As soon as the lock out was over we had plenty of trade rumors involving the Clippers swirling around. Clipper Management had other ideas. Before they would enterain any trades they had to make sure the team was better even if a trade was never made. That put two priorities on the table. They needed to sign DeAndre Jordan and they needed to fill the one hole in our lineup that was keeping the team from making more progress. They needed a small forward who could make a difference.
They had to work fast because the top 3 players would likely go fast. So they met early in the week with Caron Butler. There were several other teams interested including the Nets and the Spurs. Reports say that the Net had an offer on the table for 4 years and 30 Mil.
This time the Clippers won a free agent battle. Caron Butler agreed to a 3 year deal for 24 Mil instead of the deal the Nets had offered. We will probably hear more later on about why Caron decided on the Clips but one report suggests he was excited about playing with Blake Griffin. Face it, with the Clippers he has a guaranteed starting job and the opposing defenses will all be focusing on Blake. That just opens up the floor for Caron. Expect his numbers to go up.
This signing is a return to LA for Butler. He was the 10th player drafted in 2002 by Miami and spent his 3rd season here in LA with the Lakers. That season he averaged numbers that were similar to his career totals of 16.6ppg along with 6rpg while shooting a career 44% from the floor.
The Clippers can always use more outside shooting but Caron has never been that good of a shooter from the 3, hitting on only 32% of his attempts during his career. Oddly enough, last season in 29 games before he got hurt, he hit his career best of 43% from the 3.
Many Clippers fans thought if they couldn't trade for a top small forward they would just rent one for one year. Next summer that have Minnesota's first round pick and it should be at least a top 5 pick if not the top pick. 4 of the top 5 players in that draft are small forwards and one of them is being touted as the second coming of Christ himself.
Another option was to go shopping next summer with cap space to buy a franchise player. They are under the cap now and with Kaman's expiring contract along with others, they would have the funds to offer a max contract to the player of their dreams. They have now gone in another direction. The 3 year deal eats up part of that cap space. The offers that DJ is reportedly getting will also eat up some more if the Clippers match.
So, it seems more likely than ever that Kaman will get traded now. His expiring contract won't mean quite as much to the Clippers because they will no longer be in Max contract territory next summer. If they trade Kaman now, then for who? If the team can keep DJ the lineup is now solid at every position and the bench is pretty good as well. Don't be surprised if the Clippers try to package Kaman and Minney's #1 pick in an attempt to bring in one of the top players in the league. That way they keep their core players in tact . If that trade is for a center, then DJ is gone. That will only happen if the center is Dwight Howard. If they can't get Dwight, they probably match unless some team just goes crazy and offers DJ over 10Mil a year. The answer just might come pretty soon.
aka Don Allen