The final 10 picks or so of the NBA draft don’t usually yield a lot of value. Most players with any hope of landing on a roster try not to get picked so that they can choose their own team as an undrafted free agent, a process made more lucrative by the creation of two-way contracts. That makes it extremely rare to find a productive player that late in the second round.
The Clippers were unfazed by the long odds of the second round. Two years after selecting Terance Mann with the 48th overall pick, they believe they have found another diamond in the rough in Brandon Boston Jr. They are so convinced of Boston’s pro potential that they have given the 51st pick a three-year deal with two fully guaranteed seasons. Per Shams Charania, the third year is a player option. The Clippers created the cap space to sign Boston by giving Justise Winslow part of their taxpayer midlevel ($4 million, according to Law Murray of The Athletic), and saving some for Boston.
Clippers’ BJ Boston – the No. 51 pick in the 2021 NBA draft – is signing a two-year guaranteed rookie deal, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. Clippers targeted the forward in the draft, paid to acquire the 51st pick and have a third-year team option on Boston.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) August 9, 2021
It isn’t unheard of for a second-round pick to get guaranteed money, and Mann is one such example. But the Clippers are giving Boston $2.5 million guaranteed, the most ever for a player of his draft slot who wasn’t a draft and stash, per Keith Smith. That is a strong show of faith in a player who did not exactly impress in his lone season at Kentucky.
BJ Boston is getting $2.5 million guaranteed in his deal with the LA Clippers, sources tell @spotrac.— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) August 9, 2021
That's the most guaranteed money in history for a draft pick in the 50s that didn't spend time as an overseas draft-and-stash before coming to the NBA.
Boston’s contract becomes even more impressive when considering the state of the Clippers roster.
The team has 13 returning players from last year’s team under contract, including Yogi Ferrell’s deal, which is nonguaranteed. Jay Scrubb is still on a two-way contract, and Amir Coffey is an unrestricted free agent. The Clippers then drafted three players and signed Justise Winslow. That leaves 19 players competing for 17 roster spots before even accounting for DeMarcus Cousins and Patrick Patterson.
The Clippers have officially signed Johnson, Boston, and Winslow, bringing their total of guaranteed contracts to 15. The easiest solution is to waive Ferrell, but that leaves only a two-way slot for Jason Preston, who was drafted ahead of Boston. Perhaps the Clippers waive another player as well — Daniel Oturu better show out in Summer League — or a consolidation trade is on the horizon to clear a roster spot for the 33rd pick.
No matter what path the Clippers choose, they have some difficult decisions to make. And that means an offseason that has been relatively inactive will have to pick up the pace.
More news for Monday:
- As expected, Kawhi Leonard will be returning to the Clippers next season, though the details of his contract have not been decided.
- Jason Preston’s former editor at Piston Powered shares some thoughts on the new Clipper.
- Covid has hit NBA Summer League. The Pacers and Wizards had to postpone their game Sunday due to health and safety protocols, as contact tracing left the Wizards with too few players.
- Three Nuggets were also held out of their team’s game against Miami.
- The NBA has begun enforcing its new rules to eliminate unnatural motions to draw fouls in Las Vegas. This thread is a good explainer of what kind of foul-baiting activity the league hopes to address.
- The Clippers had expressed interest in Kelly Oubre Jr. before the wing signed with Charlotte. Oubre’s two-year, $26 million deal was far more than L.A. could have offered.
- For the second straight offseason, the NBA is investigating a sign-and-trade that likely was negotiated before the start of free agency. Unlike last year, it doesn’t appear as if the Bulls’ deal for Lonzo Ball or the Heat’s for Kyle Lowry will be voided, which has to enrage the Milwaukee Bucks.
- CJ McCollum has been elected as the new president of the NBA Players Association, as two-term president Chris Paul decided not to run again.