We've been following a lot of other stories pretty closely, and watching the free agent signings of the day, but it turns out this is a Los Angeles Clippers blog, so I guess maybe we should focus on the Clippers for a bit today also.
Training camp opened at today at 3 PM in the Clippers training facility in Playa Vista. The Clippers have an advantage over many other teams as they enter camp in that they have so many returning players and such a relatively full roster. Even free agent signee Caron Butler was present and accounted for at the very first practice.
In all, the Clippers have 18 players on their training camp roster as of today. Of those, five of them are camp invites from the D-League, not expected to make the team, but you never know. You can read more about the in the Clippers press release. Of the five, Blake Ahearn is the best known - he's been a D-League standout for years, and is constantly on the short list of guys who could get called up to the show. He's played a few NBA games for the Heat and the Spurs.
Of the other 13 players, ten were with the team last season. In addition to those ten, they have Butler and their two second round draft picks, Travis Leslie and Trey Thompkins.
Here's the full roster:
|NO.||PLAYER||POS.||HT.||WT.||BIRTHDATE||PRIOR TO NBA/COUNTRY||YRS|
|3||Al-Farouq Aminu||F||6'9"||215||9/21/90||Wake Forest/USA||1|
|2||Blake Ahearn||F||6'3"||190||5/27/84||Missouri State/USA||2|
|21||Marcus Hubbard||F||6'9"||229||12/23/83||Angelo State/USA||R|
|35||Chris Kaman||C||7'0"||256||4/28/82||Central Michigan/USA||7|
|24||Adam Koch||F||6'8"||255||5/4/88||Northern Iowa/USA||R|
|27||Renaldo Major||G/F||6'6"||210||5/7/82||Fresno State/USA||1|
The Clippers also conducted some business today.
They officially signed Caron Butler. The deal has previously been reported at
8 3 years and $24M.
They officially signed draft picks Travis Leslie and Trey Thompkins. Although I've seen no details yet, these are no doubt make good minimum contracts - unguaranteed unless they make the team.
In addition to Leslie and Thompkins, second year player Willie Warren's contract is also unguaranteed. In others words, ten of the players in camp have guaranteed contracts and will be on the team on opening day barring an unforeseen amnesty waiver or some other similar surprise. The Clippers invariably carry 14 players on their roster to begin the season. Reserving one spot for DeAndre Jordan, that means that Leslie, Thompkins, Warren, the camp invites and any other future free agent signings are fighting for four roster spots.
The thin spot on the depth chart at present is on the front line. Blake Griffin and Chris Kaman, backed up by Brian Cook and combo forwards like Ryan Gomes and Al-Farouq Aminu are the only bigs assured of being on the team when the season starts. DeAndre obviously helps there, but they made need an experienced power forward as well.
Speaking of Clipper transactions and power forwards, the team also renounced their rights to free agents Craig Smith, Ike Diogu and Jamario Moon today. This was done to clear their cap holds in order to have money available to sign Butler. With Butler, Gomes and Aminu all there to play the three, Moon is gone gone. But either Smith or Diogu (not both) could be re-signed to provide that needed front court depth.
We've already mentioned a couple of times that DeAndre Jordan is the biggest item on the to do list right now. The scuttlebutt is that the Golden State Warriors are prepared to offer the restricted free agent a four year deal starting at $10M per season, which with the maximum allowable raises for a non-Bird free agent comes out to about $42.8M over the four years. The Clippers were rumored to have put an offer of 5/$40M on the table already, so the Warriors offer will force them to decide how much higher they will go to retain Griffin's BFF.