In a very eventful Monday afternoon, the Clippers picked up Chauncey Billups and matched DeAndre Jordan’s offer sheet with the Golden State Warriors. Three ClipperBlog writers examine the two moves, along with the outcome of the Chris Paul saga in L.A.
1. Did the Clippers pay too much for DeAndre Jordan?
Jovan Buha, ClipperBlog: Yes. At his current skill level and production, Jordan is not worth almost $11 million per season. However, just because they overpaid for him, doesn’t mean it wasn’t the right move. He’s Blake Griffin’s best friend, a perfect fit for this team, and the only center the Clippers will have left after Chris Kaman departs.
Jordan Heimer, ClipperBlog: No. Remember, it’s not $43 million in a void. It’s $43 million on this Clippers team. This team is being built around Blake Griffin’s game – and Jordan’s is a perfect complement. How many frontcourts have the speed, size, and athleticism to keep both Blake and DeAndre away from the rim and off the boards? And — almost as essentially — where else could the Clippers find someone who knows Blake perfectly?
Mark Shore, ClipperBlog: Tough call, but I think in the long run you’d have to say no, the Clippers paid the right amount for DJ. At this point the team’s biggest concern is getting Blake Griffin to sign an extension and stay in Los Angeles. Not only are Jordan and Griffin close friends, but there’s something to be said about having continuity down low as Griffin continues to develop.
2. Was the Billups acquisition a smart one?
Jovan Buha, ClipperBlog: Yes. Despite the fact that Clippers currently have three above-average point guards, Billups is the best of the bunch — if only by a hair. If he doesn’t show up to training camp trying to take out Griffin’s knees or light the training facility on fire, he’ll be a great addition to the Clippers and a positive influence on Eric Gordon and Eric Bledsoe.
Jordan Heimer, ClipperBlog: Absolutely. If you’ve watched enough Mo Williams it won’t come as a complete surprise that his basketball-reference page is sponsored by, quote: “An Extrodinarily Irate Cavs Season Ticket Holder” (who, perhaps hyperbolically, dubs Mo “The Godfather of the All-NBA Non Defense Team”). For a quarter of what Mo is owed, the Clips get a veteran point guard who can body bigger guards on defense and space the offense with a more accurate deep shot.
Mark Shore, ClipperBlog: It was a bit puzzling at the time, but one of the things that the Clippers sorely lacked last year was veteran leadership which is important for a team looking to make their first postseason appearance in over 5 years. Billups has a total of 140 playoff games played, 110 more than Mo Williams. The one big question I have is how will this impact the development of sophomore point guard Eric Bledsoe?
3. When it’s all over, will the Clippers land Chris Paul?
Jovan Buha, ClipperBlog: Yes. Realistically, where else can he go? Boston and Golden State can’t offer better trade packages. The Lakers and Knicks lack the proper assets to trade for him and can’t sign him outright in the offseason. Whether it’s via trade or free agency, I expect him to end up in the red, white and blue.
Jordan Heimer, ClipperBlog: No. David Stern and the NBA owners want to sell the Hornets. Might a prospective owner be an NBA junkie with a nuanced appreciation of second-tier talent? Maybe. Will he (or she) be a really rich dude (or dudette) who recognizes Chris Paul as a bona fide (read: marketable) star? Almost definitely. Elite stars are the most undervalued asset in the NBA — a GM might have said yes today … but a seller will continue to say no.
Mark Shore, ClipperBlog: I don’t think so. The Hornets are looking for a package that includes Eric Gordon, Minnesota’s 1st-rounder and a number of other key building blocks from the Clippers. If Paul were to commit to signing a long-term extension then the Clippers would probably be willing to part ways with their entire team minus Blake Griffin, but as it stands they’d be giving up too much for a one- or two-year rental.