Greetings, this is my first fanpost although I've commented on occasion on other fanposts and game recaps/previews. I know many people are clamoring for us to make a big free agent signing this offseason with SF seeming to be at the top of everyone's wish list. The more popular names being thrown around are Tayshaun Prince, Shane Battier, and Andrei Kirilenko. Now, I'm not arguing that adding any of these three are bad basketball moves nor that these players wouldn't help this team next year. BUT, one must consider many factors if one is to make an informed decision/argument.
Monetary issues- First and foremost, how much do the players make, and will they play up to their contracts. I'm putting Gomes numbers up as a reference against the available free agents.
1 Kirilenko: 17.8 million
2 Prince: 11.1 million
3 Battier: 7.4 million
4. Gomes 4 million
The free agents will likely make less next year due to the new CBA, although Battier might be able to get a similar deal. I'm putting last years salary numbers to work under the assumption that Kirilenko will make the most next year followed by Prince then Battier. The numbers seem to support this.
AGE PPG SPG FG% 3PT% FT% REB AST TO STL BLK MPG
Kirilenko 30 11.9 8.6 46.7 36.0 77.9 5.3 3.0 1.8 1.3 1.2 31:48
Prince 31 14.2 13.0 47.1 38.2 67.8 4.5 2.7 1.1 0.3 0.6 33:12
Battier 33 8.6 4.8 45.6 39.1 64.5 4.8 2.6 1.1 0.9 1.2 30:48
Gomes 29 7.9 7.1 42.1 35.0 71.8 3.6 1.6 0.8 0.9 0.2 29:18
While Prince is the scoring leader he needs 13 shots to get his points. Kirilenko has superior numbers across the board and is a more efficient scorer. Kirilenko also has a russian billionaire publicly fawning over him so I'm going consider Kirilenko a long shot to join the Clippers. Battier is the better 3 point shooter, although Prince shoots a higher percentage overall. Niether is a good free throw shooter. Surprisingly, Battier gets more rebounds, steals, blocked shots, and an equal amout of assists in less minutes than Prince. Both will likely be signing their last big contract so length and dollars will be key. Is it prudent to sign a SF to a 4-5 year 30-40 million dollar contract when they'll be on the other side of 35 during the last years of the contract?
Roster needs/strengths- As we know SF is the weakest position on the team when it is healthy. Mo Williams, Eric Gordon, Blake Griffin, and the two headed beast of Jordan/Kaman, fill are other starting positions. If only we had a decent SF our problems would be solved. Ladies and gentleman, let me introduce to one Al-Farouq Aminu. The 20 year old rookie from Wake Forest has definitely had an up and down campaign. And no he is not ready to start on a consistent basis, but he's shown at different times this season that: He can shoot from distance, has the athletic ability and wing spand to be a good rebounder and on ball defender, can get to the rim and explode to the basket, can handle the ball on the break. He's also shown poor shot selection, an ability to get in foul trouble, that he's turnover prone, and at times completely lost in half court defensive sets. Basically he's shown he's a 20 year old rookie with ability and the potential to be a good player in the future. Why would you spend a 1st round pick #8 overall on a player and then turnaround and spend a bunch of money on his replacement the following summer? Has he really played that bad?
The wildcard- Many people are talking about Blake Grifin luring free agents here and people forgetting about the Clippers past and signing here for less money just to play with.........well forget about that argument. UNTIL BLAKE GRIFFIN SIGNS A CONTRACT EXTENSION THAT ARGUMENT IS BOGUS. What we need to do is lock up the other players like Eric Gordon and DeAndre Jordan first.
The wildcard part II- DeAndre Jordan will be a restricted free agent this summer. However Neil Oshley made reference to signing DeAndre to an extension when he traded Baron Davis for Mo Williams. Now I'm not a fan of Mo Williams, but I loved the trade. It does free up money for DeAndre because he won't be restricted, he will likely be unrestricted!!!!!!!! The new rules in the CBA will be in play for this summer's free agents. DeAndre is restricted because he wasn't a 1st round pick and has 3 years or less NBA experience The players absolutely want to eliminate restricted free agency, and the owners will likely concede on this issue.
Wildcard revisited- You know who having Blake Griffin will help recruit when it comes time to sign contracts. OUR OWN free agents. DeAndre and Blake are friends and play well together. As long as we make a fair offer and another team doesn't do something stupid we should be able to re-sign him. I'm hoping that the new CBA will help us by limiting the amount of money and length of contracts offered.
In conclusion- Don't overspend on a SF on the other side of 30, because that will hamper your flexibility going forward. Trust that AFA will improve (he' shown enough to warrant that). Using our recent past as a mirror into the future, I'd guess we'd go the cheap route again if we sign a SF. Think re-signng Jamario Moon (he's got the athletic ability to play on this team). The team has always been high on Kelenna Azubuike. He's coming off an injury, but if he's healthy he'll be cheap and he was solid in Golden State. Thaddues Young of the 76ers will be restricted, if there's restriucted free agency. Maybe a Grant Hill on a short contract, if you want vetern leadership.
My advice- When we signed Ryan Gomes it was after the draft. Based on the length of contract and dollar amount, I think the plan then was to use Gomes to hold the spot until Aminu is ready. I'd stay the course. Gomes hasn't been as bad as people make him out to be. His job isn't to score, it's to cover the high scoring SF on the other team. I'll leave you with the shooting percentages and point totals for the scoring SF against the Clippers when Gomes was top 5 in minutes played in a game.
Season vs. Clippers
PPG FG% PPG FG%
K. Durant 28.0 46.3 18.5 31%
L. James 26.2 49.8 19.5 44%
C. Anthony 25.2 45.2 30.5 57%
D. Granger 20.6 42.4 32 56%
R. Gay 19.8 47.1 12 42%
M. Beasley 19.2 45.1 20.5 41%
P. Pierce 18.9 50.3 21.5 41%
L. Deng 17.6 45.5 26 53%
J. Smith 16.6 47.3 16 37%
D. Galinari 15.9 41.5 26 42%
G. Wallace 15.6 43.3 7 29%
A. Igoudala 14.2 45.0 20 80%
C. Maggette 12.9 44.8 25 46%