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Something Else to Think About

For most of their history, Clippers off seasons have been defined by what they didn't do.  Traditionally, they've been quiet bystanders during free agency.  This year, while the possibility remains that they'll strike out, at least the Clippers are up at the plate taking their swings. 

But in year's past we've gotten very good at watching what was going on with the other teams, since not much was happening in LA.  That's another thing for us to be watching in this free agency frenzy.

When the Suns signed Hakim Warrick to a 4/$18M deal today, it meant that Amare Stoudemire would have to find a new NBA home after eight seasons in Arizona.  You see, the Suns had already used their mid level exception to re-sign Channing Frye (who had only been in Phoenix for one season, so they did not have his Bird rights).  With no exceptions to use on Warrick, the Suns have to sign him with cap space, which means they have to renounce Stoudemire.  So at least one big name is going to switch teams this summer.

In the hyper-competitive west, the Suns were supposed to fall off the pace last season, but of course all they did instead was advance to the Western Conference Finals.  Still, with Steve Nash and Grant Hill approaching 'oldest players in the league' status and Stoudemire moving on, surely they can't defy the odds again - can they?

The Grizzlies, who looked like a team on the rise, kept Rudy Gay, but at such a high cost that it would seem to hamper their ability to retain Marc Gasol and O.J. Mayo in the coming years. Still, Memphis can be expected to be as good or better than last season for the time being.

Unfortunately for the Clippers, most of the teams that figure to suffer the most are in the east.  Most of the biggest free agents come from Eastern Conference teams, led by the big three of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.  If those players move on (and it's all but a given with Bosh), those teams will take massive competitive hits.  Likewise, it's primarily East teams that have gutted their rosters to try to sign major free agents.  The teams that miss out will get worse as well.  So it's likely that the rich will get richer and the poor will get poorer.  Even if an Eastern team lands two superstars, it will just create a new mega team in the East while the rest of the conference slogs along in mediocrity.

Other than the the Suns, the only Western team that figures to decline is Utah, which will likely lose Carlos Boozer.