According to Marc Stein, the Los Angeles Clippers will sign Bobby Simmons to a 10 day contract after the All Star break. It makes sense, but it doesn't mean that the Clippers are done trying to improve their roster by any means.
When J.R. Smith was still a free agent and considering the Clippers as a possible destination, we went in some detail through the possible routes General Manager Neil Olshey could take to shore up his roster. The first choice was to get Smith, and it made sense to await his decision before moving on any other option. Once Smith signed with New York, the Clippers had to look elsewhere. Smith made it official with the Knicks on Friday, February 17th -- that same day, the Clippers worked out seven wings from the D-League and elsewhere, including Simmons.
So why did they wait over a week before pulling the trigger on a 10 day contract? Probably just because of the All Star break. Ten day contracts are an economical way to give a player a tryout on a team, but it doesn't make much sense to sign a player to a 10 day contract and then give him half of those days off.
Simmons is a former Clipper who had two terrific seasons with the team, including 2004-2005 when he won the NBA's Most Improved Player award. He parlayed that season into a big free agent contract with Milwaukee, and has never come close to that level of performance since (injuries had a hand in the drop off). He's been playing well for the Reno Bighorns of the NBDL, averaging 13.5 points and 7.6 rebounds per game, while shooting 51% from the field and 43% from the three point line (that last number no doubt caught Olshey's eye).
But Simmons remains a long shot to help the team significantly. He hasn't played in the NBA since two games in the opening months of last season and hasn't been a productive NBA player in much longer than that. So the Clippers will continue to look to improve the roster through other means.
There are two significant dates coming up for that purpose. The first is this Thursday, March 1. That's the day that a whole slew of players who signed as free agents before the beginning of the season will become trade eligible. Even if the Clippers aren't interested in one of those players per se, the date is significant because it will give all 30 NBA teams more trade flexibility, to match on salaries, to move pieces, etc. Basically, everyone is waiting until the first, and nothing will happen before then. At that point, there will be two weeks until the real deadline, the March 15th trade deadline. Whether the Clippers try to acquire a player with one of their trade exceptions, or move an expiring contract like Randy Foye, those deals will be negotiated between March 1 and March 15.
That will allow the team time to audition Simmons, signing him to a second 10 day contract if necessary. After two 10 day contracts, a player must be released or signed for the remainder of the season -- but by the time the Clippers have to make that decision on Simmons, the trade deadline will have passed and they will either have made a move or not (another reason Olshey waited until now to sign Simmons).
So for now, it will be nice to have a familiar face around the team, and hopefully Simmons can contribute something. But hopefully the team will have a better solution available soon. We'll know by March 15.