The Los Angeles Clippers held a press conference on Thursday afternoon to announce the signing of Baron Davis. In the middle of the action is President Andy Roeser who took a moment to speak with HOOPSWORLD:
I spoke with you last season when we talked about as a fallback, if Elton Brand and Corey Maggette leave; you have more cap room than almost anybody in the league. Here you are and you have Baron Davis and $12 million. It may not be the worst case scenario in that you do have some potential moving forward.
We start with a terrific center in Chris Kaman and a fabulous point guard in Baron Davis. We still have a little bit more work to do. We're armed with $12 million in cap space and kind of a blank check commitment from our ownership to do what needs to be done to put the best team out there for us. We're going to get it done.
How tricky is it to lure a restricted free agent. Talk to me about the hurdles you face.
We're going to take a step back right now and evaluate what move is best for us now. There are some restricted free agents of interest out there. I think people know that we met with Josh Smith and his representatives last night and that's something we will consider.
So an offer hasn't been made as of yet?
We have not extended any offers at this juncture. I think it's important for our basketball staff to just - this is our day to welcome Baron Davis back to Los Angeles - and then I think for our basketball staff to step back and evaluate where we are and what the best alternatives for us going forward are. I am confident when we're done with that process, that we'll finish the job and put together a team we'll all be excited to watch play this fall.
Could you conceivably wait a year for the cap room because there might be more attractive free agents next year or do you think this year the money will be spent?
I think that the most important thing for us right now is to make sure that we put the best team possible out for this coming season. Bringing Baron Davis here gives us an opportunity to play an exciting brand of basketball get up and down - and to win. He came here to win. We want to win. Our intention is put the best team on the court this year so that we can. Toward that end we'll spending whatever is necessary in order to make that happen.
Do you have in your head or in your mind maybe an answer as to why it worked out the way it did with Elton, specifically why he left? What was his motivation? Can you only guess?
You know I don't know. I don't think it does any good to guess. For me it's a little bit of a mystery. I think the best on and the only one who can answer that is Elton for himself. From our perspective we were a little disappointed to hear his decision to go to Philadelphia. But at the end of the day if that's his decision - you have to respect his decision, wish him well and we have to move on and do what we have to do to move our team move forward
I hope he's happy with his decision - I'm confident it will work out for us.
Was the option of giving Brand a sixth year was untenable?
We at every step of the way we gave them everything they asked for and more. It wasn't enough. I don't think there's any benefit in going through any of that.
Was it difficult to renounce the rights to Shaun Livingston after what's he's gone through?
I'd like to say something about that. Our decision to renounce Shaun is purely a salary cap maneuver. It has nothing to do with our intention to re-sign Shaun. Shaun was charged on our cap at something like $13 million. Given his situation we think we would have an interest in re-signing him but not at that amount of money. Purely a technical matter, we had to renounce our rights to Shaun yesterday along with several other players [Dan Dickau, Boniface N'Dong, Smush Parker and James Singleton] to create the necessary salary cap space to sign Baron Davis to a contract today.
That being said we've already reached out to Shaun and his reps to let them know we do have an interest in re-signing Shaun and don't be surprised if you hear more about us having conversations with Shaun. It's purely a technical thing it doesn't reflect in any way a decision for us to kind of move on past that.
The Clippers celebrated the signing of Davis on Thursday but have a gaping hole at power forward. The two best free agent options (Josh Smith and Emeka Okafor) are restricted. There's no way to know ahead of time if their respective teams will match (Atlanta Hawks and Charlotte Bobcats).
The Clippers could potential waive/renounce additional players (Quinton Ross, Marcus Williams, Nick Fazekas and Josh Powell) to get even further under the cap should that be needed.
It's difficult to anticipate what's ahead for the Clippers but it would appear they are committed to spending the money to fill the void at power forward with the intention of putting together a competitive roster for the upcoming season.