After years of mediocrity, the Clippers made a huge splash right after the lockout and ended up making the playoffs for the first time since Sam Cassell had them one shot away from a Western Conference finals appearance in 2006. Even without general manager Neil Olshey and a first-round pick, the Clippers have been relatively active so far into the summer.
The team made headlines to kick off the summer by being the leading suitors for Lamar Odom.
Odom, the former Laker and Sixth Man of the Year, had an atrocious season with the Dallas Mavericks and was told to sit the last half of the season out. He pushed his agent to get him back into Los Angeles and the Clippers jumped at the opportunity.
While they could have waited for the Mavericks to buy him out, acquiring Odom's Bird rights could prove to be vital, as they traded Maurice Williams, rights to Furkan Aldemir and their 53rd overall pick in order to get Odom's services—a high risk that can pay huge dividends depending on what Odom they receive.
With his head screwed on straight, he could be in the running yet for another Sixth Man of the Year award.
Following the Odom acquisition, with Paul's advice, the Clippers went after another former Sixth Man of the Year in Jamal Crawford.
Like Odom, Crawford was coming off a disappointing season with the Portland Trail Blazers. Also, just like Odom, Crawford wanted to be a Clipper and could be a part of a great bench trio alongside Eric Bledsoe and Odom.
Clippers made more moves as they signed and traded Reggie Evans to the Brooklyn Nets for a trade exception and a second-round pick. Evans made his presence known during the first round with his hassling, physical defense on Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol.
Despite being relatively invisible in every aspect of the game, sans rebounding, for the rest of the year, the Clippers didn't want to give him a hefty deal, so they went for a TPE instead, which could prove to be essential.
The team also let Nick "Sushi" Young sign with the Philadelphia 76ers, as they had no need for him with the signing of Crawford.
Randy Foye and Kenyon Martin are also not expected to return.
Rounding Out The Roster
Making the biggest trade of last summer, ESPN reports the Clippers are reportedly going to be included in the biggest trade of this summer, though they won't be getting the superstar this time. However, they will be looking to give up a lottery-protected first round pick in return for MarShon Brooks.
Brooks, the shooting guard out of Providence, was able to prove his rookie year that he was able to create his own shot and would strengthen the Clippers bench, though many speculate he would be redundant next to Crawford.
Ryan Hollins, center out of UCLA, is rumored by the Los Angeles Times to be signing for the mid-level exception to back up DeAndre Jordan. While Hollins might not have any skills that stand out, he is an athletic seven footer that can finish around the rim, be it lobs or put backs and provides the Clips with legit height off the bench.
Along with these two, there are a few guys I'd love the Clippers to go ahead and look at:
As any true Clipper fan knows, he is a high-energy forward off the bench who plays bulldog defense and loves to attack the basket. Clippers gave him his first NBA opportunity and he provided double-doubles for his first two games. For the minimum, he would provide to be a great backup to Caron Butler at the 3.
If the MarShon Brooks deal falls through, the Clippers could use another swingman. Like Singleton, Ross was given his NBA opportunity through the organization and was a vital part of the 2006 playoff run. An above-average defender that can knock down the corner three would also be another great minimum salary addition.
Despite his age, he still a capable defender for about 15-20 minutes off the bench and would be a nice tutor for DeAndre Jordan. The mid-level exception for O'Neal would be better than giving it to Hollins.
He's another mid-level exception candidate produced well for the Mavericks last season. A solid rebounder and good defender would just beef up the Clippers front line.
The former top pick has never reached what many thought he would pre-draft, but has shown to be a solid defender throughout his career.
Haddadi would not only provide size, but would definitely attract more fans to the Staples Center as Los Angeles has a fair amount of Persians.
My top picks would be trade for Brooks and sign O'Neal, Singleton and Hollins, leaving a final depth chart of:
PG: Chris Paul - Eric Bledsoe - Chauncey Billups (INJ)
SG: Jamal Crawford - Marshon Brooks - Travis Leslie
SF: Caron Butler - James Singleton - Ryan Gomes
PF: Blake Griffin - Lamar Odom - Trey Thompkins
CE: DeAndre Jordan - Jermaine O'Neal - Ryan Hollins
Until the return of Billups, the bench has a nice mixture of offense, playmaking and scrappy defense. But we shall wait and see what Roeser and Vinny do until they hire a general manager to take over the duties.
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