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Don't Forget to Tip Your Waitresses

Usually I don't take requests, but I started replying to Citizen moKi's questions on the latest trade thread, and then I realized that I might as well post it on the front page since there was some relatively important stuff in the answer.

moKi - When you say the Clips can waive Ricky Davis or Mark Madsen is that the same as a buyout? Clips pay them money to go away? Does that $$ count against cap space? Also what happened to rumors of JWill coming back? Clips still own his rights? Finally how much do the Clips now have to go after a SF and who’s still out there that you like?

Waiving a player is cutting them from the team - you get a roster spot, but you are still contractually obligated to pay them the full amount of their contract (assuming it is guaranteed, as most NBA contracts are).  A buyout is the same thing, but involves a negotiation to pay the player less than the full amount.  Why would the player agree to the buyout whether than just waiting to be waived?  If the player wanted his freedom, in order to sign with another team.  In rare cases, a player will negotiate a buyout 'out of the goodness of his heart' or because 'it's the right thing to do.'  Ben Wallace took a $10M buyout from the Suns this summer rather than sit around and collect the full $14M he was owed.  He left $4M on the table.  The buyout is the amount that counts against the salary cap in the case of a buyout.  I don't see either Davis or Madsen as great buyout candidates - I don't think there are other teams lining up to sign them, so I don't know why they would agree to a buyout.

Jason Williams is a non-issue as far as the Clippers are concerned.  Yes, they ostensibly have his rights, but they don't intend to do anything with those rights, nor do those rights have any particular value.  There's no contract value associated with him, so they can't really trade him in that important, salary-matching way.  (I suppose, going back to the Pau trade, the Clippers could use him like Aaron McKie, and sign him for some amount in order to match incoming salaries, but they have plenty of trade chips already.)  If he wants to sign with another team, I see no reason the Clippers would get in the way.

Being over the salary cap, the Clippers have the Mid Level Exception (about $5.5M) and the Bi-Annual exception (about $2M) with which to sign Free Agents.  These exceptions can't be combined, so we're really talking about $5.5M maximum.  There's not much left on the free agent market as far as small forwards go.  Jamario Moon signed an offer sheet with the Cavs, so he'll either be in Cleveland or back in Miami (the Cavs have now gone after TWO of my high-value targets, Anthony Parker and Moon).  Matt Barnes is reportedly close to a deal with Orlando.  That leaves Desmond Mason and maybe Rodney Carney as free agent forwards I'd look at.  And frankly, I'm not sure if either of them is better than Nik Caner-Medley. 

There are still a few restricted free agents out there who can play the three - Marvin Williams, Carlos Delfino, Linas Kleisza.  The problem with RFA's is that you almost have to overpay for them by definition.  If you sign a reasonable offer sheet, then the original team will likely match.  I suppose Kleisza could be had, given Denver's luxury tax issues. 

And then there's the trade exception, which is a whole different thing.

The simple fact is that the Clippers have a whole array of possibilities this summer.  I just don't think they're interested in taking on any more salary.