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Clippers Free Agency 2016: Luc Mbah a Moute Reaches Deal to Return

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The Clippers' incumbent starting small forward will be back next year.

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical, Clippers incumbent starting small forward Luc Mbah a Moute will return to the team.

This deal is likely for the Clippers' bi-annual exception of $2.2 million.  I'd suspect there is also a player option for a second year and 2.3 million.  The Clippers also may have been able to retain Luc using his non-bird rights and paying him 120% of the league minimum, though that would be less than the bi-annual exception by about $350,000.  The bi-annual exception can only run for two years, while non-bird rights contracts can run for up to four, but Luc likely wouldn't want to be locked into such a low salary long-term anyway.  We'll see what the terms are when they come out.

Mbah a Moute started 61 games at small forward for the Clippers and figures to be the presumptive starter this season, despite only inking a contract worth one-third of Wesley Johnson's new 3-year, $18 million deal.

While his offensive game is almost non-existent, LRMaM proved himself last year as a valuable defender, rebounder, unselfish player, and all-around glue guy.  The only thing his game desperately needs is a semi-reliable three-point shot: two seasons ago he had the green light in Philly and made just 30.7% of his attempts.  Last year with the Clippers, he hardly took threes, even from the corner.  I know that it's too much to ask for at this stage in his career, but if he could even consistently shoot 35% from the corner and just stand there, it would make him a much more effective offensive player.  That said, if he had that shot, he would have demanded much more than the Clippers could offer, so maybe it's all for the best.

All in all, Clippers fans should be very happy to have Luc back.  He was a great teammate and role player, the team's best defender, and his contract is a remarkable value.  Fringe NBA players and third-stringers have bth een getting deals worth $3 million a year--to actually get a contributor and starter for less is a stroke of good luck.  There's also something to be said for continuity: last season, the Clippers started the year slowly as they integrated an entirely new bench unit.  This year, they won't have that problem, with no newcomers added in free agency so far.  One or two new players will end up coming, but it will be nice to have a lot of the same guys come back and keep building from last year.