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The Franchise Has Landed

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Well, those reports calling Houston the frontrunner were correct, and ClipperSteve was wrong, wrong, wrong.

Steve Francis has signed with the Rockets for 2/$6M, more or less the same deal the Clippers offered him.   Bizarrely, though Francis said that playing time was his top priority, he signed with a team that already has three healthy point guards, including two NBA starters and a first round pick.  Though there is no news of Houston dealing any of their existing ones (Rafer Alston, Mike James and Aaron Brooks), it's hard to imagine that they won't try to resolve that logjam.  It's all the more bizarre when you consider that the offense in Houston flows through T-Mac.

This leaves the Clippers with a problem.  Sam Cassell is 38, Shaun Livingston is rehabbing his knee, and Jared Jordan is a rookie (if he makes the team, that is).  There's no way that MDsr enters training camp without another veteran playmaker, but the question at this point is 'Who's left?'  Brevin Knight is the last reasonable option in free agency.  After that it's Smush Parker, Earl Boykins, Keith McLeod and Jannero Pargo, although I still like the idea of Orlando RFA Travis Diener better than any of those.  

Of course there still could be a trade.  It seems logical that one of the Houston point guards will be on the block (most likely Skip to my Lou), and Washington is shopping Juan Carlos Navarro.  Seattle would love to move either Luke Ridnour or Earl Watkins, and Sacramento still has both Mike Bibby and Ron Artest, despite the fact that those guys can't co-exist.  But the Clippers don't really have the trade assets to make anything happen unless they're simply dealing with a team desperate to move on.  Cassell and Mobley for Bibby?

At some level, I'm happy that Francis is not a Clipper.  Whereas he would probably have helped in 07-08, he was at best a short-term solution, and at worst a cancer (as 17% of you indicated in the ClipsNation poll).  I also didn't like the idea of being beholden to the likes of Francis and Mobley.  Mobley's been a great Clipper, but he's still the guy I'd most like to move.  If Francis did the team a favor and signed with his old buddy, it would be difficult to consider trading Cat.  I'm also happy because it means there's still a chance I'll see a decent amount of Subway next season.  If the Clippers can do no better than Smush Parker in free agency, then why not let Cassell and Subway run the team?