Another season of playoff disappointment and the Los Angeles Clippers are growing impatient. Not to the point where they’re thinking of trading Blake Griffin or Chris Paul – they’re untouchables, but the rest of the group? If it means landing a superstar like LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony at the end of the process, they’re up for any offer on any other player.
So who is up for “sale” or for a move? DeAndre Jordan, who has one more year with $11.4 million on it has to be an option. Jared Dudley with three years and $12.1 million on his contract. Matt Barnes who has three years and $10.1 million on his contract left. Jamal Crawford with three years and $16.3 million on them, or J.J. Redick with four years and $27.7 million on them. Despite having a deep roster, the Clippers feel they need something else to bring them to the next stage.
Blake Griffin and Chris Paul are off the table, obviously. The Clippers aren’t looking to exchange superstars. They’re looking to add one. Everyone didn’t pay attention to the San Antonio Spurs winning the NBA championship and winning so many games over the last 16 years (and actually all the way back to the day David Robinson entered the league). Yes, signing big names to big contract is a fast track to success but doesn’t have a foundation. What’s wrong with relying on a solid bench, great teamwork, awesome coaching and excellent player development?
That’s hard. It’s difficult. It’s a process. It doesn’t always bring immediate success. Owners don’t have time for that these days. They want to be a championship team in a year or two max. And even through the Clippers have a new owner running the ship, things haven’t’ changed. They want to win now, and they figure it’s more likely to happen by adding a Carmelo Anthony or a LeBron James to the team than going in a different direction or who knows, actually improving and developing some of the players they have.
The Clippers are now paying $76 million in salaries for next season, but Glen David, Danny Granger and Darren Collison will probably opt out of their deals, which means they’ll be down to $71.7 million of cap space. Adding players, stars, role players or anybody that’s not a veteran’s minimum, is going to take some trades that reduce their salary cap. They do have the mid-level exception to use as well.
The Orlando Magic are open to trading Arron Afflalo, a player the Clippers wanted in the past but as it turns out, Donald Sterling was blocking that trade. He might have to be the consolation prize they settle for because adding James or Anthony is going to be very difficult. The assets the Clippers have, except maybe for Redick and Jordan, aren’t very lucrative and attractive. Adding them both as a tandem, some sort of fantasy for plenty of teams around the league, just seems a bit too far fetched for anyone to actually actively pursue.