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Korolev is Dissed

The Clippers did not exercise the third year option on Yaroslav Korolev, or as I like to call him Y8K, meaning that the 19 year old Russian will be a free agent after this season.

For those of you who don't follow the minutiae of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, for Y8K's draft class of 2005 the contract for a first round draft pick changed from a 3 year deal with a team option for a 4th, to a 2 year deal with 2 separate 1 year team options.  

Dunleavy and the organization say that he still figures in their plans, and hope to re-sign him next summer for less.  But this is as good as an admission of guilt.  "We blew it.  We drafted an 18 year old who wasn't even playing on the A-Team of his European squad, and who wasn't on anyone's radar at the 12th pick.  Sorry about that.  That's our bad."

The thing that really baffles me about this is, why didn't the Clippers just leave the kid in Russia for a couple more years?  It was painfully obvious he wasn't ready last year, he's not in the plans this year, and now he'll be a free agent.  If he had stayed in Russia, the Clippers would have retained his rights for WHEN he was ready.  At this point, even if he could be good, there's no guarantee that he'll be a Clipper.  

The organization just wasted about $3.7M (his combined salary from last year and this year) on this kid with a high likelihood that they'll get zero return on the investment.  But the good news is, they just freed up about $2.7M (next year's salary) to pay Kaman and Livingston.