Here are my thoughts on what the 2008 opening day roster might look like. Bear in mind that anything can happen. Chris Kaman is pretty close to untouchable and he's signed for 4 more seasons. So I'm listing him at 100% to be on the team opening day. But even so, it's possible that he could be traded. The likelihood that he would be traded isn't worth spending time on. That's why I have him at 100%. Hopefully the rest of the numbers make sense.
|Elton Brand||Free Agent||95%|
|Nick Fazekas||Qual. Offer||75%|
|Marcus Williams||Qual. Offer||70%|
|Shaun Livingston||Free Agent||50%|
That's 14 names right there. For Brand and Davis, everyone is well aware of what's happening, and clearly the Clippers will try to sign both of those players. I've got Brand at a higher likelihood of being on the team, simply because if it does come down to a question of money, the Clippers will say goodbye to Baron and keep Elton.
For Jordan, Fazekas, Williams and Powell, it's really up to the Clippers. They have the rights to all four and they are all inexpensive (a crucial factor). Powell is actually one year into a three year deal, but it's not fully guaranteed. Still, it seems more than likely that all four of them will make the team.
Now it gets tricky.
Assuming that Brand and Davis sign as free agents (i.e. the Clippers have to renounce Livingston, as opposed to some best case S&T scenario), re-signing Livingston will still remain a priority. However, it's far from certain that Livingston will take the Clippers minimum salary offer, even with multiple player option years tacked on. Nonetheless, Livingston could really be a key to next season's team. He adds depth at the one through the three where the Clippers are thinnest. Of course he may not be able to play, but he's more than worth the risk as he's a great fit for the rest of the team if he can even approach full strength.
MDsr has always preferred to enter the season with 14 players under contract, leaving a roster spot open for flexibility. If they can sign Livingston, we're already likely up to 13 players, so there may only be a single spot remaining. Backup center looks a little dicey - a 19 year knucklehead (Jordan) and a 6'8" overachiever (Powell). Paul Davis remains a possibility, despite the team's refusal to extend a qualifying offer. He's got a little more size that Powell and might be a better option - remember that he was way ahead of Powell on the depth chart when he got injured last season. But I have to assume that Powell and Davis are an either / or. So there's still a roster spot, even if you replace Powell with Davis.
Point guard is the other problem area for depth. Davis is clearly the starter, and Knight can take the backup minutes, and Livingston is a wild card. But all three of those guys are injury-prone, led by Livingston who may or may not play again. So even if Livingston signs, the Clippers may be in the market for a point guard. Second round pick Mike Taylor will get a chance to show what he can do next week in Las Vegas, but he's a long shot to make the team as the 55th player drafted. Don't be surprised if the Clippers wait until October to see who gets released by other teams and try to pick up a veteran on the cheap (a la Dan Dickau and Beno Udrih last season). The Blazers are still looking at a roster glut, though I doubt that Sergio Rodriguez would hit the waiver wire.
I wonder if MDsr won't consider breaking his 'roster spot' rule, given the injury histories of his players. I'd like to see a 4th point guard, but a veteran center would be good too. And if they can't sign Livingston, they may have to replace him with two players - one point guard and one small forward.