Doc Rivers made it clear his top priority this summer is re-signing Darren Collison, reports Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times. Collison turned down a player option worth $1.9MM that would have brought him back to Los Angeles for the 2014/15 season. “You know our first guy, I’ll be honest, is one of our guys that opted out,” Rivers said, referring to Collison. “He’s a little guy. That’s very important for us.”
The rise in the projected tax line to $77MM will mean that the Clippers will have access to the full non-taxpayers mid-level exception, worth roughly $5.3MM. Collison’s impressive 2013/14 campaign will likely force Los Angeles to dip into most or all of their mid-level exception if they’re truly interested in bringing the point guard back.
Los Angeles hasn’t counted themselves out of the race to land Carmelo Anthony yet, says Turner, but they would need to make significant changes to their roster in order to land the superstar forward. According to Turner, Spencer Hawes is interested in playing for the Clippers, but he’d have to be willing to take a pay cut if he wants to join Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. The Clips have $66.3MM in guaranteed salary next season, so a run at re-signing Collison is likely a more realistic scenario for Rivers and company.
Rivers mentioned how it’s tempting to shoot for the stars in free agency but added it’s important to be practical at the same time. “You look at needs first, unless there’s somebody out there that’s so talented that they trump all your needs and you go for that,” Rivers said. “But most of the time that is too expensive.“