Thinking Outside the Box
With all the talk about free agency over the last three weeks, like most clipper fans I am thinking about LeBron. But really, LeBron? I mean I am all for the Clipper parade, and trying anything possible to convince people that the Clippersare actually a contender to make a run at LeBron. I'm still praying and hoping every night like the rest of you. It is hard not to think that LeBron would come to clipper land. Living the L.A. lifestyle, becoming part of Hollywood, and not to mention basketball reason having probably the best supporting cast a team can offer right now. But let's just be realistic for one moment. OK.... I don't think he is coming to L.A, or I don't think any of the other big names are either. Wade is staying in Miami, Joe Johnson wants to stay on the east coast, and for Amare and Bosh there is no room in the front court for those players. But let's not panic clipper nation. Here's a list of players who may be available later this offseason, and some of those players are available now. This list is not the top players the Clippersshould get, or the best fit for the clippers, or rating the best players available. This list is about the REALISTIC chance (or probability) a player could come to the clippers. I rank the players from 1 to 5 on the likelihood the Clippers could grab this player. Check it out
Summary: ‘He Do', ‘I Do, ‘We all Do' Turkoglu would be the ideal fit for the clippers. He can play multiple positions and most importantly fit right in at the 3 spot. Hedo has reportedly said he wants out of Toronto (can't blame him). Hedo arguably came off his worst year since his rookie year, averaging 11.3 points per game. Turkoglu was even bench toward the end of the season. But he admittedly said his heart wasn't in it. And it definitely showed in his performance. But given last season performance, this man can still ball. Don't forget his last two seasons with the magic. Averaging 18.5 points and nearly 5 boards and 5 assist per game. Problem with Hedo, he isn't a free agent so the Clippers would have to trade. But why not, Hedo wants out, and Toronto probably won't be asking for much in return because they get rid of a player that doesn't want to be there, and gets rid of a four year 53 million dollar contract. Clippers have the salary and players to make this move. Although the Clippers have all unrestricted free agents, the league is set up to where a player can make the most money in signing with his own team. So Clippers have a lot of options to sign and trade players. So why not swap draft picks (Clippers 8, Toronto 13) and throw in DeAndre Jordan. First of all, I see no player that can instantly help the Clippers at the number 8 spot in this draft, and Toronto will most likely be lacking a big man (already lack a center) and Jordan could really develop in Toronto. And if this is not enough, Toronto you can have your choice at a sign and trade deal of Travis Outlaw or Rasual Butler to fill that 3 hole the raptors may have.
Pros: Hedo fits the mold for what the Clippers need. He can space the floor with his 3-point shooting, and he's a player that you can give the ball to at the end of the game. Hedo has made a lot of big plays in his career and with his shot making and play making ability he can add a new dimension to the Clippers which they haven't had in years. When Orlando made that finals run only a season ago, Hedo was a huge part of that. He is a type of player you can run an offense through, and who can make the right decisions under pressure. He doesn't need a lot of shots to be productive, and he is a terrific play maker that will help Griffin's and Gordon's play. Also, Hedo can bring up the ball and start the offense, which can take lots of pressure off Baron.
Cons: Hedo is entering his 11thseason at the age of 31. He is coming off his worst season since his rookie year, and he is an average defender at best. Also he will be entering his second year of his 5 year deal worth 53 million dollars. Also, if Hedo is really on the trading block there will be other teams after him. And with the Clippers pieces all being unrestricted free agents, these players can choose where they want to go. Although they can make the most money by signing with the Clips, they could go play where they want. Though we saw Hedo help lead a team in the NBA finals, but are his best basketball days behind him?
Final Thoughts: The reason Turkoglu is at the top of this list is because it is the most realistic fit, and I think he can still play. Turkoglu wants out and the Clippers are one of the teams that could trade for him. He fits the Clippers short term needs perfectly. But is he the answer for the future, having Turkoglu for the next 4 years at 53 million?
Summary: Here's an interesting fit. It is reported that both Hamilton and Prince are on the trading block. Joe Dumars, the president of operations for the Detroit Pistons is looking to rebuild. Prince is definitely easier to trade between the two because of his 1 year 10.1 million contract and he still is a good player. Prince had an injury plague season last year, along with every Piston on the roster but at age 30 Prince can still play. Once again Clippers have pieces to offer Detroit. Detroit is looking for a big man, and if they can't pick one up in the draft send over Jordan and Outlaw for Prince. Or even throw in the 8thpick, making Detroit having back to back picks in the first round. I am big fan about trading this pick. I understand that it is relatively high at 8 and could still get a good player. But I believe if the Clips can trade that pick for other solid player, I think the Clippers would be better off picking up a veteran free agent instead of a rookie. And if Outlaw is looking for money then he could be a vital piece for trading this offseason.
