1.8) Ross
PF Brand (16.4)Thomas (6) Powell (900k)/ Thorton
C Kaman (9.5)/Davis (800k)/MBFGC (800k)
A mobile line-up with lots of interchangeable parts. Fun for the whole family!
We go over the Luxury tax, so Sterling isn't happy. But we have a real shot at winning, which make shim happy. He is so mercurial! We also listen real close for any deals that would bring us under.
Are salary situation in 2009/10 is thus:
McGrady $21.0 mil, 3 years
Brand 16.4 mil, last year (sign him up boys!)
Kaman 9.5 mil, 4 years
James 6 mil 2 years
Thomas 6 mil, 2 years
Livingston 5.8 mil, last year
Budinger 2.4 mil, 3 years
Knight 2 mil, last year
Ross 2 mil, 3 years, mid-level exception
Thorton 1.8, 4 years
Powell .9 mil, 2 years, mid-level exception
Diaz, .8 mil, 1 year
MBFGC, .8 mil, 1 year (get in shape, buddy)
Davis, .8 mil, 2 year, mid-level exception.
So that is that. We come in at a total payroll of 76.4 million (yikes!), but the mid-level brings us down to 72.7 million. Still yikes, but it is a heck of a team.