I have three hours worth of AYSO soccer practice later this afternoon, followed by 16 hours of coach training this weekend (who knew youth soccer coach was a full-time job?), so if I don't get a post up now, it won't happen for a while. Of course, there's nothing to talk about, but let's do a quick recap. A recap of nothing.
Blake Griffin has now been out for three weeks after being diagnosed with a strained shoulder that would require three to four weeks of rest. I was the one telling everyone to relax when it first happened, but I'll understand if people start getting nervous if the four week mark comes and goes next week and he's still not on the court. Hopefully the Clippers understand those expectations as well. After our experience with Chris Kaman last season, the last thing we need is another big man whose healing clock is broken - or even the appearance of it. At the Panini rookie photo shoot last week, the AP wrote a little about Griffin's injury, but everyone was still downplaying it.
Speaking of Kaman, it was announced today that Dirk Nowitzki would not be playing for Team Deutschland at Eurobasket 2009 next month. There has not been, to my knowledge, any official pronouncement concerning Kaman and Germany. Back in April, the German coach was hoping he'd play but had no commitment. In July I asked GMMDsr about it, and he said he didn't know but that if he had a choice, Kaman would not play. Interestingly, it was Mark Cuban who put the kaibash on Dirk's participation. Does Dirk's absence make it more or less likely that Kaman would play? I'd say less. Without another top level talent next to him, it would not seem to make sense. He'd be trying to carry a team for which he doesn't even have a national affinity. Has anyone seen anything official on this issue?
Ramon Sessions continues to be in a holding pattern. Interestingly, it was about the time that Griffin was shut down that the Clippers were reported to be in the lead for Sessions. The truth is, New York has always been the player's preference for obvious and valid reasons, but it's also clear that neither the Knicks nor the Clippers nor any other team are willing to hand the full MLE for five years to Ramon Sessions. So we wait. We saw yet another Sign and Trade story yesterday, AFTER the Clippers used most of their trade exception on Rasual Butler. The S&T scenario made no sense before, and it makes even less sense now. The Clippers have their full $5.8M MLE and a $3.4M trade exception - so why would they use the trade exception? As for a traditional S&T involving a player, that is severely complicated by the fact that Sessions would be a base year compensation contract. It would necessarily have to involve multiple bodies. Could it happen? I suppose so, but at that point it goes into the pot with a million other trades that could happen.
Sessions would give the Clippers a very impressive 10 man rotation, and I'm not even including Mardy Collins or DeAndre Jordan in the ten. Whether they can get him at a good price remains to be seen.
As of now, assuming GMMDsr (I'm choosing to pronounce that Gommedser and to pronounce the coach Commedser) sticks with his usual 14 contract roster, there is one spot open. That spot could go to Sessions - or it could go to Steve Novak, for whom the Clippers still have a Qualifying Offer. To me, none of the other acquisition much change Novak's role. Sure, having Butler on the team reduces the need for three point shooting a bit. But Novak is a complete specialist, and is better than Butler or for that matter almost anyone else in the league at what he does. As such, certain games and/or certain situations would benefit from having him around - down three with three seconds to go comes to mind. But he's a luxury item, to have that type of specialist taking up room on the roster. On a good team, the majority of games he doesn't get off the bench. But you need him when you need him. Would GMMDsr carry a 15th contract to have that luxury? I doubt it.
The 14th spot could of course go to some random, undisclosed player acquired via trade or free agency. But the Clippers are now three deep at every position on the depth chart (of course Mardy Collins is third string at three positions, but it's nice to have a guy with that kind of versatility) and I'm assuming that the team will see how it plays out with Sessions, and then go into camp with this team without making any other big moves. Other than Sessions, Iverson, Lee and Robinson, there are only minimum guys left in free agency. I don't see adding anybody over Novak, even if it might provide a little better depth at the guards.