Pros: Prince is an outstanding team and on ball defender in this league. He would help the Clippers in arguably their worst category (defense) dramatically. Prince can provide a steady dose of offense, and also can spread the floor for Kaman and Griffin. He is also a player that doesn't need 15 to 20 shots a game to make an impact, which helps out players like Gordon and Kaman who should get the majority of the shots. Also, Prince will be in his last year of his contract, so while in his contract year Prince would want to play well, and if it doesn't work out with the clippers, they would still be under the cap for the next offseason. (Hello Carmelo)
Cons: Although Prince is a good player, he's not that great elite player that Clippers have money for. The Clippers would obviously be a better team, but how much better in a competitive western conference. I think this move would make them a playoff team, but maybe that's it.
Final Thoughts: Prince is at number 2 on this list because of his defense and his will to win. He is a proven winner with a ring and gold medal and could provide great leadership behind Davis. He is noted to be on the trade block, and with Dumars trying to rebuild and the Clippers looking for a small forward this seems like a likely fit for the Clips.
3: Rudy Gay
Summary: Rudy Gay is a phenomenal athletic. He is entering his 5thseason, and will become a restricted free agent. I have been reading a lot of Clipper blogs and clipper comments, and Clips fans have been hating on Rudy. I don't know why a Clipper fan would not want this man. First of all let's go back to the summer before entering this season. Gay played in the summer for the USA team, and he was the stud that everyone was talking about. Coaches and players raved about this guy, and many thought entering this season it was time for a break out year. Rudy had a nice season, averaged 19.6, but let's look at why he didn't break out and how he would fit in as a Clipper. Memphis is a very talented team, although it probably doesn't fit Gay's style. Clips fan, we all know about Zach Randolph. It's basically a black hole once he gets the ball, you throw in there and it's not coming back out. Not taking anything away from Randolph, he is a great player but he definitely took touches and scoring opportunities away from Gay. Let's compare point guards. Say what you want about Baron, but he is a much better player than Mike Conley Jr. Conley struggled getting players the ball in the right position to score and isn't a player to drive and kick to give Gay space to score. Even Jamal Tinsley started at point for some games because of Conley's poor play. Whereas Baron is a great passer, and I think they can really work off each other with Baron capability to get to the rim. And not forgetting O.J. Mayo is much more of chucker than Eric Gordon. Some games Gay wouldn't even get up 10 shots because of the players around him. But Gay still helped the Grizzlies to their best season in four seasons.
Pros: Gay can score in bunches and in many different ways. A good one on one player, can stretch the floor, and can get to the low block and score. He provides that instant offensive that Clips have been missing on the perimeter to help out Gordon. Gay will turn 24 in August, which would give a young nucleus of Gay, Griffin, and Gordon all under the age of 24. He is long and athletic and if he becomes more consist, I think he can an all-star in this league.
Cons: Probably wondering why Gay is not above the other 2. It's because he is a restricted free agent. Meaning the Clips could throw as such money as they want, and the Grizz could match it. It has been reported that owner Michael Heisley will re-sign Rudy. Gay also has been inconsistent in his 5 years in the NBA, and should be a better defender with his length and athleticism.
Final Thoughts: Gay is better than Hedo and Prince, but looking at the realistic side of this, the Grizzlies want to keep Gay. I think if the Clippers offer Gay a max contract, then owner Michael Heisley will have no choice but to let him go. But I don't see Sterling offering Gay a max deal. It would be a good fit, but I think the Grizzlies are going to hold on to this star.
4: Andre iguodala
Summary: This situation pretty much relays on one name. Evan Turner. The Sixers have the number 2 pick in the upcoming NBA draft. If they decide to pick Turner, expect Iguodala to be on the trade block. But this isn't anything new for the Sixers. Remember Iguodala was on the trade block this season, with the Sixers ready to part ways. The Rockets had high interest for Iguodala, but decided to go a different direction with Kevin Martin. So this isn't new territory that the Sixers or Iguodala. If they draft Turner they pretty much get the same player in Iguodala. But many draft experts have the Sixers going big with Derrick Favors or trading down for DeMarcus Cousins. But I really don't understand that. The Sixers have Elton brand, who's making 80 million, and I'm sure if they are looking to trade him there will be no takers. Also, Doug Collins the Sixers new coach loves Elton Brand, and has already said the focus will be getting back Elton to his old self this offseason. Behind Brand is other big man, Marreese Speights. This guy can pretty much score from anywhere on the floor. He is very talented, but just needs more minutes. The Clippers could package a very intriguing DeAndre Jordan, whom would fit perfect in Philly because they have no backup center. Plus Samuel Dalembert is in his last year of his contract, so it would be great insurance for the Sixers. D.J. along with a pick and Outlaw or Butler (which Butler would love to go back home to play in Philly) could be really intriguing for Philly. The Sixers would get pick 8, which they can draft another big man out of the 200 forwards in this draft, and get an upcoming starting center in Jordan and either Outlaw or Butler whom both can shoot the 3 which the Sixers desperately need. (Jason Kapono really didn't work out last season.)
