From a personnel standpoint, the Clippers had a solid draft on Thursday. Al-Farouq Aminu can’t shoot from the perimeter, nor can he put the ball on the deck, but he addresses a number of needs on the wing — specifically rebounding and defense. He’s also a mere 19 years old and inordinately coachable. Eric Bledsoe, also 19, fits the mold of the modern-day combo guard. Although he measures only 6-foot-1, Bledsoe is a strong, lanky athlete with the ability to knife through traffic, shoot proficiently from distance and torment opposing ballhandlers. He’s the kind of talent quality NBA teams are bringing off the bench to give their backcourts a jolt of energy. The Clippers will also get a free look at the prodigal Sooner, Willie Warren. As a second round pick, Warren doesn’t count against the Clippers’ salary cap number until he’s signed.
That leaves the Clippers with just enough cap room for one max contract. Here’s a compact version of the current spreadsheet (in millions) based on a salary cap number of $56,100,000:
The Returning 5 $ 33.53 5 Salary Cap Holds $ 2.37 Al-Farouq Aminu $ 2.14 Eric Bledsoe $ 1.24 12 COMMITMENTS $ 39.27 WHAT’S LEFT $ 16.83
As a frame of reference, LeBron James’ max figure is approximately $16.57 million. If you want to take a longer view and throw the cap holds in with the available max money, the Clippers have about $19.20 million for six roster spots (based on a 13-man roster).
We can dissect the comparative strengths and shortcomings of Aminu and Bledsoe over the next several weeks, but the Clippers earned high marks on Thursday night for cap management. They added two interesting young assets while still preserving room for a max contract.
Correction: An earlier version of the post read: “If you want to take a longer view and throw the cap holds in with the available max money, the Clippers have about $19.20 million for five roster spots (based on a 12-man roster).” NBA rosters must carry a minimum of 13 players.