As expected, the Los Angeles Clippers have signed a free agent point guard to a 10 day contract to provide depth behind Darren Collison at the position during the absence of the injured Chris Paul. The Clippers need to preserve as much salary as possible to use on an additional big man, which will be much more important in the playoffs than what will amount to a third string emergency point guard assuming the team remains relatively healthy after Paul's return in six weeks, so a 10 day contract was the obvious solution.
The point guard du jour walked into a familiar environment about 90 minutes before tip off for tonight's game between the Clippers and the Orlando Magic, albeit into an unfamiliar locker room. The Clippers signed Darius Morris, who spent two seasons with the Lakers after being drafted in the second round in 2011, 41st overall. He began this season in Philadelphia with the 76ers, but was waived in November.
Morris has good size for a point guard at 6'4, and has made 38-99 from three point range in his NBA career, which is a nice bonus if he can match that rate as a Clipper. But he's never been the best at taking care of the ball, averaging two turnovers for every three assists as a pro.
Morris is almost certainly a rental -- for 10 days or at most 20 days. Bear in mind that CBA rules allow teams to sign a player to two 10 day contracts in a season, but after that the player must be released or signed for the remainder of the season. If things don't work out with Morris at all, he'll be gone after 10 days and the Clippers will try someone else. If he plays well and the Clippers like him, they'll sign him to a second 10 day contract and release him after that. If he plays out of his mind and the Clippers love him, they'll sign him to a second 10 day contract and still release him after that. At this point, it's pretty difficult to imagine a scenario in which Morris is on the Clippers three weeks from now.
Of course, that would not preclude the Clippers bringing him back at some future date. But they won't pull the trigger on a guaranteed contract for any point guard until after the All Star Break at the earliest.
Which means Morris is first up in a game of "musical backup point guards." After he's gone, the Clippers will look to sign another free agent point to a couple of 10 days. And that could take them to the All Star break, at which point they'll cross their fingers and hope they no longer have a need for more backup point guards, because they'll have one named Darren Collison backing up a healthy Chris Paul.
Don't be surprised if Morris gets a little burn tonight, depending on game situation, just to get his feet wet.