If ever there was an NBA offseason, it’s now, when Summer League is over and free agency has died down with five weeks to go until training camp.
The Clippers have 15 players under contract, so they theoretically could carry that roster into opening night without any changes. However, Yogi Ferrell is on a non-guaranteed deal, and the team also has a two-way spot open. Furthermore, teams are allowed to bring 20 players into training camp, so the front office has a lot of options to consider over the next month or so.
The most pressing need for the Clippers is probably a third center. L.A. is currently carrying two centers and two power forwards. Although both of those 4s masqueraded as 5s on occasion during the playoffs, that’s not something Ty Lue wants to subject Nic Batum or Marcus Morris Sr. to on a regular basis. New addition Justise Winslow also won’t be moonlighting at center, so it behooves the Clippers to find someone who can eat minutes at that position, especially with both Ivica Zubac and Serge Ibaka recovering from injuries.
Maybe that player is Isaiah Hicks, who played like a veteran at Summer League and showed a level of competence that the Clippers could use at center. He’s probably too old for a two-way contract at age 27 — the organization would rather save that spot for an up-and-coming player — but Hicks’ play at least earned him a camp invite so that the Clippers have another big in practice.
The Clippers were reportedly looking at Isaiah Hartenstein as well, a stretchier big who fits more cleanly into Lue’s offense. Perhaps the team could look at Harry Giles, Luke Kornet, Moe Wagner, or DJ Wilson, centers who haven’t exactly made an impact in their careers, but are young enough to turn it around. If the Clippers have a veteran center in mind to fill that spot, like DeMarcus Cousins or Ersan Ilyasova, their presence would kind of ruin any potential training camp competition, so the team might be better off bringing them on later.
Other than another center, the Clippers would do well to search out wings for the second two-way spot if they don’t want to keep Amir Coffey around. Malik Fitts has been part of the organization since last training camp and earned a 10-day. The Clippers are likely combing through the undrafted free agent list to find additional options for that slot, because it’s fair to say they’re done trying to develop young bigs.
Who would you like to see the Clippers invite to training camp?
More news for Friday:
- Almost every team in the NBA seems to be in win-now mode — what will that mean in a few years?
- FiveThirtyEight has an interesting story on the use of shot-tracking devices.
- Summer League isn’t exactly representative of the regular season, but Owen Phillips figures out which stats are most predictive.
- Speaking of Summer League, Will Bjarnar broke down Jay Scrubb’s Las Vegas experience.
- Andrew Greif has five takeaways from the Clippers as a whole.
- Sarah Todd looks into why there were so many older veterans in Las Vegas.
- The ESPN annual NBA offseason executive survey is surprisingly devoid of any Clippers mentions.