The Brooklyn Nets (pre-trade with the Boston Celtics) were the perfect example of what you don’t want your franchise to do when given cap space. Such a dangerous two words, but them alone can be the doom of a NBA team. Stuck between contender and pretender the Nets had no means of getting better without a big trade (that’s what they eventually did) and it was because they mismanaged last years free agency giving out
Of course it’s easier to look at things in hindsight as I can point out how and why which mistake was bad. And with such a good NBA offseason going for the Los Angeles Clippers I’ve decided to look back and grade all the deals they were apart of this time last year:
Jamal Crawford – 4 years, $21.35 million
If I told you that the Clippers would be paying a player whose lone job is to score the ball $15 million-plus over the next three years, you’d automatically think it’s a bad deal. It’s not. The structure of the deal put the Clips in a nice place if they ever got the feeling that Crawford isn’t their “guy” anymore. He was second in scoring behind Blake Griffin and finished as the runner-up in the Sixth Man of the Year race. That’s not bad at $5 mill. But if you take into account his defense, passing abilities and “J.R. Smith-like” tendencies you’ll reconsider. At any moment after this season the Clips can pull the plug on this deal as the last two seasons are non-guaranteed. Until Crawford’s abilities begin to fall off the deep end this is a good deal. And when that moment comes, they’ll part ways.
This also happened.
Matt Barnes – 1 year, $854,389
Like every other team that has employed Matt Barnes, the Clippers got him on a absolute bargain You could argue he was the most important player on the reserve unit instead of Jamal Crawford as Jamal is a horrendous defender. This league emphasizes 3-and-D players and to obtain one of the better reserve small forwards for the league minimum was a nice move by general manager Chris Paul (lol). A solid season put the Clippers in place to later re-sign Barnes to a deal.
Grant Hill - 2 year, $4 million
I remember when this deal happened. After an underrated year with the Phoenix Suns most thought that Hill could be a key acquisition for this team in the long run even at the age of. Little did we know that Hill would never be the same once away from the Suns lauded training staff [we really should have known]. Injuries ruined Hill’s chance at ever impacting rotation and when on the floor he was a shell of himself offensively. Defensively he still had some left in the tank (remember his impressive half guarding Carmelo Anthony?) If it wasn’t for the low salary of this deal, I’d rate it lower, but in the end the team didn’t miss out on much. Using the bi-annual exception practically backfired in their face as they can’t use it this season, but it was a low-cost, high reward move that never panned out.
Lamar Odom – 1 year, $8.2 million
Another low-risk, high reward move by the Clippers front office. After that abysmal season in Dallas, everyone thought that getting back to Los Angeles would return Odom back into the days where he was 6MOY quality. Sadly that wasn’t true. Half the year, the word on Lamar Odom was how “once he got into playing shape he’d be a true help to this team.” Those words were slightly true, but he never panned out.
Willie Green – 3 year, $4.2million
Why does signing Willie Green at $1 million per result in the same grade as signing Jamal Crawford at $5 million per? This league is about knowing your worth. His role is similar to Mike Miller‘s of the Miami Heat but without all the finanical problems that come along with it. When he’s needed he stepped gracefully, starting at shooting guard while Billups rehabbed from an injury. His numbers? Just 6.8 points per game, but he shot 41 percent from three during that time. Long story short, he did his job. He’ll be owed less than $3 million over the next season with the last season not fully guaranteed. Thievery by this front office.
Chauncey Billups – 1 year, $4 million
This deal was the perfect example of “veteran leadership”. Let’s be honest. Even when healthy, Chauncey isn’t a starter in this league. Luckily the team gave him a one-year deal using bird rights. Billups year was rough. While the deal was solid monetarily, playing Billups meant less Eric Bledsoe. In 2013, that solution isn’t a good thing. You could argue that this decision cost the Clippers a playoff series against the Memphis Grizzlies. While most won’t admit it, it should have been Billups playing in the Willie Green role instead of Green himself.
Ronny Turiaf/Ryan Hollins – 1 year deals ($854K)
Like most on this list, the Clippers added the two big-men as stop gaps after losing Reggie Evans and Kenyon Martin to free agency. Going from Evans/Martin to Turiaf/Hollins is a huge drop-off defensively, but they helped as Vinny Del Negro consistently kept Deandre Jordan on the bench due his lack of offense and terrible free-throw touch. Hollins was the better of the two players, but neither made a real impact throughout the season.