Still five days away from the time free agents can sign contracts, the Clippers have been as active as any team west of Brooklyn. As we allow it all to digest, here’s some perspective from around the web:
- Zach Lowe on Jamal Crawford and Chauncey Billups: “The two should be very useful for this particular team, but with 22-year-old guard Eric Bledsoe deserving more minutes, it’s sort of striking that the Clippers have spent their biggest chip — the mid-level- exception — to sign two wing players without finding a real defender at shooting guard or any plausible backup for Caron Butler at small forward. Odom gives them a backup big man whom opposing teams will actually have to pay attention to, but the Clippers still need at least one — and probably two — other backup bigs worthy of playing time.”
- Eric Freeman on the silver lining: “Paul made it clear in June how much he wanted Billups to return to the team, and the presence of another veteran guard shouldn’t make him particularly upset. While there’s no way to determine if this Crawford signing will be the difference in keeping Paul, it has major value if it helps convince him that the Clippers are serious about putting together a winning club. That needs to be the Clips’ top priority, and all their decisions must occur with that goal in mind. In two seasons, the Crawford deal will look bad no matter whether Paul stays or leaves. For all we know, it’ll hinder the Clippers’ ability to add new players as they contend for a title. But a really bad toothache only seems like a big deal if you don’t also have a broken back.”
- Summer League rosters! (Or the most complete ones available, at least). The Clippers have only five players listed: Eric Bledsoe, Trey Thompkins and Travis Leslie (as expected), plus 6’9″ PF Cameron Moore (undrafted free agent out of UAB) and Talor Battle, a 23-year old undersized point guard who appears to have played eight games in Europe this past year after a nice career at Penn State. Jonathan Givony of Draft Express tweeted of Moore from the Nets combine before the draft: “by no means a polished player, but w/his size/length/frame/athleticism & fact he’s only 21, he’ll get looks.”
- The word on Eric Gordon was that he was shy and that he always wanted to play for his hometown Pacers. Instead, after feeling disrespected by the Hornets for their contract offer and then their drafting of Austin Rivers, his heart is in Phoenix. And he hasn’t been shy about saying it.
- Not shy, but plenty uncomfortable. “He had backed up 10 feet from where we started by the time the interview ended. He said “ya know” a thousand times,” according to Joe Gerrity of Hornets247.com, who is in Las Vegas for Team USA practices and was among the group of reporters to whom Gordon professed his feelings. Gerrity’s post is full insight on the situation, definitely worth the read. It’s a strange turn of events for Gordon and the Hornets, two parties bound rather solidly to each other by the basic principles of restricted free agency. Gordon’s grasp of the CBA is in question, but at the end of the day, the Hornets will have to make a tough decision. It’s one thing to give a max contract to a guy who played nine games last season, but they are trying to build a culture of guys who want to be there. Inevitable side thought: knowing how the Clippers handle restricted free agency, this does make you wonder how the process might have gone down, had he not been traded.
- Finally, you’ve been pining for it – chopped up, close angle footage of the first practice for Team USA, complete with weird, tinny, old-timey Coach K audio. Can’t discern a whole lot, but there’s a nice little dish out of a triple team from Blake Griffin to Carmelo at the end.