SATURDAY, 4:55pm: The Clippers have officially announced the signing.
FRIDAY, 11:18am: The Clippers will sign Jeff Ayres to a 10-day contract, filling the roster spot they’re poised to open with the Josh Smith deal, reports Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). Ayres spent the past two seasons with the Spurs and has been playing this year with the D-League affiliate of the Jazz, who made him the No. 1 pick of the D-League draft in the fall.
Ayres, formerly known as Jeff Pendergraph, has averaged 16.3 points and 9.5 rebounds in 32.7 minutes per game with the D-League Idaho Stampede this season. He’s otherwise carved out a modest five-year NBA career, averaging 3.0 points and 2.8 rebounds in 10.1 minutes per contest over 220 total appearances with the Spurs, Pacers and Trail Blazers. He’ll give the Clippers depth on the front line with Smith headed back to Houston via trade.
The signing temporarily mitigates the tax savings the Clippers are achieving in the Smith swap. Ayres will cost the Clippers $55,722 in payroll, the same amount Smith would over the 10-day period, plus tax penalties if they’re still above the $84.74MM threshold at season’s end. However, the Clippers, who’ll be at about $95.5MM in team salary following the trade and prior to the Ayres signing, aren’t obligated to re-sign Ayres after the 10 days are up, a luxury that Smith’s contract didn’t afford them.