Now that the trade deadline has come and gone and the dust is beginning to settle, let's take look at the situation going forward, specifically what can the Clippers do to address the problems they couldn't solve via trades?
The Clippers didn't add a single player at the trade deadline, and in fact they lost two big men. Those big men, Antawn Jamison and Byron Mullens, weren't particularly useful, but even if they didn't lose much, they certainly didn't gain anything (other than roster spots and a little wiggle room below the hard cap).
So if the everyone knows that they still need front court help once they get to the postseason, what can they do?
Former Atlanta Hawk Ivan Johnson was recently kicked out of the Chinese league where he was playing and is back in the US. He has already worked out for the Clippers and is a likely candidate at least for a 10-day contract.
And then there's Jason Collins, the long-time NBA veteran who has made a decent career for himself doing exactly what the Clippers need, playing defense, rebounding, being a great teammate and limiting his mistakes.
Johnson and Collins and others are available now, but other options will be available soon. Some very soon. Various lottery teams were looking to trade veterans before today's deadline, to somehow turn those players into future assets. However, the market turned out to be much less willing to take on salary than in years past (the Lakers couldn't get so much as a second round pick for the likes of Jordan Hill or Chris Kaman; the Sixers could only manage two second rounders in exchange for Spencer Hawes, a 25 year old center having a career year).
Those players still left on lottery rosters who don't figure into the future plans for their team will now become candidates for buyouts. If the player is willing to give back a little of their salary in exchange for the chance at some postseason success, a buyout is usually the best solution for all concerned.
It's a fairly unsavory aspect of the NBA, really -- the haves feasting on the scraps of the have nots, aging vets who may not have been giving their all for bad teams, suddenly hitching on to playoff contenders in important roles. Boris Diaw was overweight and disinterested in Charlotte two years ago -- only to find himself starting for the Spurs in the postseason. I don't really like this nonsense: but I like it a hell of a lot more when the Clippers are the beneficiaries, as they figure to be this year.
So who is on the list? Well, how about a certain large infant who played for Doc Rivers in Boston for four seasons where he won one title and went to the Finals another time:
Orlando is working on a contract buyout with forward Glen Davis, league source tells Yahoo Sports.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) February 21, 2014
This one is essentially a slam dunk here in Lob City; when Davis and the Magic reach a buyout agreement (and really, why would they not if it's being discussed), Davis will certainly join his former coach with the Clippers.
And things move pretty quickly apparently, because as I was working on the speculation story, the buyout was completed.
Orlando and Davis have reached agreement on a buyout and parting will be official on Friday morning, league source tells Yahoo.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) February 21, 2014
No other team can offer him a bigger, better defined role -- and Davis would give Rivers the versatile big who can step away from the basket but can also defend that he has been seeking all season. This one is is gift-wrapped for Clips Nation, with a big bow on top.
Even if Davis is indeed bought out tomorrow morning, don't expect to see him in a Clippers uniform in Memphis tomorrow night. He'll have to clear waivers before the Clippers can sign him. The earliest he could join the Clippers would be Monday night in New Orleans, but I would expect him on the court no later than next Wednesday when the team returns to LA to face the Rockets.
And there will be other such opportunities. After trading for the expiring contract of Danny Granger today, Philadelphia will probably buy Granger out as well. Eight years after missing on him in the 2005 draft, might the Clippers get a chance to add Granger to their roster on the cheap for a playoff push? Granger is a less obvious fit for the Clippers, but as a floor stretching wing, he could be very useful. He's even capable of playing a small ball four. He has not had a strong return from injury -- so unfortunately it's not entirely clear that he'd be an upgrade over Jared Dudley, but I'd be interested in finding out.
So stay tuned. These buyouts have to happen before March 1 if players want to be eligible to join a different team for the playoffs. If Davis joins the Clippers on a guaranteed deal, they'll still have two roster spots available to use to sign free agents.