PHOENIX, AZ - FEBRUARY 15: Willie Green #33 and Josh Smith #5 of the Atlanta Hawks celebrate after Green hit a three point shot against the Phoenix Suns during the NBA game at US Airways Center on February 15, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Hawks defeated the Suns 101-99. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
The Clippers announced today that they had acquired guard Willie Green from the Atlanta Hawks for the rights to Sofoklis Schortsianitis, aka MBFGC. I guess now he's no longer MY Big Fat Greek Center -- he's somebody else's Big Fat Greek Center now.
Back in June, before free agency began, as I was perusing lists of free agents that might be reasonable targets for the Clippers shooting guard needs, Green initially caught my eye. However, for some reason I seemed to think he was bigger than he actually is -- he's listed at just 6'3", making him a bit undersized for a shooting guard, and the Clippers had plenty of those guys. However, as a less expensive alternative to Randy Foye, and with Mo Williams and Foye off to Utah, Green is a pretty nice pick up. This is a guy who started full time for a playoff team in Philadelphia in 2008.
You may be wondering why this transaction was a trade instead of a simple free agent signing given that Green was an unrestricted free agent. The likely explanation is that Green had other suitors who were willing to pay more than the veteran's minimum. The Clippers are over the cap and out of cap exceptions, which limited them to minimum contracts. It was therefore structured as a sign-and-trade, with the Clippers using one of their trade exceptions. It's unclear at this point which one they used, but it may not matter at this point. The roster is getting pretty crowded, the payroll is edging up to the tax threshold, and the only decent sized exception ($2.7M for the Al-Farouq Aminu trade) will expire in December, so it's unlikely that trade exceptions will have a major role for the roster at this point.
I'll be back in a bit with more analysis both on the roster as a whole and on the payroll situation.