Mar 4, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul (3) argues with Phoenix Suns center Channing Frye (8) at the US Airways Center. The Clippers defeated the Suns 104-96. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Channing Frye to decline player option, become free agent

In a pretty shocking move, Channing Frye of the Phoenix Suns will become a free agent this summer according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.

Why is this news on a Clippers blog?

Well, because Frye fits the profile of the stretch-four Doc Rivers has had his eye on. Since the 2009-10 season, Frye has proven to be one of the best volume shooting big men in the NBA. In the given time span, no player at least 6’11 or taller has shot more threes than Frye (1526). When you factor in Frye missing the entire 2012-13 season due to an enlarged heart, it makes Frye’s three attempts more jarring. And of the 1526 threes, Frye has connected on 594 attempts, or 38%.

Within the Clippers offense, Frye could become a dangerous asset. Already, the Clippers are coming off a season where they were the best offense during the regular season, and this was without a viable option behind Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan for three-fourths of the season. In a pick-and-roll heavy offense, Frye becomes the second biggest threat to be paired with Chris Paul after Griffin. Last season, Frye shot a jaw-dropping 46.1% on three-pointers as the pick-and-pop man. With that type of shooter on the floor, the spacing is amplified due to the defense over-compensating for Frye’s presence, creating room for others, mainly Griffin and Paul, to create and score.

With Frye added into the equation, his presence would allow an already explosive team to become more versatile. Unlike most jump-shooting big men, Frye is a capable defender, eliminating the need to overcompensate on the defensive end when he’s on the floor. Want to go four-out, one-in? You could play Frye alongside Jordan. Want to go with a hybrid five-out offense? You could play Frye-Griffin alongside each other with Frye guarding centers (players scored .83 PPP vs. Frye in post-ups!) in order to keep Griffin away from possible foul trouble.

How could the Clippers afford Frye?

It depends on how important money is to Frye coming into free agency. Considering he just opted out of a deal worth $6.8 million in 2014-15, it may be safe to jump the gun and assume salary isn’t as big a priority as playing for a contending team. This could open up the possibility of using the mid-level–$3.2 million or $5.3 million, depending on which exception the Clippers qualify for– on Frye, if not the whole thing than a fraction of it in order to focus on the rest of the roster.

Free agency begins in July.

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