UPDATE: As noted in the comments below, the Clippers have apparently changed their mind on a 10 day contract and are now looking at bringing in veteran Dahntay Jones rather than Darius Miller. Neither is likely to help much, but my take is that Jones is the safer choice — he can provide some steady minutes on the wing if you need them — but does not have a lot of upside, especially given that he's 10 years older than Miller. Bottom line — Jones might be marginally better in the short term than giving minutes to Reggie Bullock or C.J. Wilcox, but he's certainly not going to be a big help.
The Los Angeles Clippers seem to be on the fringes of every NBA deal lately — or at least every deal involving the Boston Celtics. The Celtics are doing a lot of deals. and whether Danny Ainge is doing any of it with the intent of helping his old friend Doc Rivers is pure speculation.
- Let's start with what seems most certain: the Clippers are signing Darius Miller to a 10-day contract. A few twitter sources incorrectly reported this as Darius Morris, but that's impossible since Morris is already signed with the Nets. No, it's small forward Darius Miller, who played four years on some incredibly loaded Kentucky teams in college, was a second round draft pick of the Pelicans, and has been pretty unremarkable in two plus seasons in New Orleans (he was waived at the end of November). Still, he's the kind of player the Clippers should be looking at on a 10-day — small forward, good size (6'8), has three point range (35 percent in limited NBA minutes). You should never expect much from a 10 day deal, but you never know — every once in a while one of these guys winds up in the right place at the right time.
- Next up: Nate Robinson. The Celtics sent Jameer Nelson (who they got from Dallas in the Rajon Rondo trade) to Denver for little Nate today. The Celtics have no use for Robinson, wants to play for a contender at any rate, so he'll probably take a buyout in Boston. Nate has played for Doc Rivers before, so he was immediately linked to the Clippers. This one seems pretty likely to heppen. If it does happen, Nate will join fellow Washington alums Spencer Hawes and C.J. Wilcox, plus another Seattle product in Jamal Crawford, on Steve Ballmer's (former president of Washington-based Microsoft) Clippers.
- Meanwhile, the Clippers are still likely to wind up with Doc's son, Austin Rivers, on the roster as well. The Celtics, who acquired him just a few days ago, don't really want him and no one else seems to either, leaving the Clippers as more or less the only interested party. This one is also likely to happen, but Rivers won't be bought out and must therefore be acquired via trade. The Clippers will need to come up with some matching salary to send out, and will likely need a third team to get involved to make it all work. Which is why this is dragging on a bit, most likely.
- Then there's Tayshaun Prince. Also part of the trade that sent Jeff Green to Memphis, Prince might also be bought out by the Celtics. Tayshaun's not the wing stopper he once was, but he's still probably better than the Clippers other options on the wing. Assuming Prince wants (a) a shot at another ring and (b) a role wherever he winds up, the Clippers would be a logical landing spot for him as well.
All this activity will require the Clippers to closely scrutinize their available roster spots and of course the salary they have under the cap. The roster stands at 14 without Miller; In order to bring in Robinson and Rivers and Prince in addition to Miller, the Clippers would have to get rid of three players under contract. They'll likely trade two to Boston for Rivers, but they may need to look for a wiling trade partner on top of that. As they did with Jared Cunningham, the Clippers can always send a million bucks or so (pocket change to Steve Ballmer) out with an unproductive player to clear a spot — but you probably don't want to do that too often.
Here's my guess as to what happens in the next few days:
Darius Miller is happening but it's just a 10 day contract so check back on that one around the 25th.
Rivers is probably happening. The Clippers will send a couple of players out as part of that deal for matching purposes. Those could be Chris Douglas-Roberts and Ekpe Udoh, but there are other candidates as well.
If indeed the Clippers swap 2-for-1 then it would open a roster spot to sign a bought out Robinson — I think that will happen.
As for Prince, I think it's a wait and see situation. First of all, there's no guarantee that he'll be bought out. Which also means that he's no more available right now than Andrei Kirilenko. Which is probably why they've moved on a 10 day for Miller — they're going to wait a big more for Prince or AK47.