FanShot

2012-13 Season Free Agency Preview: Pacific Division

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LA Clippers (40-26) Draft Picks: 2nd round 53rd overall Cap Number with Options: ~$59.3 million for 9 players (Paul, Jordan, Williams, Butler, Griffin, Gomes, Bledsoe, Thompkins, and Leslie). Options: Williams (Player Option) and Leslie (Unguaranteed). Free Agents: Foye, Young, Martin, Billups, and Evans (Unrestricted). Steve Perrin from Clips Nation answered the following questions: What are the chances that Mo Williams picks up his player option for next year, and do the Clippers want him to? Williams has stated in no uncertain terms that he will exercise his option and remain with the team, and there's no reason to believe that he wasn't being honest. So while nothing is ever completely certain until the ink is dry on the contract, it seems like a foregone conclusion at this point that he'll be back. Whether the Clippers want him to remain with the team is a different question. Williams was quite good for the Clippers last season, but there's an obvious problem. The team's best player is 6'0", the up-and-coming Eric Bledsoe is 6'1". Since Chris Paul is Chris Paul, and Bledsoe figures more prominently in the team's future plans than Williams, that leaves Mo as the least important of three small guards on the roster. Assuming he does exercise his option, the Clippers will definitely shop him in hopes of flipping him for a shooting guard or small forward that will balance the roster better. What value Williams has on the trade market is an entirely different question. Billups, Foye, and Young are all free agents. What is the priority on keeping these players, or do the Clippers have their eyes on any specific replacements? I think that the Clippers would love to keep both Billups and Young at the right price, but Foye is probably done in L.A. For Young, the "right price" would have to be less than $4.4M -- that's what they can offer him without using the mid level exception. Young lost his Bird rights when he accepted the trade to the Clippers, but even as a non-Bird free agent they can offer him up to 120% of what he made last year. It's hard to know what Billups' price tag will be, but the Clippers would like to keep him if only for his locker room presence. Foye is a Early-Bird free agent, but the bottom line is that the Clippers believe they need a different starting two guard, and the backcourt is the one spot where they're deep right now, so Foye is likely the odd man out. I can only see Foye returning if both Young and Billups move on. As for targets, Ray Allen will certainly get a phone call -- the Clippers would love a two guard with size and range, and he fits that description. Allen has the obvious downside of being well past his prime, and if they want to look at a younger player, Courtney Lee of the Rockets would seem to be a good choice, but Lee is a restricted free agent and it's unlikely the Rockets would let him go. It appears the Clippers are looking to rotate their stock at the guard positions, and I'm sure that getting bigger and younger are the ambitions of the exchange. Between Mo's skill set and expiring deal, I would anticipate that the Clippers will be able to find a willing trade partner. The Clippers don't have cap space, so the Suns will be able to make more lucrative offers to prospective free agents if they become enamored with the same players to fill their deficiencies at the 2 and 3. I could actually see Allen in LA if things go awry in Boston, but I surmise that other teams also have his phone number.

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