Which NBA player has the best singing voice? Which NBA player do you think would be the best Monopoly player? Do you think Cuttino Mobley would like sky diving?
None of these questions will be answered. (Though I can tell you the answer to that first inquiry would definitely not be Shane Battier.)
But here are the questions that readers actually did tweet in, part 1 of our two-part ClipperBag. You guys ask much better questions than I do.
What’s the chance the Clippers would trade D.J. and sign Al Jefferson from FA?
There’s a reason Utah held onto Jefferson at the trade deadline. It couldn’t find anyone who was willing to give up “fair value” for him. Granted, any value should’ve eventually been deemed “fair value”, considering the Jazz are about to lose him for absolutely nothing. But this isn’t just random chance. There’s a reason teams didn’t want to rent Jefferson. As the NBA turns more and more into a pick-and-roll league, guys like Al become less and less useful. He’s a turnstile on the defensive end. If your most important defender is your rim protector, your starting center, then the last guy you want in that position is the Michelin Man. And yes, the Michelin Man is most certainly subpar against the pick-and-roll.
What do you think of Corey Brewer? He is a UFA with Denver right now.
Who isn’t a Corey Brewer fan these days? He’s energetic. He runs the floor. He’s athletic. He’s a physical defender both on and off the ball. Basically, he’s a guy that can give you 20-plus solid bench minutes. And if that’s the role he’s filling, you’re probably in good shape. That said, Brewer might not be the optimal piece for this team.
Prepare yourselves, everyone, because there’s about to be a shameless self-plug. Ready? Are you sure? OK, here it is: I wrote a piece earlier this week about why the Clippers have to re-sign Matt Barnes, who was pretty clearly the best wing player on a team strapped for wing players this season. Not only could Barnes come for cheaper than Brewer (the Clippers could offer Barnes a salary of about $1.475 million for next season while Brewer made $3.243 million last year and is coming off a good year), but he could also provide the Clippers with better production. And that’s mainly because Barnes is a better player.
If you sign a defensive-minded player to man the perimeter for you, you better hope that guy can shoot (unless he’s a Tony Allen type that is so dominant defensively that you’re willing to take the hit on the offensive end). Meanwhile, Brewer is a type that takes a heavy load of jumpers even though he doesn’t make a whole heck of a lot of them. He shot 29.6 percent from three this year on about the same number of attempts per 36 minutes as Barnes, who hit 34.2 percent of his long-range shots.
Here’s the thing about Brewer: he’s not all that bad from the corner, but he doesn’t hit shots from above the witch’s nipple. He hit 35.9 percent of his corner threes – not great, but nothing to hang your head about. But he doesn’t hit threes from above the break and he won’t stop taking them. On 102 attempts this year, he shot 19.6 percent from that area. Barnes’ role had him taking more threes than you’d imagine from above the break. He’s not a camp-in-the-corner-and-shoot guy like Caron Butler or Willy Green. He actually moves. His shooting versatility provides something compared to Brewer’s. Combine that with the fact that he’s a superior off-ball cutter and that Brewer’s and Barnes’s defense isn’t too different in quality or style and I’ll take Barnes for half the price of Corey Brewer any day of the week.
Assuming we own Barnes’s bird rights for fulfilling his contract, cant we sign him to any amount over cap? Isn’t the cap hold just 120% of the existing contract until we re-sign or rescind? Even if we find ourselves forced to rescind his rights, can’t we sign him to a larger exception like the bi-annual or a percentage of the MLE if one is available?
– Bongstradamus, comment section
This comment showed up in the comment section of that Barnes piece and I figured I had to address it considering that not even Lance Blanks understands the new CBA. By the way, the only person in NBA circles that wouldn’t have fired Blanks is Shawn Kemp. (You didn’t think we’d go an entire ClipperBag without a “firing Blanks” joke, did you?) And since I’m clearly too lazy to write even more words about Barnes, I had to outsource this question to resident ClipperBlog capologist Andrew Han. Here’s what he emailed me:
“The Clippers do not have Matt Barnes’ Bird rights. Bird rights are given to a team that has retained a player for three consecutive years. So, the cap hold of 120 percent is the maximum amount Los Angeles can offer based on his previous salary with the team.
L.A. could offer Barnes a portion or the full Mid-Level exception, but the Clippers are over the cap line and would have no other means of acquiring another player in free agency. The Bi-annual exception is not applicable this year because it was used last year for Grant Hill. Even if Hill retires, that exception does not reactivate until the offseason of 2014.”
Andrew then linked to a cap concerns piece he wrote earlier this year. Another shameless ClipperBlog plug? Who are we?
All right, no more Barnes talk. I promise. I’m done.
Can Matt Barnes be an effective NBA starter? And if so, will it be with the Clippers?
You expect me just to quit cold turkey? He might as well have been a starter this year. Have I made it clear enough that the Clippers need to re-sign Matt Barnes?
