Darren Collison, Glen Davis and Danny Granger have all opted out of their contracts with the Los Angeles Clippers, Arash Markazi of ESPN Los Angeles reports. The trio of players all spent their first season in red, white and blue this past year and all declined player options that would pay them negligibly low totals in 2014-15.
Collison turned down a $2 million option, according to ShamSports. Granger and Davis each turned down a $1.3 million one, though Granger’s option was for slightly more. All three players can get as much money or more on the open market, especially Collison, who played a major role as the Clippers’ backup point guard, averaging 25.9 minutes a night off the bench in 2013-14.
There still stands a decent chance he returns to LA for next season. As Markazi writes, “each player’s preference is stay with the Clippers.” But really, how much would any of these guys be worth to a team that needs a valuable, defensive big man and athletic wing defenders?
Collison, though he had offensive spurts that carried the team sporadically, runs into screens like a bicycle pedaling into the Empire State Building. Davis, as we saw time and time again, isn’t a reliable third big for this team. And Granger, though he had his moments, may be too injury-prone to rely on in a serious role.
If Granger or Davis were to put aside their egos and take less money and/or a lesser role, then that would be a reason to bring either one back, but you don’t opt out of miniature contracts so that you can sign a cheaper deal. They may want to return to LA, but if the Clippers move forward with the priorities we all expect them to have, it’s possible those guys aren’t part of the future if they can, in fact, get paid elsewhere.
Collison will be the interesting one to follow, here. Doc Rivers clearly appreciated his skills, playing him in crunch time consistently throughout the year and giving him heavy minutes for a backup point guard. He liked the Collison-Chris Paul backcourts. He was confident enough in his backup’s defense to put him on Russell Westbrook for long stretches in the postseason (and he kept doing it even after Collison’s questionable pressure defense on the Thunder star). Now, if Rivers is making all basketball decisions, maybe we see Collison come back at an even greater price, which may be imprudent when you start to think about how many quality point guards (and backup point guards) there are in the NBA.