With free agency opening tonight at 12:01 eastern time and 9:01 pacific, here's everything you need to review from our off-season prep over the last few weeks:
The Clippers' depth chart is as follows:
|Point Guard||Chris Paul||Slot 1||Lester Hudson|
|Shooting Guard||J.J. Redick||Jamal Crawford||C.J. Wilcox|
|Small Forward||Slot 2||Lance Stephenson||---|
|Power Forward||Blake Griffin||Slot 3||Slot 4|
|Center||Slot 5||Slot 6||---|
Essentially, there's 5 slots that need filling.
Slot 1 is backup point guard. The obvious choice is Austin Rivers, the coach's son who played the position last season for the Clippers. They can sign him for just over $3 million using his limited bird rights, compared to having to use the minimum for any other player.
You can read about Austin's situation here, in the Offseason Primer.
You can read more about Austin, and about potential other free agent point guards here, in "What Free Agents Could the Clippers Pursue this Off-Season".
Slot 2 is starting small forward. Doc Rivers expressed that he expects Lance Stephenson to be a utility player off of the bench, leaving the starting position wide open after Matt Barnes was traded away to acquire Stephenson. This is where the Clippers will have to consider using their mMLE or patching the hole via trade. Otherwise, it will be filled by a minimum signing, or Lance will have to step into the starting role despite Doc's vision.
You can read about the small forward position here, in "What Free Agents Could the Clippers Pursue this Off-Season.
Check out "Thinking Outside the Box: Split the mMLE" for a proposal to add two high-upside small forwards to the roster.
Slot 3 is backup power forward. This is Glen Davis' role and he's probably better as a 4th big than any other minimum player the Clippers will find. They can re-sign him for the minimum, or give him a raise up to 104.5% of the league average salary, which should end up being just over $5 million.
For more about Big Baby's situation, read the Off-Season Primer.
Slot 4 is reserve forward, which will likely be Branden Dawson. He will be signed to a non-guaranteed rookie minimum contract if the team chooses to keep him.
Slot 5 is starting center, which belongs to DeAndre Jordan. Jordan is being courted by multiple teams who will offer him maximum contracts, and he'll meet with them this week.
For everything on DJ's status, check out "The Cap Reality of DeAndre Jordan's Free Agency", "Don't Hit the Panic Button Yet on DeAndre Jordan", "Life Without DeAndre", "It's Time to Talk Contingency Plans", "DeAndre Jordan Will Meet With Clippers Last", and "DeAndre Jordan's Contract Options". There's more DeAndre free agency talk than you ever needed.
Should Jordan leave, here's a list of potential replacements using the full mid-level exception.
Slot 6 is third big and backup center, which the Clippers sorely need after Spencer Hawes was traded following a disappointing first season in L.A. Glen Davis provides good energy, but he can't play center.
It's been a ton of fun gearing up for free agency over the course of the last month, and now it's about to get crazy for the next two weeks or so. Read up, and get ready, cause it's gonna be a crazy ride and we'll be on every rumor and story as they come.