It seems that the Los Angeles Clippers are never done adding players, and they’ll be giving some veteran centers – Andrew Bynum, Greg Oden, Emeka Okafor and Andray Blatche – a chance to show their skills as they scrape the bottom of the free agency barrel in their search for a backup center.
At this stage of the off-season and with the quality of free agents available, it’s time for teams to work out players instead of just sit down with them and hand them contracts. The Clippers will do that with the shortlist they’ve assembled for them, hoping to find a player that can take care of a position that’s been troublesome for them over the last few years, not to mention DeAndre Jordan being quite far from the perfect center.
Greg Oden lasted an entire season without getting injured. Maybe that wasn’t the full measure of the optimistic scenario for him, as he hardly played for the Heat in the playoffs, but he showed he can still mean something in the NBA, playing in 23 games and 9.2 minutes each night, averaging 2.9 points per game. Whether or not that’s actually a step forward in his attempt to rekindle his NBA career remains to be seen.
Andrew Bynum played in 26 games last season altogether for the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Indiana Pacers. However, he didn’t give the Pacers anything, not featuring once in the postseason. His knees, as many thought they would, couldn’t keep him standing through an NBA season, and maybe it is all over for a talented player who has barely been on the court for the last couple of seasons.
Emeka Okafor didn’t play at all last season. He’ll be turning 32 and after such a long injury, it’s hard for him to put himself in demand in the NBA. The Clippers might be looking at him closer than the others because of his defensive capabilities, but Okafor might be the most rusty of all the players trying to show their skills to Doc Rivers and the others.
Andray Blatche is a different case. He wasn’t injured last season and averaged 11 points per game as a backup big man who sometimes got to start for the Brooklyn Nets. With him the problem is the past and his behavoir when playing for other teams. Being around Garnett, Williams, Pierce and Johnson might have calmed him down in Brooklyn. Maybe he has changed, but for now, teams see him as a risk instead of an asset, costing a talented player money because no one is willing to risk more than a minimum contract on him.
The Clippers will only sign one of them – they have room for one more veteran’s minimum deal because of the hard cap. Oden, Bynum and Okafor are all something of a risk considering their past injuries and limited playing time in recent years. Blatche is a risk of a different kind, but is probably the best option when it comes to his offensive abilities.