My first reaction to the TrueHoop report of a possible trade of the 8th pick in tomorrow’s draft in exchange for the 17th pick and Luol Deng from the Chicago Bulls was less than pleasant.
I reasoned that the Deng is a guy who operates best when he has the ball and there is still only one ball allowed on the court at once and in the Clippers’ case, it’s usually monopolized by Baron Davis. Also factoring into my disgust was the fact that Deng is scheduled to make $11.3 million next season, and his contract will pay him approximately $30 million in the three seasons that follow this upcoming one (barring a work stopage, of course).
Don’t get me wrong, Deng is a good player – maybe even a very good player. But that is a lot of money (and cap space) to spend on someone who kind of replicates the game of Eric Gordon, except without the three-point shooting ability.
But then I calmed down and realized that this may be a sign that the Clippers’ management team may have started to realize that they are out of the running for one of the marquee free agents and don’t want to overspend on a second-tier free agent just because they have the available cap space (even though that’s basically the end result of this trade). It’s important for teams to have a realistic perception of themselves and this appears to be evidence that the Clippers have that quality.
So trading out of the 8 spot in the draft to the 17th spot means the team wasn’t set on investing the money and playing time on someone who is unproven at the pro level.
Figuring they can overpay someone who has proven themself to be a more-than capable pro might just be a step towards sanity.