Pros: Andre Iguodala is a great athlete who can really defend and score at his position. He is only 26, and is under a six year 80 million dollar contract. Iguodala is a premier defender at his position with the ability to block shots and hold his own in one on one situation. He is also a great rebounder for his position. Although his shot is still on the inconsistent side, it has shown signs of getting better. He is great in the open floor, and could really help the Clippers at both ends of the court.
Cons: Iguodala lacks the ability to spread the floor with his inconsistent 3 point shooting. Being in the league for six seasons he has still yet to show that he is that go to player. He has now been the best player on Philly for four seasons and has yet to get past the first round. Iguodala would be a great fit, but is he that player that can push the Clippers to one of the elite teams in the west?
Final Thoughts: Getting Iguodala would be a great offseason move for the clippers. But realistically, he is number four on this list because it depends on what the Sixers do in the draft. The Clippers have the right pieces to go out and get a player like Iguodala, but will they actually pull the trigger.
Summary: You're probably thinking to yourself, really? But you never know with Indiana. Granger is by far the best player on this list, but probably the least likely to happen. But there have been reports of the team trying to rebuild, but that doesn't mean they want to get rid of Granger. But let's think here, it's the Pacers. Over the last couple season they have made some questionable moves. Signing Dahntay Jones, getting rid of Jarrett Jack, and drafting Tyler Hansbrough over their need for point guard.(Point guards drafted after Hansbrough: Jrue Holiday, Ty Lawson, Jeff Teague, Eric Maynor, and Darren Collison). But I'll stop hating on the Pacers decisions over the last four seasons because I am talking about the Clippers. Granger coming off an injury plague season again, maybe just maybe the Clippers could steal him. Pacers would like another 3 in return, so Outlaw makes the most sense here. Maybe throw in the draft pick and Steve Blake to complete Larry Bird's dream of an all starting 5 of white players. (C- Josh McRobets, F- Troy Murphy/Tyler Hasbro F- Mike Dunvley Jr. G Probably draft Gordon Haywood or sign JJ Redick G- Steve Blake) Also the Clippers could go the route with Gooden or D.J. With a package of the 8th overall pick, Outlaw, and Indiana's choice of big man or Blake seems... unlikely. But, I've seen weirder things.
Pros: Granger was once a 25 point scorer in this league. There is not much this man can't do on the floor. He can dribble, rebound, get to the line, and pretty much has unlimited range. With a nice supporting cast around him, Granger could be a top 5 small forward in the league.
Cons: Not much weakness in this man's game, other than he is not the greatest passer and could improve defensively. Also, Granger has been kind of injury prone in the last two seasons. Last two seasons he has missed 35 games. So if Granger becomes a Clipper, he will probably tear his ACL playing HORSE with Steve Novak.
Final Thoughts: He is the best player on this list, but there is a reason why he at 5. It is unlikely that the Pacers will trade their best player away. Plus the key component in a trade would be Steve Blake with the lack of point guard success the Pacers have had. There are many teams interested in Blake, and he will most likely sign with a contending team.
Other players that could be of interest:
Richard Jefferson- if worse comes to worse then...... maybe
Tracy McGrady- We all know what T-Mac can do if not injured. That's a big IF. Plus entering if 15th NBA season at 31, his best basketball could be behind him.
Michael Redd- Don't see it happening, plays the 2 guard and really doesn't fit anywhere on the Clips team
Josh Howard: No thank you
Al Harrington: Can still flat out score. Could be a nice addition to the bench.
Travis Outlaw: The Clips could consider re-signing. Explosive offensive player, but not the caliber the Clippers is looking to start at the 3.
Udonis Haslem: Reliable back-up big man. Look for the Clips to make an offer to deepen the bench.
With all that being said, I think we are going to get LeBron. Just kidding, but seriously I'm still hoping. But the Clippers can still make a splash this offseason, and maybe get one of those players. It is going to come down to a couple of things. If the Clippers are willing to trade that 8thpick, I think they can do some damage. Also, if teams decide to look elsewhere for players other than Outlaw, Gooden, Graig Smith, (who I didn't even mention) and Butler then the Clips could grab them and trade. Future looks bright with lot of options on the table for the Clippers this offseason.