NBA Free Agency: Clippers Maintain Flexibility, Trade for J.J. Redick and Jared Dudley


News broke earlier today regarding a three-team sign-and-trade deal which sends J.J. Redick and Jared Dudley to the Los Angeles Clippers, Caron Butler and Eric Bledsoe to the Phoenix Suns, and two second round picks to the Milwaukee Bucks.

This trade makes sense on all fronts. The Clippers get their long-term starters at SG and SF, the Suns get a PG to build around and an expiring contract, and the Bucks get some picks and a TPE for nothing. So it's the rarest of rares: a win-win-win trade, which almost never seems to happen in this league.

The good news with this is that the Clippers are now in pretty good shape, but they still have some flexibility. LAC still hasn't touched their mid-level exception, which can allow them to offer up to $5.15M to a free agent. Now that the Clippers appear set on the wings, that MLE could go to a backup big man.

Here's what the depth chart looks like:

Point Guards Chris Paul --- Maalik Wayns
Shooting Guards J.J. Redick Jamal Crawaford Willie Green
Small Forwards Jared Dudley Reggie Bullock DaJuan Summers
Power Forwards Blake Griffin --- ---
Centers DeAndre Jordan --- ---

Assuming that Lamar Odom comes back for the minimum, the Clippers' only real needs are a backup PG and a backup C. It also would probably be a good idea to bring back Ryan Hollins as a 5th big.

Since there's a pretty large amount of backup point guards available, and the Clippers are obviously well off with Paul as their starter, they can use the MLE on a big man. Samuel Dalembert has been mentioned as a possible candidate, as well as former Clipper Chris Kaman. Carl Landry is scheduled to have dinner with the Clippers tonight.

The only issue here is the hard cap. Once a team either uses the non-taxpayer mid-level exception OR receives a player in a sign-and-trade deal, the apron becomes their hard cap. The apron is defined as $4M over the tax line (for this season, $75.6M).

I don't know the exact math right now, but the Clippers need to stay under the apron no matter what. So, to summarize, current team salary + Odom's contract + MLE has to either be equal to or less than the apron. For example, if the Clippers only have $4M left under the apron after re-signing Lamar, they can only offer $4M of their MLE to a free agent.

Back to Redick and Dudley, I'm excited about this deal. The Clippers get their long-term wing starters, and both are on very cap-friendly deals. Redick's new contract is reported to be at $27M over four seasons, which is less than he was projected to be getting this summer. Dudley's contract is locked in at $4.25M a year for the next three, with an ETO on the last season. Redick is 29 years old while Dudley will turn 28 on July 10th.

Erik O should have some more analysis on this tonight, and I'll be back tomorrow to talk numbers.

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