As we all know July 8th was the day King James stabbed Cleveland in the back. However, in Clipperland they had their own business to handle. The Clippers have signed five-year veteran Shooting Guard Randy Foye along with versatile Forward Ryan Gomes.
The Clippers were one of the teams LeBron met with during his Reality show known as LeBronfest, which shows the situation with the lesser known LA team is worth looking at. The red headed LA stepchild, the Clippers, knew they were unlikely to be the King's final destination, and as a result were in talks with a few UFA candidates.
Building from solid and young foundation new Clippers GM, Neil Olshey knew that he had a point guard Baron Davis, Shooting Guard Eric Gordon, Center Chris Kaman, and the highly touted No. 1 pick from the 2009 NBA draft, Power Forward Blake Griffin in place. There were also a few depth pieces already set, including young big man DeAndre Jordan, as well as athletic Forward Craig Smith.
The Clippers have had a fairly productive off season already drafting Al-Farouq Aminu, Eric Bledsoe, and Willie Warren. Aminu stands 6'9", is considered raw, but loaded with upside. He is listed as a Power Forward, but with some maturing and patience could be the Small Forward of the future. Aminu has the ability to create mismatches, and with freakish athleticism can bring the fans to their feet.
Bledsoe is 6'1" and played more of a two-guard at Kentucky, but did play some point and is likely being groomed as a backup and mentored by Baron Davis. Finally, Willie Warren is 6'4" Shooting Guard that will be a project, as his defensive skills will need to develop to match up against NBA talent. All considered, the draft went well.
Keeping with the busy summer, the Clippers hired their 23rd head coach in Vinny Del Negro. I'll admit he wasn't my top choice as I was hoping for a return of Larry Brown or even in a reach—former Raptors coach Sam Mitchell. Vinny may work and I'm willing to give him a shot.
That brings us to July 8, 2010. When the world was watching LeBronapolooza, Randy Foye and Ryan Gomes both signed with the Clippers and will likely play a key role in their upcoming season. Terms are rumoured to be two years for $8 million for Foye, and three years for $12 million for Gomes.
Gomes, 27, has also played five seasons. Deemed as an ideal sixth man, Gomes may not be a household name, but in his career he was named 2004/05 Sporting News NCAA First Team All American. followed by his NBA debut as a Second Team All Rookie in 2005/06. He was drafted by Boston 50th overall then in 2007 and played well for the Celtics.
Gomes was then involved in the trade bringing Kevin Garnett to Beantown. In Minnesota, he found a solid role where he played around 30 minutes a night and averaged over 10 points per game and five rebounds per game. Gomes is known as a leader in the locker room, well respected in the league, seen as a solid defender, and does the little things well. Character moves like this shouldn't be overlooked.
In Foye the Clippers are getting the seventh overall. pick in 2007. Foye was also drafted by Boston, who then traded him to Portland, and was then flipped to Minnesota for Brandon Roy—all on draft day. Talk about changing hats, that was one busy day infront of cameras.
Foye has yet to reach his potential in the NBA. As a college star out of Villanova, Foye, won Big East player of the year and averaged over 20 points per game as a senior. As a pro he has had a few injury issues, missing 43 games due to a left knee injury in 2007/08. Despite that the Timberwolves exercised their option for 2008/09 where he put up his best season to date, collecting 16.3 points per game while playing over 35 minutes each night.
Last year Fpye was traded with Mike Miller to Washington where he struggled in his limited role. A minor wrist injury didn't help. Randy has played the one, the two—and probably most important to the Clippers—the three spot. A veteran of the league, and yet still only 26 years old.
It is still early in the off-season so it wouldn't be a surprise if the Clippers may yet make more moves. I would expect they will likely be looking at another PG as well as a depth C and maybe even another SF.
It's true LBJ didn't come to LA, but Randy Foye maybe the right fit for a young team on the rise!