The Clippers were not predicted to keep Tyrone Wallace once the Pelicans offered him a two year deal at the minimum. Already boasting 16 players on their roster, and with a bevy of guards, there didn’t appear to be much room for Ty to return.
Now, however, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN is reporting that the Clippers will match that offer, and are going to keep Wallace. The deal, to be specific, is only partially guaranteed on the first season, so the Clippers could still waive him in training camp, but it would be odd to take any monetary hit if the Clippers weren’t intending to keep him.
The Clippers now have 17 players on their roster, meaning they need to cut or trade two before the start of the season. The most likely candidate to be waived remains Jawun Evans, who has a cheap contract and is buried behind about seven guards. However, after that, the choice gets tricky. Wes Johnson is old, without upside, and not a longterm piece for the Clippers. However, his contract is also guaranteed for $6 million, and that’s a lot of money to eat. Sindarius Thornwell is another possibility to be waived, for much the same reasons as Jawun.
However, I think the likelihood of a veteran guard getting traded has now increased. The two real candidates are Pat Beverley and Milos Teodosic. Beverley is a leader on the court and in the locker room, and his pairing alongside Avery Bradley has been touted heavily by the Clippers for their defensive aptitude. I can’t see him getting traded. Milos is good. The Clippers like him, and played much better with him on the court last season. His shooting and playmaking are valuable. Still, he seems like a decent bet to be moved to a team needing a point guard (Phoenix is obvious), as he’s on a good contract, and it only runs another season.
Moving back to Ty Wallace, I think this is a smart move by the Clippers. He was really, really good as a rookie last season, and his ability to handle the ball, pass, and defend multiple positions is very valuable. He has more upside than Jawun or Sindarius, and was better than them last season. Ty easily outproduced his two-way deal last season, and was better than a minimum guy as well.
Wallace has weaknesses — lack of shooting primary among them — but he’s a good player on a cheap deal, and the Clippers are better off with him than without him. Welcome back Ty!
Clippers are matching New Orleans' two-year offer sheet to restricted free agent forward Tyrone Wallace, league source tells ESPN— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 6, 2018