June 21 was just a few days ago. The calendar has officially moved to summer. But really, we know the true season right now is draft season. So, let’s start off a draft-themed ClipperBag with some prospect-related questions.
Iman Shump would be great on LAC. Can the Clippers use Darren Collison in a trade if he agrees? If not, the 28th pick and Dudley?
Iman Shumpert is back on the market, but I don’t know why Darren Collison would opt out of his contract only to agree to a sign-and-trade, so let’s take that off the table right now. That said, Shumpert does seem like he’d be a quality fit for the Clippers, who could use another wing defender.
Let’s remember that just before the deadline, the Clippers entered relatively intense talks with the Knicks about a potential Shump deal, one that would send Collison and Matt Barnes to New York for Shump and Raymond Felton, Randy Foye’s doppelgänger in posture. So, the seeds for this trade are already in the ground. Now, the Clippers just have to sew. But there’s one problem: the Oklahoma City Thunder.
OKC wants Shumpert, too and if the Knicks are shopping him for a late first-round pick, that could sway talks toward Oklahoma. If the Clippers offer pick No. 28 and the Thunder offer 29, you’d have to assume that’d give LA the advantage, but what if Oklahoma City goes into full gear and dangles its other pick, the 21st selection, instead? What can the Clippers give then? Reggie Bullock, still a relative unknown, may not be enough in that scenario. So, yes, Shumpert can help, but the Clippers may not actually control their own destiny.
Which prospects should fans be looking at as realistic targets in the draft?
Well, if you trade the 28th pick, you ain’t getting nothing…or are you? The Clippers have $3 million to buy a second-rounder, but what if they actually decided to trade up in the draft?
Let’s talk dream scenario: Adreian Payne falls just slightly Thursday night, a pretty common theme for 23-year-olds during the draft. Now, we’re at a pick that matches Payne’s age: 23, as the Utah Jazz are on the clock. Utah is in ultimate rebuilding mode, winning 25 games and finishing dead last in the Western Conference this past season. You know what’s valuable to them? Picks and young players with upside.
So, what if the Clippers opened up their trench coats and showed off Reggie Bullock and the 28th pick hanging from their inside pockets? Wouldn’t that be somewhat perfect on both sides? Payne is the perfect fit in LA. (Actually, that’s just because a mobile big man who can shoot threes, set screens and play defense is a perfect fit anywhere.) C’mon, Adreian. Fall to 23. Let’s make this happen.
Honorable mentions for No. 28: K.J. McDaniels, P.J. Hairston, Jordan Adams, Jerami Grant, Cleanthony Early
Bigger need: backup point guard or third big considering Baby and Collison likely aren’t coming back?
More important hypothetical free-agent target: Patty Mills or Boris Diaw?
You’re basically asking me if the peanut butter or the jelly is more important to the PB&J. They’re pretty co-dependent.
Mills and Diaw are beautiful. They’re both so Spursy. Diaw can do everything as a third big man. Mills, meanwhile, was one of the best (the single best?) backup point guards in the league this past season and is going to get paid to the point that he could change the “s” in his name to a money sign. Patty Mill$ looks pretty good, actually. But if we’re talking Clippers specifically, Diaw would be more valuable if only because a team with Chris Paul, J.J. Redick and Jamal Crawford is going to be fine at guard even if you have a below-average backup point. The third big, though; that’s a real problem.
How do you feel about the entire coaching staff running the Clippers front office?
My first reaction when I saw the Clippers had reconfigured their front office regarded Gary Sacks. That guy has to be the ultimate team player, right? Lest we forget he finished second in Executive of the Year voting (probably the worst award in the NBA, by the by) just two years ago. Since then, he’s been flung around the Clippers front office like a hacky sack. Now, he’s an assistant general manager. What an odd journey.
I’ll reserve judgment on Kevin Eastman until we actually see him in action. Same goes for Dave Wohl. And as for Doc Rivers, well, he didn’t exactly have the best year as an exec in his initial season with the Clippers. That’s not to say Rivers did a poor job in LA. Quite the opposite, actually. Every bit of praise we hear about the way he handled the Donald Sterling situation seemed worthy. How he held that team together was incomprehensible to say the least. Add in the improvements he oversaw in DeAndre Jordan, Blake Griffin and the Clipper defense and offense as a whole, and of course Doc was worth every penny of the $21 million he got last offseason. But his moves as an executive weren’t particularly successful.
