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Random Clipper Stuff - 12/7/11

Just a few random thoughts from another crazy post NBA lockout day, just a couple days until camps open. I couldn't figure out how to write my usual 1200 words on any one subject. Here are some things (including Chris Paul updates) that caught my eye on Twitter and in the news today, particularly as they impact the Los Angeles Clippers:

  • The big news in the Paul trade is the major backpedaling reporters are doing about the offers made by the Warriors and the Clippers. Whereas on Monday it was pretty widely reported that the Warriors had offered Stephen Curry, and first reported and then denied that the Clippers had offered Eric Gordon, as of today the word is that neither of those 2010 Team USA Gold Medalists were in fact made available; certainly not without an extension from Paul, and in the Clippers case, reportedly not under any circumstances. This latter makes a large number of Citizens in Clips Nation very happy (citizens that may be a tad delusional, I might add). The fact that the Warriors have publicly disavowed offering Curry is great news as well - the price is suddenly much lower. The Hornets may decide to wait in the hopes that offers will get better, but for now it seems like the arms race reports on Monday were exaggerated - the Clippers don't have to (and will not) mortgage the store to trade for CP3.
  • Sam Amick of SI points out something that occurred to me today as well (and a hat tip to citizen ASoMS who FanShotted this). Part of the reason that Chris Paul won't commit to an extension with the Clippers, ostensibly, is that it would cost him money versus becoming a free agent and re-signing. Fine - commit to this season and next under the current contract, without the extension. Just forego the early termination option and the one year rental becomes a two year rental, which makes a pretty big difference for a young team like the Clippers. Now, technically I don't think you could do this in any sort of binding manner - it would just be Paul committing to the team that he won't use his ETO; I don't think they can contractually remove the ETO. But if it's just about not leaving money on the table, this is one way for him to maximize his worth.
  • Richard Jefferson of the Spurs is the first acknowledged victim of amnesty. He's a small forward. Turns out the Clippers need one of those. Actually, I'm no fan of RJ, but if you look at their career stats, it's pretty tough to tell him apart from Caron Butler. Now, Jefferson has had a steep decline in San Antonio, that much is true. But if we're discounting players based on recent history, at least the dude's been on the court. He's missed two games in the last four seasons, while Butler has missed 100 (that's right, 100). Am I supposed to be more afraid of Jefferson's productivity drop than I am of Butler's injury issues? I don't think either is a great fit for the LAC, but reports have the Clippers offering about $7M per to Butler; in amnesty auction, can you get him for a fraction of that? Don't you have to consider that?
  • Speaking of small forwards, Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted that Butler would choose between MLE money ($5M per) being offered by the Bulls and the Spurs or bigger offers ($7M per) from the Clippers and Nets. Woj says that Butler prefers the Bulls at the lower price point and the Clippers at the higher one, but apparently he'll need to decide if he's willing to make less to play for a team that's ready to compete for a ring now. Ric Bucher was also tweeted that Shane Battier is likely headed to Miami. Battier has been off the Clippers radar, likely for this very reason - it seems he's intent on chasing a ring.
  • I find it funny that we're getting reports of free agent signings at this point, three days before free agency begins on Dec. 9th. In a normal season, there's a one week moratorium on signings at the beginning of July during which the negotiations begin, but of course many if not most of the important signings are announced long before the moratorium is lifted. When the NBA allowed teams to begin talking to FAs before the 9th, they specifically said that no written or verbal commitments could be made during this time. It was always a joke - not sure how you can keep a negotiation from arriving at a verbal commitment if that's where it wants to go - but now we're seeing just how much of a joke it was. Jason Kapono to the Lakers for the min - only of course there's no commitment of any kind, because that is not allowed.
  • With the arrivals of Eric Gordon, Chris Kaman and Trey Thompkins today, I believe that every Clipper under contract or Clipper draft pick has made an appearance in Playa Vista this week. If they can just get restricted free agent DeAndre Jordan sorted out (and maybe but less likely Craig Smith) then it will be a complete set.
  • I think I retweeted something on this yesterday, but the age limit question has been deferred in the new CBA. That means that the age limit will remain 19 for the time being, which means that the 2012 draft will be absolutely loaded, both with those players who stayed in college this year to avoid the lockout (the class of 2010 "Two and Throughs") and those players who entered college this season from a very rich high school classe (the class of 2011 "One and Dones"). That makes Minnesota's unprotected first round pick the Clippers hold incredibly valuable, as we thought and hoped it would be.
  • I've now seen a couple of scenarios where reporters are suggesting that teams would include restricted free agents in deals via a sign-and-trade. DeAndre Jordan is of course one of those, as he might be coveted by the Hornets in a deal for Chris Paul (and his name also comes up in Dwight Howard trade scenarios, but that seems beyond unrealistic at this point). Likewise I'm now seeing Jeff Green mentioned as a piece the Celtics could include in a possible Paul trade. One HUGE problem with this, it seems to me - these guys are RESTRICTED. Neither Jordan nor Green are maximum players - far from it - which by definition means that they could very easily end up overpaid. Possibly significantly so. What happens if you have a trade that includes an RFA, and then that RFA comes back with a ridiculous offer sheet? Or in a more sinister vein, what if another team knows you've got that trade lined up, and throws a stupid offer at the RFA just to mess with you? We well know here at Clips Nation that a huge offer sheet to DJ could cause serious heartburn for Neil Olshey - should he match or not? How can anyone seriously discuss him as a trade chip when you have no idea (and little control) over how much he'll be paid? Green is an even more extreme case - let's face it, the reason he's not in Oklahoma City anymore is because they didn't want to pay him. Why would the Hornets?