I originally typed in contenders because that is what all teams should be aiming for...but decided to eschew that route in the headlines because the only option I could think of was LBJ or DWade. Ignoring possibilities (i.e. 99% sure that DWade will stay in Miami) what do you think it will take for the Clippers to hit the playoffs?
No max money should be given to anyone who doesn't make the team an instant contender. If the Clippers strike out, they are in an interesting enough position to make it to the playoffs now (by adding solid non-max pieces) and grow into a contender with the youth core (possibly thinking too highly of the rooks, but I feel that BG will be a top PF soon).
MAX MONEY = INSTANT CONTENDER:
- LeBron James (SF) obvious.
- Dwyane Wade (SG) is fringe considering he will take over the SG and move an important weapon in EJ to the bench (that actually might be a good thing according to some people). That actually doesn't sound bad BD, Dwade, AFA, BG and Kaman, with EJ being the sixth man.
- Dirk Nowitzki (PF) maaaybe, just mayyybe. Especially if he can somehow play the 3 again, but he's older and less mobile than he was before
MAX MONEY =GUARANTEED PLAYOFFS BUT NOT WORTH IT:
- Chris Bosh, Carlos Boozer, Amare Stoudemire (PF) are not going to make them contenders and it remains to be seen but I think BG will be as good as any one of them within two years
- Rudy Gay (SF) will not make them a contender (which is why no max money should be offered).
- Joe Johnson (SF) will not make them a contender (which is why no max money should be offered).
- Paul Pierce (SF) he's getting old, doubtful he can take them to the Finals, but likely to playoffs.
SOLID FREE AGENTS WHICH MAKE THE PLAYOFFS A POSSIBILITY:
- Josh Childress (SF) good solid player, who I think will play well once he's back in the states. May have even gotten better in the EuroLeague.
- Mike Miller (SG/SF) has been injury ridden the last season and a half, but was a solid player prior. He's willing to be a 3rd option, but has looked a little too passive lately (good FG%, not sure why he doesn't shoot more).
- Linas Kleiza (SF) same as Childress. He tore it up in Europe with 17ppg, 48% FG, 35% from 3 and 6.5 rebounds.
- John Salmons (SG) good scorer, but not a natural SF and if he plays SG, will move EJ to the bench.
- Josh Howard (SF) similar situation as Mike Miller, but more recent injuries and less court vision.
FREE AGENTS THAT WILL HELP, BUT MAY NOT GIVE THE PUSH NECESSARY TO FEEL CONFIDENT ABOUT PLAYOFFS:
- Tracy McGrady (SF) past his prime and it is uncertain whether he will ever get back, big time gamble.
- Matt Barnes (SF) good glue guy that can play ahead of Aminu until he shapes into form.
- Richard Jefferson (SF) if he opts out, STAY AWAY
Overall of anything outside of "Instant Contender," I think the "Solid Free Agents" route makes the most sense at the moment. I really like Mike Miller and think he makes the most sense. Josh Howard would be a gamble, but possibly a cheap low risk one. Childress and Kleiza make sense if their contracts are reasonable (i.e. around $6mm a year).