The Clips do have a potent combo guard with Jamal Crawford coming off the bench, but Lob City needs someone that can play a larger role than stopgap starter Willie Green. Chauncey Billups could be re-signed, but his recent injury history and regression could spell trouble for LAC in 2013-14.
Re-signing Paul this offseason has to be LA’s top priority, but upgrading the shooting guard via trade or free agency will also be key. Here are three potential upgrades for the 2-guard.
Allen has an egregious jumper and struggles offensively, but he would take much of the defensive pressure off Paul and would elevate the Clips’ team defensive scheme. With Crawford coming off the bench, the Clips also do not need Allen to contribute too much offensively.
The Grindfather could function in a similar capacity to Matt Barnes, without the long-range stroke. Allen is a hard cutter and would benefit from playing alongside an offensive maestro like Paul.
The mutual disdain between the Grizzlies and the Clippers might suggest that Allen would never bolt Memphis for Hollywood. However, given the Clips’ courting of former Grizzlies head coach Lionel Hollins, the prospect of reuniting Allen with his coach is conceivable.
Allen made $3.3 million in Memphis last season. Despite his offensive deficiencies, the All-NBA Defense guard is worthy of something in that ballpark. Should Allen look to chase a title and get a change of scenery, then the Clips certainly present a compelling option.
A solid defender with more room for growth, Arron Afflalo could be a potential option for the Clips via trade. Earlier this summer, rumors surfaced that the Orlando Magic were interested in acquiring Eric Bledsoe and would offer Afflalo as part of the package. Afflalo was arguably the best piece that Orlando received in the Dwight Howard blockbuster in August.
Given the Clips reluctance to trade Bledsoe multiple times this year, they might be unwilling to part with the electric young guard.
The Clippers backed out of a potential deal with the Utah Jazz to acquire Paul Millsap midway through the season. Had the Clips been willing to deal Bledsoe, then Kevin Garnett and Doc Rivers might already be on their way to Los Angeles.
However with the No. 2 overall pick in the draft, the Magic could be looking to scrap their rebuilding process with Afflalo and move the young swingman. The reality is that Afflalo makes over $7 million a year and would be on the books through 2015-16.
Nevertheless, Afflalo is an upgrade over both Willie Green and Chauncey Billups. If the Clips could acquire the UCLA product without giving up a young asset, then Afflalo would fit in nicely in LAC’s backcourt.
According to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne, Pierce could be bought out of his current contract to be reunited with Garnett and Rivers in Los Angeles.
An Inglewood native, Pierce would bring defensive, championship experience and is another player that could create his own shot for the Clippers. The Truth has played both shooting guard and small forward throughout his career and could be another wily veteran on a deep Clippers supporting cast.
Who would be the best shooting guard upgrade for the Clips?
Even on a disappointing Boston team, Pierce found a way to average 18.6 points per game, 6.3 rebounds and 4.8 assists last season. Although Pierce has struggled with injuries in years past, he still logged 77 games last season.
At 35, Pierce is in the twilight of his career, but his ties to Los Angeles make him a viable candidate to return to Southern California. In order for Pierce to come to the Clippers, Garnett and Rivers would likely need to be the first dominoes to fall.
A starting lineup featuring Paul, Garnett, Pierce and Blake Griffin is scintillating. What the Clips decide to do with their vacant head coaching position should be indicative of the direction that the franchise is moving in.