3 Small Forward Options for the Los Angeles Clippers
Stud shooting guard. Check.
Amazing power forward. Check.
Veteran point guard. Check.
Depth at center. Check.
Good fit at small forward. Missing.
It is no secret that the Clippers have among the league's best young nuclei, and that isn't with just Blake Griffin and Eric Gordon. DeAndre Jordan is considered by many to be one of the best up and coming centers with potential to be a great defender.
Eric Bledsoe, acquired on draft night, had some amazing games starting for the injured Baron Davis or for Maurice Williams after the trade. Al-Farouq Aminu, the Clippers top selection, is oozing with potential but is still a huge question mark.
Now, the Clippers are a team built for the future, but the biggest part of building a championship contender is to get a team that knows how to win, and no better time to start than now. With many trade pieces (Chris Kaman, Jordan, the Minnesota Timberwolves unprotected 2012 first round draft pick, Aminu, Bledsoe), cap space and the possibility of the new collective bargaining agreement (which needs to be agreed upon already!) having an amnesty cut, the Clippers have their options available.
Let's look at the three players I believe would be the best fit for the Clippers at the three spot.
Andre Iguodala of the Philadelphia 76ers
As of then, and as of now, Iguodala still continues to be the best option for the franchise, but Neil Olshey, the Clippers general manager, was hesitant to give up the Wolves' 2012 first round pick, which could end up being the top pick in draft that is thought to be pure amazing.
Taking the pick off the table, the Clippers seemingly still have the assets to go after Iggy with a combination of Chris Kaman and Al-Farouq Aminu. The 76ers started Spencer Hawes at the five spot last year, and it needs no saying that they need a huge upgrade at that position.
Kaman, a former All-Star, already has chemistry with Elton Brand, the 76ers power forward, and being an expiring contract is a no-risk move for the franchise, while Aminu is someone with loads of potential.
Now, even though Philadelphia might be iffy on pulling the trigger, Olshey needs to continue to work the phones. Kaman could be a highly coveted player, and a three-team deal could be possible.
Back to Iguodala on the Clippers.
He's a solid defender that has a decent stroke from range to help spread the floor. The biggest impact, however, that Iguodala can make on the Clippers is his ability to be a point-forward at times, further improving the Clippers' versatility.
Assuming a trade goes down and Iguodala is a Clipper after the lock-out ends, Vinny Del Negro is looking at a projected starting unit of Maurice Williams-Gordon-Iguodala-Griffin - Jordan. Four players on that unit can rebound and push the ball. Three players are good defenders. Four players are athletic freaks.
Make the move, Neil!
Rashard Lewis of the Washington Wizards
Wait, Rashard Lewis has an albatross contract! While that may be true, with the amnesty rumors, it is almost certain the Wizards will use that option on Lewis.The Clippers can give Shard a two-year deal worth eight million, the same deal Ryan Gomes has, but assuming Gomes is amnestied as well.
At 6'10" and 39 percent for his career from three point range, Shard comes in and spreads the floor for the Clippers as well as you can ask, with Williams and Gordon being prolific shooters as well. He may not be the defensive guru the Clippers may be looking for, but those qualities surely would make him a great fit, along with the fact that they would still be able to keep Kaman and Aminu to use in another trade or be selfish and keep on the roster.
Caron Butler of the Dallas Mavericks
An unrestricted free agent whom appeared just 26 times for the reigning champion Dallas Mavericks last season is another option to take a good, hard look at. Butler is a savvy veteran that never stops playing on defense and doesn't complain about touches on offense.
On top of that, he can be a good tutor to the young Al-Farouq Aminu and hold down the fort until Aminu is ready to start (or is classified as a bust). While not a good three point shooter for his career (31.9 percent), his experience could end up paying dividends. Also consider that he has elevated his play come postseason, and how can one turn down the addition of Butler as a free agent.
Andrei Kirilenko: During the current EuroBasket tournament, Ak47 is playing really well, almost dominating at times it seems. A solid all-around player known for his stifling defense could arguably be the best fit for the Clippers. But can they entice him to return to the NBA for a team outside of the Nets that have the Russian Connection?
Tayshaun Prince: Another player that is arguably the best fit for the Clippers, but it seems like Prince will be either looking for an instant chance at a ring or a big pay day. The former isn't where the Clippers are as of yet, and the latter, one can hope doesn't occur.
Shane Battier: Great role player and defender, but it's doubtful the Grizzlies let him walk.
Luc Richard Mbah A Moute: The Prince from Cameroon played his college ball at UCLA and is a solid defender that won't complain about offensive touches.
Josh Childress: If the Phoenix Suns decide to amnesty Childress, the Clippers should look to attain his services.