Signing Ryan Hollins right out of the gate last offseason was nonsensical and settling for Byron Mullens was equally as strange. Waiting around for Hedo Turkoglu, Glen Davis and Danny Granger had little payoff. And the Eric Bledsoe trade – regardless of J.J. Redick’s health or not – was a flop. (What people forget is that the Clippers probably didn’t need to make that a three-team deal. If they wanted Redick, who they received in a sign-and-trade, they could’ve had him. All they’d need to do was give up another second-round pick, considering Milwaukee only received a couple of second rounders, one from the Clips and one from the Phoenix Suns, in that three-way deal. The Clippers could’ve gotten Redick on their own or with Caron Butler, who went to the Bucks later in the offseason anyway. Clearly, they could’ve gotten a better haul for Bledsoe than they actually did, assuming they even had to trade their best, most athletic defender on the perimeter, someone who they desperately missed against Russell Westbrook in the Western Conference Semifinals. OK, I’m done with Bledsoe. This is too much. Parentheticals aren’t supposed to be this long.)
(Wait, what were we talking about?)
(Oh right, Doc. So yeah, the Bledsoe deal didn’t work.)
Love the idea of LBJ to the Clips. Can’t give up DJ because who’s play center? I’m sadly OK with Blake for LBJ. Thoughts?
Do you think the Clippers will dust off the LeBron VHS tape they used on his first free agency?
The idea of LeBron James to the Clippers keeps making me laugh, if only because there probably isn’t anything that shows our short memories more than that single notion. Now, after Bill Simmons tweeted it as a possibility, we’re all on the LeBron-to-the-Clippers bandwagon. And maybe that’s right. Maybe it’s justified. Hell, maybe it’ll happen, but our Muggsy Bogues-like attention spans have become to miniature to bear.
Wasn’t it only a few weeks ago that LeBron was one of the most vocal anti-Donald Sterling players in the league? Wasn’t it just last month that he basically implied he couldn’t play for a Sterling-run team? Well, Dick Parsons may be there and Steve Ballmer may be waiting to take over, but guess who still is legally atop the Clippers? The Sterlings.
Sure, the NBA has done all it can to remove the family, and – at least near the end – it seems like Shelly has cooperated, but now, as LeBron hits free agency for the first time in four years, we’re guessing two fish in his sea of options will be the Clippers and the Cleveland Cavaliers. One team he spoke out against just this season. The other one he left and whose owner publicly shamed/condemned/humiliated him. So, if a man really does care about which owner he plays for, doesn’t it seem like a comedy of
sans errors that we’re thinking about these two teams?
And that brings us to a more Clippers-centric point, something everyone continues to talk about because, heck, it’s a hotter topic right now than Hansel: Should the Clippers change their name and logo as part of a larger rebrand?
It seems like the average opinion here says, yes. Sterling has always owned the Clips in Los Angeles. Under him, the team has squandered, embarrassing itself in any and every way possible.
Losing, injuries, racist remarks, more injuries, lawsuits, more losing, bad trades, cheapness, bad draft picks, bad free-agent signings and some more losing.
With the LBJ-to-LA storylines we saw just last week though, doesn’t that mean we’re already starting to forget about Sterling? We live in a society that loves to get angry. It loves to find Internet justice, a very different thing than real justice. People get angry, scream about how “someone needs to do something” and while everyone yelps about how another person needs to help, no one is actually helping. It’s the online bystander theory. And then, just like that innocent onlooker walking down the street, we keep strolling along with our lives, failing to recall why we were angry in the first place.
People forget things. They forgot the Sterling housing discrimination lawsuits. They forgot the Elgin Baylor lawsuit, which alleged some far more damaging accusations than anything Sterling ever said to V. Stiviano. They even forgot about Stiviano’s brief stint in Daft Punk.
Now, we’re forgetting this. It’s going to be a slower process because the Sterling case was so public, but we’re already starting to move forward. Wouldn’t it be just wonderful to see “the Clippers” finally win a championship instead of the LA Stars, Blakers or any other ridiculous name we can localize to SoCal? If “the Clippers” leaves now, it departs in tatters. But, for the most part, people have already forgotten about the history of losing after three straight postseason appearances. Soon, they’ll forget about Sterling, too. And when they do, “the Clippers” will mean something completely different.
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