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Clippers Free Agency 2016: Alan Anderson Could Fill C.J. Wilcox's Spot

Anderson, if healthy, would be an ideal fit to replace the recently-traded C.J. Wilcox.

Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

When free agency opened two weeks ago, a lot was uncertain.  We didn't know about the small forward position: whether or not Jeff Green would leave the Clippers, and if they'd retain Wesley Johnson and Luc Mbah a Moute or not.  We didn't know about the general depth, and how the Clippers fared with Austin Rivers, Jamal Crawford, and their other targets could influence their pursuit of additional wing help.

What we did know, however, was that the Clippers had registered interest in Alan Anderson, a veteran SG/SF who missed much of last season with injury. That report came out in the afternoon before free agency opened.  Initially, Anderson appeared to be an option with one of the Clippers' exceptions as they scrambled to find suitable wing options.  Now, he's found himself in the bargain bin and they've found themselves in the market for a minimum-salary depth player.

Following their more major free agent signings (Rivers, Crawford, Wes Johnson, Luc Mbah a Moute), I speculated that the Clippers had 3 holes left to fill, but not enough roster spots to do so.  At the time, they had the rights to Brice Johnson (25th pick, 2016 draft), David Michineau (39th pick, 2016 draft), Diamond Stone (40th pick, 2016 draft), along with the contracts of C.J. Wilcox (28th pick, 2014 draft) and Branden Dawson (56th pick, 2015 draft).  That's a lot of young guys for a contending team!  Since then, they've manufactured roster spots by reportedly agreeing to trade C.J. Wilcox and reportedly deciding to stash David Michineau in France.

Johnson and Stone were given guaranteed contracts, and Dawson's salary is fully non-guaranteed.  Carrying 2 or 3 young players is a much more feasible task.

After their big signings, the Clippers added two veterans for the league minimum who will be big-time helpers: Marreese Speights and Raymond Felton.  Both of these players are steals at the minimum and they filled the Clippers' two biggest remaining needs: a veteran backup big man to replace Cole Aldrich and a veteran point guard to replace Pablo Prigioni.  Now that that's taken care of, if there's one area that the Clippers could still use some veteran help, it's small forward.  It's their weakest position, and it never hurts to have a third guy who's capable of breaking out and becoming the starter, as Johnson and Mbah a Moute are both fine but imperfect players.

Enter Alan Anderson.

Adding Anderson, with his injury issues, would have been a scary proposition if the Clippers were looking for a starter.  It's much more enticing to consider him as a depth option who'd likely get chances to prove himself but wouldn't be a lock for nightly minutes if he disappoints.  After not doing much early in his career and playing overseas for a while Anderson had three consecutive good seasons from 2012-13 through 2014-15.  In the two most recent years, when he was with the Brooklyn Nets, he played in 152 of a possible 164 games, and averaged 7.3 points and 2.5 rebounds in 23 minutes per game.

Best known for his defensive reputation, Anderson also is a solid shooter, hitting 34.5% for his career.  In total, he's had two good seasons with small sample sizes, two bad seasons with small sample sizes, and three average seasons with large sample sizes.  It's safe to say that if he's healthy he'll shoot in the 33-36% range, which is right where Matt Barnes was as a Clipper.

The largest red flag with Anderson, however, is his ankle.  When he injured it originally at the end of the Brooklyn Nets' 2014-15 season, his surgery was reportedly botched, according to CSN Mid-Atlantic's Wizards Insider J. Michael. The error wasn't caught until near the start of the regular season, when a second surgery was required--one that cost Anderson much of last season.  When he returned, he was limited by a hamstring injury and missed even more games.  It's always risky to pick up a player after a serious injury, but especially when he'll turn 34 years old before the start of the season.

Even if the Clippers want Anderson, they might not be able to get him.  The Wizards' perimeter bench group is suspect, featuring Trey Burke (who ended up out of the rotation in Utah last season), Tomas Satoransky (Washington's second-round pick from 2012 who is coming to the NBA for the first time), and Kelly Oubre (a second-year player who struggled last season).  They've already lost veteran wings like Garret Temple and Jared Dudley, so Anderson could be a priority.  According to Michael, the Wizards were slated to meet with Anderson last weekend in Las Vegas.  No deal has come, so perhaps the door is open for the Clippers to snag him away.  Washington can offer their room exception of $2.898 million (up to 2 years), although it's unclear if they put that money on the table for Anderson or not.