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Clippers targeting wing players in free agency

May 23, 2012, 1:54 PM EDT

Los Angeles Clippers' Paul puts his arm around teammate Griffin during NBA basketball game against the Memphis Grizzlies in Los Angeles Reuters

It’s still odd to think of the Clippers as a team that could enter next season as a contender — this has been the worst franchise in the league for decades.

But Blake Griffin started to change the culture and perception around the team, then Chris Paul arrived before the season and added rocket fuel to the changes. The Clippers went 40-26 and made it to the second round of the playoffs. It was a big step forward.

Now come the next steps. GM Neil Olshey said the Clippers targets will be wing players, according to the O.C. Register.

Olshey said the Clippers would like to add a shooting guard with some size and a back-up forward with shooting range and passing ability. Olshey and the Clippers will also have to make a lot of decisions regarding their own free agents.

Chauncey Billups, Randy Foye, Nick Young, Kenyon Martin and Reggie Evans will all be free agents this summer.

With the Clippers right now at the salary cap line for next year, they will be looking to find a starting two for the mid-level exception of about $5 million, plus bring back some of those role players like Young and Evans. They could use depth everywhere, save for maybe the point (Eric Bledsoe killed it in the playoffs when Paul sat).

Free agent two guards out there who might come for the mid-level (with the promise of going into the playoffs with Paul and Griffin): Ray Allen, Jamal Crawford, J.R. Smith, Courtney Lee… and from there the list gets less impressive. The good news — CP3 said he would play lead recruiter.

There are bigger issues facing the Clippers this offseason — offering Griffin a max extension to his rookie deal and starting discussions with Chris Paul about his future (he will be entering the last year of his deal). Then there’s what to do with Vinny Del Negro?

But this is now a team that needs tweaks not big moves to contend. This is a team that needs its players to learn the lessons of the playoffs. Their weaknesses were exposed by the Spurs, now is when you start to work on improving those. Come back better next fall. The Clippers will be more about the steps and improvements they make, about improved maturity of game, than they will be about moves off the court.

But look for a new starting two in LA next year. Likely one who can defend well on the perimeter.

  1. fats84 - May 23, 2012 at 2:52 PM

    Blake Griffin is not a player to build a team around. Overrated

    • jrillah10 - May 23, 2012 at 3:03 PM

      I love when people call players overrated. A 23 year old who averages 20 & 10 is overrated? Give the guy some time to develop and put some pieces around him before you call the guy overrated. I’m not a Blake fan either, but I’m not about to call the guy overrated.

    • abchome - May 23, 2012 at 4:01 PM

      Can you name 3 players averaging 20/10 with over 50% FG in this and last season?

      • SmackSaw - May 23, 2012 at 5:01 PM

        Griffin is this generations Karl Malone. Once he develops a mid range jumper, look out. Write it down.

      • girouxhasladyballs - May 23, 2012 at 6:05 PM

        that fg% is for dunks and he puts his arm out on every dunk. always a no call.

        dude has no shot and is getting by on athleticism and he’s a liability on defense.

      • abchome - May 24, 2012 at 10:32 AM

        Are you saying that he makes 10 dunks a game to get 20 points? Actually he averages “only” 3 dunks per game…

  2. amusementmgmt - May 23, 2012 at 3:55 PM

    I think Deandre Jordan was the BIG letdown. If I were GM, I’d be looking into the health/status of Greg Oden. He is still young and if healthy could be the inside offensive threat that Deandre is not. Resigning Chauncey although he’s a bit older is also a good move (i.e. Derek Fisher) as well. The Clippers getting Ray Allen or acquiring a Steve Novack or JJ Reddick would open the inside as there would be more of an outside threat.

    As for Foye,goodbye. Vinnie, same thing.

  3. gmsingh - May 23, 2012 at 4:12 PM

    Is “wing players” code for “a new coach”?

  4. loungefly74 - May 23, 2012 at 4:28 PM

    good for the ClipShow to finally make a presence in the NBA. yeah, smart thing to do is keep adding tools/players who compliment the team.

    someone said Griffin is overrated…well, i hear ya but realize he has time to grow and round out his game and his “star power” is very high which lead to other great players wanting to come to ClipLand which only a few can do in this league.

  5. justprofit84 - May 23, 2012 at 4:59 PM

    Get Courtney Lee or Ray Allen. Keep Evans, Nick Young and Martin. I would try to get/trade for Nene but no one will take Jordan with his fat contract.

    • honeyboywilson - May 24, 2012 at 10:11 AM

      Definitely Courtney Lee. He has way more long term potential than the others on that list.

  6. mat9844 - May 23, 2012 at 7:53 PM

    For not having a pre-season and a shortened season, the Clips had a great year. The team learned a lot just by making the playoffs and next year looks to be even better. Griffin is only 23 and just a year or so away from being a rookie; he has so much going for him to be a terrific player. He’s intense, dedicated , a fast learner and very unselfish in his playing. He and CP3 will take this team far.

  7. davidcl77 - May 23, 2012 at 9:20 PM

    They need to find an idiot in the front office of some sorry NBA team that has no better sense than to take Deande Jordan. 3 rebounds and 3 points a game doesn’t cut it. They need a center and backup power forward.

  8. jimsjam33 - May 23, 2012 at 9:28 PM

    Jamal Crawford , Yes ! The others no thanks .

  9. jimsjam33 - May 23, 2012 at 9:34 PM

    Jamal Crawford , Yes ! The others no thanks or trade back for Eric Gorden and Chris Kaman . They don’t look so bad now do they ? especially Kaman . They would be a would fit in perfect.
    Griffin , Paul , Kaman , Gorden , and Butler . Not bad . Add Eric Young , Jordan , Martin , Evans Bledsole , Foye , and
    Mo Williams has some trade value at Point guard . Chauncey Billups it’s been nice .

  10. thacloser86 - May 24, 2012 at 3:15 AM

    Clippers Suck. There the Lakers little sister how does it feels playing in the Staples center with nothing hanging in the ceiling belonging to you lmmfao

    • Jay Cue - May 24, 2012 at 2:32 PM

      How does hate and jealousy feel?

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