Yesterday, I wrote about how the offseason is winding down. Signings are still popping in once or twice a day, but all the big names are gone, and trade talks seem to have stalled out. Nothing sums up the current state of free agency better than this Tweet by ESPN’s Kevin Pelton this morning.
Unsigned NBA free agents who played the most minutes in 2018-19: pic.twitter.com/Cc8vydqDHn— Kevin Pelton (@kpelton) July 18, 2019
Pelton listed off the 15 players remaining in free agency who played the most minutes last season... and boy is it a motley crew. Justin Holiday is the headliner, and while he’s a solid enough player, a follow-up tweet by Pelton suggested he hasn’t been signed because he’s asking for too much money. The Clippers have very little money to offer, so it seems unlikely he’d sign with them. Shaq Harrison, the fifth player on that list, was also just re-signed this morning by the Bulls, eliminating him.
Of the remaining players on that list, most are washed-up veterans, or young(er) guys who haven’t been that good in the NBA to begin with. Lin, Mack, and Burke are all reasonable enough candidates for the Clippers’ reserve point guard role, certainly, but there’s a reason all of them are available this late in free agency. The only big man on here, Jonas Jerebko, would also be a fine candidate for the third-string center role, and is a favorite of our own Lucas Hann.
I personally think it would be really cool if the Clippers signed Vince Carter. He’s the longest-tenured player in the NBA, having been drafted 22 years ago, and has matured into one of the most respected players in the league. A great locker room figure, Vince has also, somehow, held on as a positive presence on the court as well, shooting 38.9% from three last year with the Hawks on 4.2 attempts per game. Vince has never won an NBA championship, and while he wouldn’t play regular rotation minutes with the Clippers, he would have his best chance to win a ring in nearly a decade. Objectively, the Clippers should probably sign “more useful” end-of-the-bench guys who better fit a need, but bringing in Vince would be awesome for fans, and he could still legitimately help on the court if called upon.
Pelton’s tweet is a good summary of what’s left in free agency. Another guy I like, Joakim Noah, didn’t quite play enough minutes to qualify, but he’s out there too. There are still NBA-caliber players out on the market, and while every day takes more of them off, there’s no rush at this point in the summer. With two roster spots available, and a championship-caliber roster already, the Clippers should have their pick of the litter. At this point, it all comes down to whether they actually want any of these guys, or would rather have the flexibility for the buyout market or trades.