Earlier Thursday, the Los Angeles Clippers announced that they had agreed to terms with free agents Jamal Crawford and Chauncey Billups. Billups, who started all 20 games that he played in last season for the Clippers before injuring his achilles, will return to his starting post while Crawford, the 2010 6th Man of the Year, brings size, skill, and experience to the Clippers guard reserves.
Billups and Crawford are both good passers (5.5 and 3.9 assists career average, respectively), which makes for a huge upgrade over Randy Foye (2.2 per night with the Clippers last season) and Nick Young (0.9 assists per game career average). Crawford brings size to the backcourt rotation at 6'5".
Chauncey's deal is expected to be worth 4.3 million next season, but the contract will be loaded with performace-based bonuses. This way, if Chauncey doesn't play due to injury, the Clippers can save money on the deal.
Jamal's deal, on the other hand, is still unannounced, but my understanding is that the contract is to be worth
24 million over four seasons, with team options on the last two seasons. Crawford's contract, like Billups', is filled with incentives to ensure he plays well.
Update by LJ 6:42 PM: The LA Times reports that Crawford's deal is worth 21.7 million dollars over 4. The guarantees on years 3 and 4 are uncertain.
This deal is good for the Clippers for a few reasons: if Crawford doesn't play well, then they put up with him for this season, decline the option, and flip him as an expiring in the summer. If he plays well, then they can keep him around on a fairly small deal for however long he can sustain his play. If the deal in fact contains two team options, it's a no-lose situation. But that's not for certain.
There are still a couple issues for the Clippers to work out in free agency. They need to decide what to do with Nick Young. Bring him back? Sign-and-trade? Let him walk? The Clips need to finish off the Reggie Evans trade, and then look for a backup SF and C to round out the roster. Right now? It doesn't look too bad.