The End Game

The 4th of July weekend is over, and hopefully we can get back to business.  Citizen Zhiv asked long about Saturday, "Is it that important to all of these guys to eat hot dogs and watch fireworks, when there are hundreds of millions of dollars at stake?"  Apparently, the answer is yes.  Actually, the simple fact is that with the league moratorium on signings lasting until July 9th (Wednesday), I think they knew their wasn't much left to discuss, and so why not eat hot dogs and watch fireworks?

Marc Stein has the full recap of the situation as he sees and hears it at ESPN.com today.  The good news is that he, like ourselves, thinks all signs point to Elton Brand signing with the Clippers. 

There are a few interesting inclusions in the piece.

The Clippers may or may not need to renounce a list of players beyond Maggette and Livingston to squeeze more money into their offer to Brand.  Stein lists Fazekas, Marcus Williams, Ross, Dickau, Paul Davis, Smush, and even N'Dong and Singleton from past teams.  I must say, this is not an area I understand entirely (few people do).  It's related of course to the rule that allowed the Lakers to include Aaron McKie in the Gasol trade.  N'Dong last played for the Clippers, he hasn't played for any other NBA team since, he still could have a cap hold on their books.  Most of these are no-brainers if it helps secure Brand.  Even a player like Fazekas, whom we'd like to have on the team next season, can be re-signed for the minimum after they renounce him.

Perhaps Citizen John R can chime in here about salary reserves for empty roster spots.  At some point, if I understand correctly, you have to reserve the salary amount for the roster spot anyway.  So if the player is tying up a minimal salary (as is the case for most of these guys), there's not much, if any, point, in renouncing once you're down to twelve names.

Josh Powell falls in a different category.  He signed an unguaranteed three year deal.  He would need to be waived to get that money back, but again, it's a minimum deal so if they can get down to twelve without touching Powell, there's little reason to waive him also, if I have that part right.

The other theory that Stein floats is the old "Throw them off the scent" theory.  As we've suspected all along, one reason that Brand and Falk might take their time before signing with the Clippers is to calm the suspicions of a pre-arranged deal.  In fact, that's been my assumption for the delay all along.

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