November 21, 2008
There's no point in killing the Clippers too much for making what is essentially a pretty pointless move. They don't need Zach Randolph, at all. The idea of Randolph and Chris Kaman playing alongside each other kind of reminds of Zach and Eddy Curry trying to go at it, though Kaman has more high post gifts than Eddy Curry. Michael Kamen had more high post gifts than Eddy Curry, for that matter, but that's beside the point.
Randolph's contract is horrible, and I still think he hurts teams despite his point and rebound production, but the contract isn't piling on the mess in the same way that Isiah piled bad deal after bad deal on his Knicks.
The Clippers had to pay Cuttino Mobley and Tim Thomas anyway next season, so they're not losing any money this year or next, and with Marcus Camby's contract coming off the books in 2010, the Clippers will have some flexibility in Randolph's final year.
What the deal is, though, is pointless. The Clippers are 29th in offense, and Randolph will help, but what the squad desperately needs is some sort of wing scorer. Actually, they needed two. Cuttino Mobley and Al Thornton have both had their moments this year, but they use up a lot of minutes and a lot of shots to get their (average the two out) 15 points per game. There's a reason this team is so inefficient, and Thornton/Mobley/Ricky Davis' play at the wings has the most to do with it.
And as horrible as Baron Davis has been at times, he's still helping the offense. Not a lot, but he is averaging eight assists for a team that only 35 field goals a game. That's a Steve Carlton-on-the-Phillies level of production, if Carlton had a 9.72 ERA and struck out 12 guys all season.
Davis is shooting 36 percent, he's taking an average of 6.5 three-pointers per game and making an average of 1.6 a contest (re-read that, it's astounding), and he's getting to the line nearly half as much as he used to. Other than that, bang on.
But while Baron should be playing better per his contract and abilities, he's not the problem. Mobley and Thornton and Ricky Davis have been. The team is just getting nothing from those wing spots.
And the team's rebounding, somehow, is awful. The Clippers are being out-rebounded by about five and a half per game, even though Kaman and Camby are combining to average over 20 per game. I don't see how Randolph can help that, because his rebounding acumen will come at the expense of another good rebounder's minutes.
So, essentially, the Clippers have further weakened their weakest position, added a superfluous big man, and a year's worth of salary. Not the end of the world, but not good, either. Maybe they can trade Camby back to the Nuggets for J.R. Smith and a part?
The Knicks, as you know, killed it. Thomas and Mobley don't have to play a game. Hell, if I'm New York, I do a favor to their agents and try to work the buyout. Let them try to catch on with a contender. You don't need old, bad (Thomas' PER is about 10, Mobley's is 11) players taking up space on your team. Trade like mad, if you can.
As it stands, as Woj mentioned, the Knicks have lopped off about $17.34 million off their 2010-11 books, and are only set to send about $18.1 million combined to Eddy Curry and Jared Jeffries that year (both player options ... thanks Isiah!), plus the rookie deals of Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari (about $5.4 million, combined). That's a pretty barren landscape, with lots of flexibility.
It doesn't have to be for LeBron, or D-Wade, or Chris Bosh. It just has to be a way to start over. The same start Knicks fans have been waiting for since it became obvious that the Ewing/Sprewell/Houston troika wasn't going to work some eight or nine (depending on your fandom) years ago. What a fantastic trade.
And the Clippers? Thanks for knowing your role.