Memphis kinda exposed us on the wings…any candidates we could bring in?
There isn’t very much cap room, which means the ability to go after any sort of free agent that is going to cost money isn’t particularly present (aside from acquiring one mid-level exception guy). Clipper fans shouldn’t get their hopes up for a name like Corey Brewer or Tony Allen. That’s probably not going to happen. Luke Babbitt isn’t walking through that door!
But that doesn’t mean the Clippers are in a position in which they need to stand pat. The second the offseason begins, Caron Butler goes from overpaid to playing on a tradable contract. An expiring contract is the NBA’s version of a government bailout: spend too much on an asset that isn’t worth it and get your payout when he hits the final year of his career. All of a sudden, a relatively immobile, spot-up shooter making $8 million a year becomes pretty easy to move. There will be players for DeAndre Jordan if the Clippers want to dangle him and there’s always the Bledsoe trade talk. And speaking of Bledsoe trade talk…
Can you see the Clippers and Sacramento doing a sign-and-trade of Tyreke Evans for Butler’s expiring contract and Bledsoe? Would provide the Clippers an upgrade over Billups.
As you read this, police officers are en route to Julio’s house to investigate how in the world he spied on my and Andrew Han’s private conversations over the past two months. Andrew seriously won’t shut up about how mutually beneficial a trade with these bones might be for both teams. And after a bit of prodding on his part, he’s converted me into a believer – not in this trade exactly, but in one quite similar.
When players from Evans’s draft class started signing extensions at the beginning of this season, James Harden got the biggest deal, but Evans is hardly Harden. He’s closer to the class of Ty Lawson or Steph Curry (remember this is what Curry’s value was coming into this season, not what it is right now). Curry signed a 4-year, $44 million contract with the Warriors on Halloween. One day before, Ty Lawson signed for four years and $48 million. So let’s guess Evans is somewhere in that $40 million to $45 million range in a four-year deal.
The Clippers would have to get back more than just Evans if they’re giving up Eric Bledsoe’s exciting future and Caron Butler’s valuable (but not exciting at all) expiring contract. The dream in this scenario is getting back Sacramento’s first-round pick (projected 7th overall) with Evans. It’s a weak draft class and the Kings are a few years away from contending. That pick probably won’t churn out a franchise player. In 2013, you’re more likely to get a role player in that spot and if the Kings think Bledsoe can be a legitimate top 10 or 12 point guard in the future, that’s an asset with which they might be willing to part, especially considering that Sacramento has revealed its odd priorities of wanting to bring back together DeMarcus Cousins’s old Kentucky teammates in an effort to make the former UK forward feel more comfortable, even if it means executing a trade that isn’t preferable from an on-court perspective.
If the Kings’ first rounder is off limits, then the Clips could say they want Jason Thompson, but that’s a backup forward, who has four years and almost $25 million left on his contract. It’s not an egregious contract; just not preferable.
They could take on Chuck Hayes for $11.68 million over the next two years. Honestly, the best part of that might just be that they wouldn’t have to deal with Hayes guarding Blake Griffin anymore. Hayes’ defense is elite, but almost $6 million a year might be a bit much to pay for a guy who has played more than 22 minutes a game just once in his career.
The naysayers point out that Evans hasn’t improved much since his rookie campaign, when he won the 2009-10 Rookie of the Year. Those people are probably right. He hasn’t. But don’t let that deter you from making this deal. Remember that we’re dealing with the Kings here.
Some organizations are toxic and the Kings are filled to the crown with toxicity. Remove a guy and he improves purely because you’re ridding him of the infection. And even though Evans’s shot hasn’t improved much (he shot 33.9 percent from 16 feet out to the three-point line and 33.8 percent from three this past season), he was relatively efficient this year (55.8 percent true shooting percentage, 50.8 percent effective field goal percentage). He gets to the rim and has the body and skill set of someone who can turn into a good perimeter defender. And let’s remember that he’s still only 23 years old. He just needs to get rid of that infection.
Is it realistic to assume the Clippers get a top 10 lottery pick for Bledsoe? If so, who fits? Oladipo?
The reason that Kings pick is the dream is probably because Oladipo would be perfect for the Clips. He’s someone that may never be a star, but on-ball defense is one of the more translatable traits from college to the pros and Oladipo’s on-ball defense is far better than anyone else’s in the country. Include the fact that he’s a beast off the ball, as well – with both his quickness and his energy – and he’s the exact kind of wing the Clippers could slot into their rotation.
His offense may not turn into much, but that’s fine. A great perimeter defender that doesn’t provide offense still has high, high value. See: Tony Allen. But if Oladipo can at the very least be a reliable catch-and-shoot player on the offensive end (he has a slow release, but hit 44.1 percent of his low-volume of threes at Indiana this past season), he could become one of the best players in this year’s draft class.
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