May 19, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; San Antonio Spurs guard Daniel Green (4) guards Los Angeles Clippers point guard Mo Williams (25) in the second half of game three of the Western Conference semi finals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at the Staples Center. San Antonio Spurs won 96-86. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-US PRESSWIRE
Obviously I haven't been around a lot lately. I've been dealing with a personal issue that shall remain personal, and then, in the midst of that trauma, my back went out on me on Monday afternoon. I've spent the last two days flat on my back in bed. This is the first time that I've been able to sit up enough to kind of use a laptop. The back is still pretty dicey, but usually it gets worse until it starts getting better, so hopefully now that I can sit up I'll be improving steadily for the next few days. I've got a five day canyoneering trip planned for mid-July, so that's not looking real great right now, but fingers crossed.
Thanks to citizen LJ Hann for keeping things moving forward around here. Overall I suppose it's good that the Clippers have a relatively minor role in Thursday's draft, or I'd have really been missing out on stuff. But even with just one late second round pick, the draft is a big day, when many deals go down, and those deals have already started to happen. And of course there are plenty of other Clipper-related items that aren't necessarily tied directly to the draft, but that will be happening in short order, hopefully within the next few days.
And just as Clips Nation is entering the draft more or less without the lead blogger, so to are the Clippers entering the draft without a General Manager. Again, it's just the 53rd pick which in most cases is not even a player you expect to make the team, so the good news is that they can't screw up the pick too badly. But there are also deals to be made, and no GM to make them.
The fact that the team is waiting until after the draft to make a decision on a new GM doesn't surprise me in a way. I remember two seasons ago when the head coaching position was vacant, Neil Olshey always implied that he would rather get through the draft without a coach, because it would be one fewer voices in the room. I suppose that could be what is going on here: Vinny Del Negro, Andy Roeser and Gary Sacks will make this pick, and the new GM will have to live with it, and why bring him on before the draft if you don't really want him to have a say anyway.
But free agency and trades are another matter. One presumes that if having a GM is important, it would be important to have him in place to make those deals that are going to shape the team next season. Blake Griffin isn't so much the issue -- having a contract extension ready for him to sign is a no-brainer regardless of who is in charge. But acceptable return for Mo Williams (or some other trade) and what external free agents to pursue -- these are big decisions that the new GM should be a part of.
So here's hoping that the GM position will be filled very, very soon. Unfortunately, it seems like maybe that will not be the case. According to Ramona Shelburne "Sources expect that the ad hoc arrangement [of Del Negro, Roeser and Sakcs] will continue running Clippers business through the draft and at least the early part of free agency." Yikes. Why even hire a GM if he's not going to be involved in putting the team together?
As for the big trade rumor, flipping Mo Williams for Lamar Odom makes a certain sense on the surface. Certainly Lamar fills a need on the roster more than Mo does. The huge, obvious problem of course is that Lamar was beyond terrible last season, and is pretty much sure to be just as terrible playing anywhere he's not happy. The Clippers would put him back in L.A. and no doubt simplify his reality-TV life, but does he really want to play for the Clippers again? The bottom line is that if Mo is determined to opt in (which is still not certain but will be known on Saturday at the latest) the Clippers really need to flip him for something that fills a need better. On paper, they could do much worse than Odom in terms of talent and need. But if Lamar is going to be a no-show as he was in Dallas, then obviously it's not a win.
Hopefully my back holds up and I'll be able to be around more in the next couple of weeks -- at least until I head off to the canyons of Utah. Meanwhile, keep up the good work around here Citizens. The next few weeks are big.