Mar 12, 2012, 9:48 AM EDT
It’s pretty easy to picture the Clippers as a serious threat to the Thunder in the West if they added Ray Allen — the Celtics sharp shooter who takes on the Clippers Monday night.
The Clippers have struggled with production from the two guard spot since Chauncey Billups went down with an Achilles tendon injury. Allen would be the perfect fit — a veteran, championship presence in the locker room and a deadly outside shooter who would love the assists from Chris Paul and could balance out the inside game of Blake Griffin.
But the Clippers are not making the move, reports Ramona Shelburne at ESPNLosAngeles.com. The price is too high — the Clippers think they have a contender for years to come and will not risk that to win this year with someone like Allen who is a free agent at the end of this year.
“We’re willing to do anything we can to move needle this year,” (Clippers GM Neil) Olshey said. “But unless it’s piece for the future that also gives us to win a championship this year, we’re not going to give up our long-term flexibility and assets to do that.”
The price for the top shooting guards being mentioned in trade talks this spring — Boston’s Ray Allen, Portland’s Jamal Crawford and Washington’s Nick Young — has so far been too high for the Clippers. Most teams have asked for some combination of young point guard Eric Bledsoe, a future first-round pick and the expiring contracts of Randy Foye or Brian Cook.
Here’s why that is too high a price — both Crawford and Allen will be free agents this summer (Crawford can opt out and has said he will, Allen’s deal ends). You can go after both of them this summer as free agents. Why give up pieces now — and in Bledsoe a good piece — for a rental you can lose.
Olshey has it right — it is not about winning this season at all costs for the Clippers. This is a team built to contend for five years (if they can re-sign Paul), you think big picture and long term, not just right now.