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Three Veteran Minimum Free Agent Wing Targets

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This is an examination of three different wing players who the Clippers might go after in free agency, all of whom will make the veteran minimum or a little above: Alonzo Gee, Rasual Butler, and Dorell Wright.

Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Alonzo Gee

Size: 6'6, 225 pounds

Age: 28

Seasons in NBA: 6

Played for: Spurs, Wizards, Cavaliers, Nuggets, Trailblazers

Career Statistics: 7.3/3.3/1.1 and 0.9 steals in 22.8 minutes per game on 42.5/33.2/77.0 shooting

Three years ago, Alonzo Gee was coming off a breakout season with the Cleveland Cavaliers at age 25. He had the makings of a solid defensive player who could knock down open shots, and was terrific on the fast break. Unfortunately, that was his career year in points, rebounds, assists, and steals per game. He remained on the Cavaliers for another two seasons before ending up with the Nuggets this past year. Shipped to the Trailblazers mid-season, he only saw occasional minutes for the rest of 2015.

The main reason for Gee's failure to hold a consistent role is his unreliable outside shooting. As a career 33% three point shooter, that seems just good enough to make teams worry about him, but it is not. He has never been able to make teams regularly pay for leaving him open.

Now, playing on a team with Chris Paul and Blake Griffin tends to give players better opportunities for success than they had elsewhere, and Gee would probably be no exception. If he came to the Clippers, I think he could make 35% of his three pointers, which is enough to make him playable off the bench.

Gee always performs with high energy and plays solid man to man defense, especially on the perimeter. He is just large and athletic enough to hold his own against most opponents, and would be the Clippers' best chance against a Durant or LeBron. His long arms and activity usually snags him one or two fast break dunks a game, which can be very valuable in giving a team momentum.

Alonzo Gee is not going to explode off the bench for 20 points, nor will he bring dazzling playmaking ability. He is a limited scorer and passer. However, he would be a solid piece to have as the 9th or 10th man getting spot minutes when the time is right, and a player who can step in immediately if an injury occurs.

Finally, Gee is by all accounts a great guy and teammate. At the Clippers-Blazers game in March I saw him having an extended conversation with Doc Rivers, and the two appeared to be having some good laughs. If he has a real relationship with Doc, a free agent signing might be more likely.

Fun Fact: Dion Waiters said Gee was his best teammate on the Cavaliers.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AQKAvTUFCh8

Rasual Butler

Size: 6'7, 215 pounds

Age: 35

Years in NBA: 13

Teams played for: Heat, Hornets (Pelicans), Clippers, Bulls, Raptors, Pacers, Wizards

Career Statistics: 7.8/2.5/0.8 and 0.4 steals in 22 minutes per game on 40.2/36.3/74.9 shooting

Butler is a journeyman who has had a bit of a late career renaissance. After falling out of the NBA in 2013, he was a rotation player for most of this past season for the Wizards, and was a huge part of their early success. His numbers dipped as he cooled off and his body wore down, but his end of season statistics were still solid for a bench player.

Butler is seven years older than Gee and so has no upside, but he has one fairly bankable talent, which is three point shooting. When Butler gets hot, he can make them in droves, even while contested, and he is consistent enough to drain open shots frequently.

His issue is that he can't do much of anything else at this stage. He is too slow to attack off the dribble unless the lane is wide open, and is a bit of a ball stopper. His defense isn't horrific, especially off the ball, but he is no help against any of the top perimeter players in the game, as he is both relatively slow and not solidly built enough to bang in the post.

What Butler can do is make shots, which is something that every single team needs. He would do little more than stand around the perimeter and wait for the ball on the Clippers, but that actually makes him a good complement to a player such as Lance Stephenson, who likes having the ball in his hands.

Butler not only played on the Clippers years ago with DeAndre and Blake, but was also a key role player on Chris Paul's New Orleans teams in the mid-2000s, and was close to Chris back then. It seems like he would be an excellent fit for this Clippers' team.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NTyDeSdBTRE

Dorell Wright

Size: 6'9, 205 pounds

Age: 29

Years in NBA: 11

Teams played for: Heat, Warriors, 76ers, Trailblazers

Career Statistics: 8.4/3.8/1.5 and 0.8 steals in 22.4 minutes per game on 42.5/36.5/80.6 shooting

Dorell Wright came out of high school in 2005 and barely played for two years on the Miami Heat. After four seasons of middling rotation play, Wright suddenly found himself starting and putting up big numbers on the Golden State Warriors. However, he has since fallen off the map, largely due to sitting on the bench in Portland.  Purely by resume, Wright is one of the more impressive vet minimum candidates on the market who is still in his prime, as his sudden career collapse has depressed his value.

Simply put, Wright hasn't received many minutes over the past couple years, but is a very interesting fit in the new NBA and its emphasis on small ball. At 6'9, Dorell is tall enough to play the four, and while he is too slim to really guard guys like Zach Randolph or Blake Griffin, his length can disrupt shots.

His big issue during his Portland tenure was partially due to ineffectiveness his first year, but mostly because they had a bunch of younger wing guys who needed minutes. On the Clippers, Wright would have no such problems, and would immediately slot into a backup role at the 3/4.

Wright is not quite the defender Gee is, or the shooter Butler is, but a happy medium of the two, and he is a better playmaker or passer than either, averaging 3 assists per game in his best year on the Warriors. Getting him off the bench for a minimum deal would be very nice for a Clippers team which has tried similar players in the past: Danny Granger, Grant Hill, and Jared Dudley.

In terms of locker room fit, Wright may not have the connections of Rasual Butler, but he is a well-known and respected veteran who seems pretty popular with teammates.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_NojGTbnn5I

So which of these three would you prefer on the Clippers? Or none at all? Leave comments below!