I have to give the Clippers front office some credit.
They were clear-eyed enough about their chances of landing LeBron James that they had already moved forward with other plans.
LeBron's televised announcement was made about 6:30 pacific time.
Within 20 minutes, I had three emails from the Clippers in my inbox.
- A statement from Neil Olshey about LeBron's decision;
- An announcement concerning the signing of Randy Foye;
- An announcement concerning the signing of Ryan Gomes.
Our goal remains unchanged. We will continue to be exhaustive and use every available resource to assemble an exciting and successful team. We have a dynamic new head coach who will lead the very talented roster we already have in place. We will use the free agent market to enhance that roster. We expect to compete at a very high level.
Look, obviously Foye and Gomes aren't in any way comparable to LeBron James. But the team isn't sitting around, pining away for what might have been, and these both look like decent pickups. I'm assuming (maybe hopeful is the better word) that neither of these were big money signing, meaning that the Clippers still have a decent chunk of change to spend.
In my plan B post last week, I recommended four priorities for the Clippers:
- A starting small forward;
- A backup wing;
- Another big;
- A backup point guard.
Foye slots in as the backup point guard, and can also play some two, which is nice. I wouldn't personally be satisfied with Gomes as the starting small forward, but he could be a decent choice as backup there and can help on the wing as well (though I'd prefer more of a pure shooter). And Sofoklis Schortsianitis, MBFGC, who I spoke with today, slots in nicely as the big. I think these are all reasonable rotation players in the NBA, and they're all relatively young (Foye 26, Gomes 27, Sofo 25). Essentially, this leaves the Clippers with one major hole, and presumably plenty of money to use to fill it. They still have plenty of roster spots, so if they find a small forward AND a shooter to spend more money on, that's OK by me.
Although it's probably not a good overall strategy to build your team with castoffs from the recent editions of the Minnesota Timberwolves (Sebastian Telfair, Craig Smith, Foye and Gomes were T-Wolves teammates in 08-09), these are not bad players.
More on Foye and Gomes tomorrow.