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Au revoir, l'arreter du Kobe

Here are a couple other takes on the Clippers release of Ruben Patterson today.  No surprise that Kevin at ClipperBlog thinks it's the right move as does Kelly Dwyer at Yahoo.  I found the AP story pretty strange:  

The Clippers waived forward Ruben Patterson on Thursday, hours after he helped them beat the Nets in New Jersey for the first time in nearly 10 years.

Hours after helping them beat the Nets?  Well, yes, I suppose.  40 or so hours is 'hours'.  But it was fewer hours after he played 6 minutes in a loss in Charlotte.  Myself, I would reserve the use of the word 'hours' for a period less than 24 (which is called a 'day'), but as far as I know there's no rule that precludes its use for longer time periods.  I suppose you could also say it was 'hours' after he scored 30 points in a win over Memphis (approximately 8890 hours, and he was playing for Milwaukee).  The point is, if he was really that valuable of an asset to an NBA team, he would have signed for guaranteed money with one of them.

The irony of course is that the self-proclaimed 'Kobe Stopper' is waived 3 days before the first meeting of the year with the Lakers.  Of course, his contract would have become guaranteed by then, so we'll just have to live without him this Sunday.

While Patterson can serve a purpose on an NBA roster, it's fairly clear that this was not the right one.  With the team shooting 42%, 28th in the league, and missing multiple scorers off and on so far this season, a 6'5" tweener who can't shoot at ALL is simply not a good fit.  And while he did score points in a few games, his tendency to BELIEVE he is a scorer only exacerbated the problem.  As Citizen John R says, every low post touch he got was was one that didn't go to Kaman.  Shooting percentage, turnover rate and future with the team all favor Kaman in that argument.

I found the comments at ClipperBlog interesting and dismaying.  Are Clipper fans really so shrill that we're going to blame this one on MDsr?  What exactly have the Clippers lost in the Ruben Patterson experiment?  Not Guillermo Diaz, who sits quietly in Anaheim awaiting a phone call.  Not Jared Jordan, who was after all traded to make room for Dan Dickau.  If the Generic Clippers had found enough offense from Kaman and Thomas and healthy versions of Maggette, Mobley and Cassell, then a Ruben Patterson to add toughness and situational defense would have been a fine addition (as indeed it looked to be in spades for a little over a week).  It didn't end up working out, but MDsr and Elgin had the foresight in August to sign a non-guaranteed contract, and now Ruben is free to go elsewhere (which he no doubt will).  From a team management standpoint, this was, as I have always said, an excellent move.  The one thing the team could not afford to do this summer was commit to significant long term contracts.  Brevin Knight and Ruben Patterson were incredible bargains given their resumes, and Brevin is only signed until 2009, while Ruben is already gone.  Meanwhile, you could not hope for a better one-year minimum signing for this team than Dan Dickau, a competent NBA point guard who can actually shoot.  As for Josh Powell, well, he wasn't expensive, and although he is signed for 3 years, it's only partially guaranteed.

Are any of these four signings big time difference makers?  Of course not.  But how many difference makers signed this off-season?  Frankly, I'd much rather have Brevin Knight for 2/$4M than Jason Kapono for 4/$24M.  Tell me Toronto isn't going to be desperate to get rid of that deal in a couple of seasons.

So credit where it's due - the waiving of Ruben Patterson, far from an indication of front office incompetence, is a testament to a shrewd off-season move.  It didn't work out but the Clippers are only a little poorer for it.

As for replacing him on the roster with Richie Frahm... well that's a different story.  But at least his contract isn't guaranteed.