Just about every year, the first day of NBA free agency is headlined by stories of team executives calling players (or their agents) — and sometimes showing up at their front door — at 12:01 a.m. in an effort to get first crack at the guys they feel will get them where they want to go. Last year it was Elton Brand and Baron Davis getting the rocks-at-the-bedroom-window treatment; the year before it was Rashard Lewis and Mo Williams.
This year? Chalk it up to the slumping U.S. economy, or everyone looking ahead to 2010 (when LeBron, D-Wade, Bosh, Amar’e, etc., could be available), but there doesn’t seem to be any “Gotta get him!” free agents out there.
Still, teams always have holes they want to plug, and players have moves they want to make. On the eve of the ’09 negotiation period (players can’t officially sign until July 8), we’re taking the next few days to break down each team’s free agent situation…
G – Baron Davis, Eric Gordon, Mike Taylor, Fred Jones, Mardy Collins, Alex Acker
F – Blake Griffin, Zach Randolph, Al Thornton, Ricky Davis, Steve Novak, Brian Skinner
C – Marcus Camby, Chris Kaman, DeAndre Jordan
Davis (PO), Novak (R), Jones, Skinner (PO), Acker.
The Clips are almost overloaded up front, but the backcourt needs depth. Mike Taylor is nice, but you don’t want your third-best guard to be a guy who was in the D-League one year ago.
L.A. doesn’t have a ton of money under the cap — of which we won’t know the official number until July 8 — but could get a little more to play with if (big “if”) Ricky Buckets and/or Skinner opts out of their contracts, a combined $3.7 million. Novak is a restricted FA, but he won’t command much more than his $1.0M qualifying offer, plus coach/GM Mike Dunleavy Sr. likes Novak a lot, so expect him to be back.
Barring what they could get in a trade involving Z-Bo, Kaman or Camby (trying to free up the paint for Blake Griffin), the Clippers should target a backup two-guard/wing player for backup money.
SG – Flip Murray, Dahntay Jones, Marquis Daniels, Von Wafer, Eddie House (PO), Anthony Parker, Rashad McCants (R), Kareem Rush, Keith Bogans, Luther Head
SF – Jamario Moon (R), Rodney Carney, Quinton Ross, Gerald Green, Stephen Graham, Walter Herrmann