Chris Paul might be gone, but the Clippers are still committed to staying relevant in the Western Conference playoff picture. While they no longer have a top-tier point guard, the team seems determined to address its longtime bugaboo by going after quality big wings in free agency, according to a new report from the LA Times’ Brad Turner.
Free agents Clippers interested in: Jonathan Simmons, Rudy Gay, Danilo Gallinari, P.J. Tucker, James Johnson, Joe Ingles, Andre Iguodala.— Brad Turner (@BA_Turner) June 30, 2017
This free agency wishlist is made up almost exclusively of perimeter players who can switch multiple positions and hold their own on both ends of the floor. Apart from Jonathan Simmons and P.J. Tucker, they’re all proven to be capable of creating on offense, either for themselves (Rudy Gay, Danilo Gallinari) or for others (James Johnson, Joe Ingles, Andre Iguodala).
Many of these players will command high price tags (Iguodala, who the Warriors may not be able to retain, is rumored to be looking for as much as $20M annually), so the Clippers may not be able to sign them outright into cap space. But the front office showed itself in the CP3 trade to be capable of wheeling and dealing and taking advantage of the CBA, so don’t count them out just yet. They have three options available to land a quality small forward, per Editor-in-Chief Lucas Hann.
- They could use the full mid-level exception (starting at $8.4M annually, but going as much as $36M over 4 years), which wouldn’t require any other cap machinations on their part.
- Another possibility is a sign-and-trade, either using one of their expiring contracts or the $7.3M trade exception acquired in yesterday’s deal. Of course, this would also hard cap them (as would option #1), although that seems unlikely to become an issue for them this year.
- Finally, they might make some more trades to clear up cap space. We could see DeAndre Jordan dangled again for a cheaper center and/or future picks, or maybe the front office finds a team to dump guys like Wesley Johnson, Lou Williams, or Jamal Crawford on.
Of course, the team’s #1 priority remains re-signing Blake Griffin, whose agent will meet informally with the Clippers tomorrow, per the OC Register’s Bill Oram.