The Clippers delayed the inevitable, opting not to address their cap room situation at the trade deadline and instead leaving it to the summer. Sean Deveney of The Sporting News writes that head coach Doc Rivers and president of basketball operations would have been wise to do something with either Jamal Crawford or Austin Rivers, who will be owed $26MM in 2017/18.
When the free agency period begins this summer, the Clippers will have the tough task of re-signing Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and J.J. Redick. To do so comfortably, they would need to find a way to save money elsewhere. Paul, Deveney writes, could land a deal worth nearly $210MM over five years and isn’t likely to give the franchise a hometown discount.
Of note is that Deveney suggests that the Clippers may not automatically bring back Griffin on such a contract. He writes that if the team doesn’t make progress in the postseason this spring, they may be remiss to invest so much in their oft-injured big man.
Regardless of how the summer transactions play out for the Clippers, they could have been simplified had Rivers opted to address the problem mid-season rather than electing to kick the can further down the road.
There’s more from Deveney:
- The Lakers, Sixers and Nuggets could all make a play for Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry this summer. The veteran playmaker will be due for a significant pay raise after establishing himself as an All-Star and a core component of a winning basketball club. Lowry considered the Lakers in 2014, Deveney writes, and could be partial to returning to his hometown of Philadelphia as well.
- Consider the Nuggets among the frontrunners to pursue Dwyane Wade aggressively should he opt out of the final year of his deal with the Bulls. Though Chicago has been winning recently, the season has been a frustrating one for the organization. Deveney also mentions the Bucks as a possible landing spot because Wade’s alma matter, Marquette, is in Milwaukee.
- The Mavericks have made it clear to newly acquired big man Nerlens Noel that they will meet any offer that the restricted free agent signs with other teams, Deveney says. The Mavs were able to get Noel relatively cheap from the Sixers and it appears they’re eager to factor him into their long-term plans.
- The Wizards are intent on keeping forward Otto Porter in Washington, Deveney writes, even as the suddenly hot 23-year-old commodity, gets pursued by other teams like the Suns and Nets, as expected. As the pool of suitors grows, Porter’s price tag could approach max territory.