Unfortunately, it appears as though we’re headed for an NBA work stoppage prior to next season in some regard.
However, once all that is sorted out (hopefully sooner than later), we’ll have the NBA’s annual free agency bonanza.
While the upcoming crop of free agents isn’t close in quality to the superstar-laden class of 2010, 2011 still has its fair share of talented players.
So, with the season finale for the Los Angeles Clippers coming up Wednesday evening, it’s time to start thinking about how they should approach the offseason.
Which players should our little Clippers be targeting?
Butler has missed most of this season for Dallas after suffering a torn patellar tendon in his right knee in early January, but he’s shown in the past that he can be a go-to scorer.
The 30-year-old isn’t the highest-percentage offensive player, and he too often settles for perimeter jumpers when he could take it hard to the rim.
The Clippers haven’t been quiet about their desire to find a starting-caliber small forward, and Butler certainly fits the bill.
He has a reputation as a grinder, as evidenced by his nickname, “Tuff Juice.” Butler has always been a solid defensive player, which, obviously, the Clippers could use.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. Who on earth would want Kwame Brown, right?
Well, while he hasn’t at all lived up to his potential as a former No. 1 overall draft pick, Brown has made a solid career as a defending and rebounding big in the league.
He’s extremely limited offensively, but with scorers like Blake Griffin and Chris Kaman manning the post, the Clippers won’t need much of a scoring punch from Brown.
Instead, he would give them a versatile front court defender to help clog the paint and make it tough on opponents to get easy buckets at the rim.
Kwame is also extremely effective defending the pick-and-roll as a seven-footer, which doesn’t come easy to most bigs.
The Clips do have some decent size already in their front court, but you can never have too many bodies up front.
Chandler will be a restricted free agent, so his new team, the Nuggets, will be afforded the opportunity to match any offer submitted to Chandler.
However, if, for some reason, they don’t match, Chandler could be an ideal fit with the Clippers.
He’s still only 23 years old, and is enjoying the most productive season of his career, averaging 15 points and nearly six rebounds per game.
He’s become a quality defender, and seems to have a knack for coming up with big plays in big moments.
A guy like Chandler is exactly what the Clippers are in the market for, and he’s a guy worth spending some cash to acquire.
The Clips are a young, rebuilding team, but a veteran presence like Battier would do wonders on- and off-the-court.
He won’t give you much offensively (except for a three-pointer every now-and-then), but he takes great pride in his defense.
Battier has been named to the NBA All-Defensive Second Team twice, and is known to be a “Kobe-Stopper.” Quite the rare breed, indeed.
He is also a tremendous locker room presence, and isn’t afraid to step up as the vocal leader of a team.
Battier would be a nice fit.
Young is another up-and-coming young talent, and is also a restricted free agent.
He has emerged this season as a sleeper candidate to take home the Sixth Man of the Year Award for the surprising 76ers, and can play both forward positions.
His lanky frame likely suits him to play small forward more, but he’s developed a certain toughness about him and will get physical down low, as well.
He’s stopped taking ill-advised, low-percentage three-pointers, and seems to be finding his way offensively.
Young is still quite raw, so there’s no telling how much he’ll be able to improve in the coming years.
Hear me out here.
I know Oden has had even more injury problems than Andrew “Out of the Lineup” Bynum throughout his first few years as a pro, but he might come at a bargain price.
We saw what he was capable of in his one year at Ohio State, and seems to have what it takes to develop into a dominant center on both ends of the floor.
Obviously, because of his troubling injury history, there’s a significant amount of risk involved when considering signing Oden.
However, he’s about as high-risk, high-reward a guy as you’ll find on the market. If the Clippers manage to strike gold here, they’ll have themselves a potentially unstoppable front court for the next decade or more.
The Clippers should have some money to spend in free agency once it comes around. There are a few areas in which the team can address some needs, so it will be interesting to see how they choose to approach it.
About the Author
Written by Taylor Smith
Taylor Smith is a writer for the Los Angeles Clippers, and covers the Los Angeles Dodgers for ProSportsBlogging.com.