- Saturday was a busy day in Playa Vista. Sofo Schortsanitis was at the facility in the morning working out, then Mike Miller paid a three-hour visit. Prototypically, Miller is precisely what the Clippers are looking for — a floor-spacing shooter who won’t kill them on the boards. He’s a guy who can assume the starting slot at the 3 while Al-Farouq Aminu develops, then move to bench as the Clips’ gunslinger at 32.
Here’s the problem: The market has gone insane. In a world where Rudy Gay is a max player, where Amir Johnson can score a 5-year/$34 million deal and Darko Milicic is valued at 4 years and $20 million, a guy like Miller can command a big number — larger than the Clippers are comfortable committing to a middle-age SF whose skills are likely to fall off during the back end of his deal.
- Will Sofo play for the Clippers this season? That all depends on what kind of cash the Clippers have left after the free agency season. They could slot him into the frontcourt rotation if the price is right, but probably aren’t prepared to allocate significant resources before they take care of more pressing needs on the wing.
- Kyle Korver also fits the description of what the Clippers want on the wing, and sources say that the team will be reaching out to Korver’s camps in the coming days. Anthony Morrow is a less likely target because the maximum he can be offered under the Gilbert Arenas rule is a no greater than the mid-level exception. Morrow also falls into the “2 disguised as a 3” pattern the Clippers are looking to end. A quick glimpse at the Warriors’ unit grid from 2009-10 shows that the Warriors were effective with Morrow at the 2, but abysmal when he played the 3.
- What about Josh Childress? Unfortunately, he’s not a proficient shooter (low-30s from the shorter, international 3-point line). The Clippers are tired of teams sagging defensively on them. Baron Davis is statistically the worst high-volume, long-distance shooter in the game. Blake Griffin and Chris Kaman aren’t stretchy beyond 17-feet. That leaves Eric Gordon as the only threat from long range on the floor with that lineup. Childress is a smart, dogged defender and a nice energy guy, but he’s also a hot commodity right now who’s probably going to be overcompensated. The Clips don’t want to spend that kind of money on a player who doesn’t address their top need on the wing.
- The Clippers won’t land LeBron James. They’ve received a steady stream of ridicule about being “honored” by the invitation to meet with James and the brevity of the one-hour meeting. But the Clippers’ confab with James wasn’t about 2010 — it was about 2013. Few on earth have an inkling what James will decide over the next few days, but there’s a reasonable possibility that he opts for a 3-year deal with Cleveland. If that scenario prevails, this public spectacle will play out again in 2013.
What if three years from now Blake Griffin is a rebounding, defending Amare Stoudemire, Eric Gordon boasts a true shooting percentage of 60 percent and the Clippers have progressed from a punch line to a viable young squad? With Baron Davis and Chris Kaman off the books, what if the Clippers are one of a select group of teams with room for two max players? If Friday’s meeting did nothing more than plant that seed, then it was worth a day’s commute by the brass from Los Angeles to Cleveland.