Article from LATimes
Clippers off-season will be difficult too
The link is right here, I'm just including the important parts.
http://www.latimes.com/sports/basketbal ... full.story
By Jonathan Abrams, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
April 16, 2008
Does Elton Brand opt out of the last year of his contract? Does Corey Maggette do the same? Who is the team's starting point guard? How does Shaun Livingston fit into plans? What about their lottery pick?
What happens to the rest of the team with only five players signed for next year, not counting Brand or Maggette?
"This is an important year for management," Maggette said. "Not just me, but there's a few other guys on this team they have to make decisions on as well."
One Clippers player says he grades Dunleavy a C-minus on the season because the team would have benefited from running an open-court style of play.
The few bright spots?
Al Thornton, who will be Maggette's heir should he depart, sparkled through much of his rookie season and center Chris Kaman was posting career-best numbers before injuries limited him to the fewest games of his career.
Dunleavy said he was still confident everything will come together this off-season. He envisions the team will retain Brand and Maggette, make a good draft selection and bolster one of the strongest front-courts next season.
In other words, wait until next year, which is a familiar Clippers rallying cry.
Dunleavy is aware of what the team is up against, after watching the losses pile up and witnessing the Western Conference grow deep, more top heavy.
"Obviously, we need to go to the fullest extent of what we can expend, which I think we will," he said, "just put all of the resources together -- a good draft pick and then the free-agent market."
First up are in-house matters.
Maggette is expected to opt-out of the final season of his contract and test what is shaping up to be a limited-spending free-agent market. Publiclyhe has said he wants to remain with the Clippers, although it's believed he is still undecided on returning.
"I understand the business, the limit they can go to," Maggette said. "It's up to them. It's not up to me. They already know where I want to be. I want to be here. If I can't, then it's just a part of business and I had a great time being here."
Brand is also believed to be leaning toward opting out. He has repeatedly said that if negotiations go right between the team and David Falk, his agent, that he will return. If so, it will probably be under a new contract.
"You look at security, what's on the table and what you have coming in the next year and what's on the table for how long," Brand said of his thought process. "For a new team, you look at is that team a better situation for you? And then you've got to look at salary again."
Maggette and Brand said they would wait until the playoffs end before making their decisions.
Of the pair, Dunleavy noted: "Nothing is for certain, but I think if I had to place a bet today, I'd place a bet that they would both be back."
Livingston is still recovering from a serious knee injury that has sidelined him for 14 months, leaving his point-guard-of-the-future status up in the air. He is due a $5.8-million qualifying offer this summer, a tricky proposition because Clippers management has not been able to evaluate his recovery on the court.
Even if he is healthy, the Clippers are expected to select a guard in the draft, a group that will probably include USC's O.J. Mayo, Texas' D.J. Augustin, Indiana's Eric Gordon and Arizona's Jerryd Bayless. And if luck finds them, the Clippers will have no trouble drafting Memphis guard Derrick Rose, if they get one of the top two picks.