Here it is, the long-awaited fourth installment of the Clipperblogger Summit - an on-going exchange between myself and Kevin Arnovitz of Clipperblog.
To: Kevin Arnovitz
From: Steve Perrin
Date: June 10, 2009
Based on your list of ideal "Glue guys" I think we may have a slightly different definition (which is one of the problems with these imaginary archetypes). Reverse engineering from the guys on your list, I realize that I wouldn't have included Turkoglu or Odom - which begs the question why? I'm realizing that my own working definition inadvertently requires the "glue guy" to be pretty limited on offense. Obviously, that's not an advantage per se. I think the difference is that players as talented as Turkoglu get labels like 'potential all star' from the media while the Battiers and Bowens have to settle for "glue guy" as a consolation prize - "we recognize that this guy is important, but it goes without saying he's not a 'star' in the traditional sense." No matter.
I said that being limited on offense is not an advantage per se. But in your Tau approach ("To achieve offense you must prepare for defense"), the simple fact of the matter is that there are five guys on the floor, and only one of them has the ball in his hands. In that sense, you could argue that it's four times more important to be effective WITHOUT the ball on offense - and most of the curent Clippers are best with the ball in their hands. There's a chicken and egg thing going on here - does MDsr have a penchant for running isos, which turns the other players into spectators, or do the limitations of the personnel dictate the Clippers' style? Regardless we know that the Clippers get very little movement off the ball, they get even less ball movement and their spacing is terrible. (It continually amazes me when NBA teams can't space the floor properly - how hard can that be?) You're kind of "Glue Guy" (an ultra-versatile player with a high basketball IQ) would be a welcome addition. But I'd settle for a guy who knows where to be on offense, can hit an open shot, and understands how to rotate on defense.
But I'm a little concerned at this point that this conversation has gotten stuck in the glue (thank you, I'm here all week).
There's a pretty natural transition here to a discussion of potential trades. Trevor Ariza for something below the MLE would be a terrific addition to be sure. But other than that, I don't see a lot of options in free agency. Former Clipper Matt Barnes? Some of my readers have suggested that Mardy Collins is a candidate, and he may be the best option from the current roster, but I hope that we can do better.
So what about all those expensive big guys who play the same positions as the Clippers' future franchise player? Could Kaman, Camby or Randolph be moved for the type of wing player the team seems to be missing? (I'm going to interject here quickly that if this seems like a Thornton-bashing session, it's really not. But with franchise cornerstones presumably at the 2 and the 4, and massive amounts of salary tied up at the 1, 4 and 5, and with all of those guys needing the ball at least some, Al is a bad fit as a starter on this team. Conversely, he could be tremendous off the bench, where a talented scorer capable of putting up lots of points in a short amount of time is a valuable asset.)
Here's my take on trading bigs (which MDsr implied again on Saturday is a real possibility, even a priority). Don't move Camby this off-season. His value is most likely only going to go up as the trade deadline approaches. Playoff bound teams who feel they need a big to protect the basket in a playoff run, will line up for Camby and his few remaining months of salary in February. The offers are only going to get better. And the worst case is that the team keeps him and his salary drops off the books. He's also a good mentor to have around for the likes of Griffin and DeAndre Jordan (who'll suddenly become more important if a big is indeed dealt).
From a basketball standpoint, I'd move Zach Randolph. He's the most redundant with Griffin (unless Griffin can be a day in day out center in the league). I like the idea of the traditional center Kaman playing the position - call me old-fashioned. Obviously, there's also the locker room standpoint, which is another reason to move Randolph. But then there's the financial standpoint, and it becomes tougher (though probably not impossible) to move Zach's contract.
That leaves Kaman. As I said, I'd rather keep Kaman, but he may be the logical one to move this off-season. His contract doesn't make him a pariah, and seven-footers with skills remain a pretty limited resource. Wouldn't Chicago, desperate for a post presence, take the oft-injured and sometimes underachieving Kaman for the oft-injured and sometimes underachieving Luol Deng? We've also seen chatter (none of it substantiated, from what I can tell) of Kaman for Kirk Hinrich, Kaman for Tayshaun Prince, and Kaman in a sign-and-trade for Josh Childress (OK, I just made that one up).
At any rate, let's hope we're not the only ones who see a surplus of bigs, and a dearth of "Glue guys" and wonder if a swap can be worked out.