According to Dan Woike of the Orange County Register, the Clippers will sign rookie big man Diamond Stone to a contract today:
#Clippers will sign rookie Diamond Stone today, per a source— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) July 14, 2016
Stone was picked 40th in the 2016 NBA Draft last month. Due to the Clippers' cap situation, his contract will be for the rookie minimum:
Stone's deal will be for rookie minimum of $543,471. Second year $905,249. Waiting to hear on what's guaranteed https://t.co/6JQb2n2UFM— Lucas Hann (@LucasJHann) July 14, 2016
The Clippers have no cap room or exceptions left to offer Stone, meaning the only way to sign him is using the minimum salary exception, which runs for a maximum of two years at the amounts above.
Woike has since reported that both years of Stone's deal will be guaranteed. This isn't standard practice (the Clippers gave Branden Dawson a non-guaranteed 2-year deal last summer) but with the way that second-round picks have been given big paydays this summer, it isn't altogether surprising to see the Clippers do what they can for their guy:
Both years of Diamond Stone's deal will be guaranteed, per a source.— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) July 14, 2016
In the Clippers' 5 games at the Orlando Summer League, Stone averaged 24.4 minutes, 10.4 points, and 5.6 rebounds while shooting 52.3% from the field. He's a gifted scorer down low and in the mid-range, but he needs to add strength to make up for his lack of elite size or athleticism. Stone was often bullied down low in the Summer League and fouled out of one game, recording 10 fouls in 17 minutes. Hitting the weight room will help him defend and rebound more capably.
Unlike Brice Johnson, the Clippers' first-round pick, Stone doesn't project as a rotation player right away. He'll take a year or two to develop before make-or-break time.
This will give the Clippers 14 contracts on the books, although Branden Dawson's deal is fully non-guaranteed. Right now 39th pick David Michineau is slotted into the Clippers' 15th and last roster spot, but they could also look to add a veteran, which would mean cutting ties with one of those two young guys. Fortunately, the roster doesn't have to be trimmed to 15 until opening night, giving Doc Rivers plenty of time to make a decision.