If reports early Friday morning are true, the Clippers have secured yet another player who could help them not only during the season, but in the playoffs as well. Kenyon Martin has reportedly agreed to join the Clippers for the mid-level exemption. It apprears to be a good deal for both parties, since his salary will not count against the cap.
For a team that has already made major moves to overhaul their roster this season, there is still a lot of speculation over what is going to be the next move. The team is currently 13-7, but the wins have come mostly at home for a team that has enjoyed playing the fewest games in the NBA with the most rest and practice time. There is the lurking feeling that the team is a 7' Big away from being able to match up with anybody.
Finding a quality Big that is tall enough and beefy enough to bang with the likes of Dwight Howard or Andrew Bynum is not an easy task. So that is the likely reason they went shopping at KMart, who was just released from his contract in China. It appears that Chauncey Billups had indeed been lobbying KMart to join in on the "Lob City" fun. Kenyon brings career numbers of 13.5ppg with 7.2rpg and 1.2bpg while shooting 48% from the floor and 64% from the line. He shot 51% last season for Denver.
But Kenyon is now 34 and has had a recent history of injuries, so at 6'9" he is a better fit as a back up to Blake and DJ. Even though it wouldn't surprise me to see all 3 of them on the floor at the same time. He has a history with Chauncey since they were team mates in Denver and had playoff experience together. Signing Kenyon would be addition without subtraction since he is a free agent and we don't have to trade any assets for him. That keeps the Clippers in the position of still being able to trade for a 7' Big if one becomes available. We still have a trade exemption from the Chris Paul deal, along with expendable players, and future drafts picks, to try and swing a deal.
Kenyon has been working out in LA to stay in shape and has 3 children who live here. He joins a team that is very likely to make the playoffs and maybe even contend for a ring. So this seems to be a good fit.
It's a bird, it's a plane, no....it's Superman. And he's able to leap tall buildings with a single bound. For the fans of Lob city, if Dwight Howard, the best center in the NBA, is saying that he is willing to don his cape and fly to Lob Angeles, then it seems like a dream come true. But rumors of sources close to Dwight Howard saying he has added the Clippers to his list of acceptable destinations appear to be premature. Both the Magic and Dwight Howard have since come out and said that "officially" it is untrue. In other words, there is no official request to be reported. "Unofficially?" Who knows?
For Dwight Howard, if he does add the Clippers to his wish list, it is the best decision he ever made. When you compare what the Clippers have to offer compared to his other options, there is no comparison. Dallas.....have you been to Dallas? Nice town but not really all that exciting. No beaches, no tinsel town, no action. But yep, they got cowboy hats. New Jersey.....soon to be Brooklyn? This team just does not have the players in place to make them any better than Orlando. Maybe not nearly as good. The Lakers? This is a proud franchise but the problem is that the key players are senior citizens who are on their way out not on their way up.
Enter Lob City. The Clippers have young studs who are on the rise. If you added Dwight Howard to starting lineup of Chris Paul, Chauncey Billups, Caron Butler, and Blake Griffin, you might as well start saving up your money to buy tickets to the finals. This is the team that is a sure thing for Dwight Howard. And he gets to come to the largest media market in the world.
But getting him here is not a slam dunk. If he waits for free agency, under the new CBA, the Clippers would have a hard time signing him with all the other obligations that they have moving forward. CP3, Blake, and Dwight would all be max players. We are getting Chauncey for chump change this year but would have to sign him to a normal contract next year. Caron's contract would continue for another couple of years. The contracts of Mo Williams and the 10Mil we just gave to DJ add to the problem. But I'm sure the Clippers would find a way. They would have to unload a couple of contracts for future draft picks.
One way out is to fashion a trade. If Dwight signals he is not signing again in Orlando, then they are compelled to get best deal they can in return for his services. But he can literally choose his destination. All he has to say is that he won't sign with a team that is trying to trade for him and that team will have to back off. They can't give up key assets to rent Dwight for a couple of months only to have him go off and sign with someone else when free agency begins.
Dwight Howard is having his best season yet. He is averaging 20ppg with 15rpg while shooting 58% from the floor. His also sports a lofty 25EFF rating. His resume includes being on the All-NBA First Team for the fourth straight season. He was Named NBA Defensive Player of the Year for the third consecutive season, becoming the first player in NBA history to capture the award three straight times. He was also selected to the NBA’s All-Defensive First Team for the third straight season. He also just finished second in voting for NBA Most Valuable Player. Currently, he has the most votes of any player for the All Star game.
The Clippers, in order to trade for Dwight, are going to have to give up some really good pieces. Orlando would probably like to get a Center in return, but that would mean giving up DJ and his 10 Mil contract. How would Blake feel about that? They are best friends and it is the reason that the Clippers matched in the first place to retain DJ even though the price was pretty stiff. Another expendable piece is Mo Williams. But Mo is become more valuable than most people could have imagined as our 6th man. If a trade involving DJ, Mo, Bledsoe, and a first round pick could get it done, the Clippers would have to make that deal. Wouldn't they?
With DJ we are a playoff team. If we can hold on to Blake, CP3, Caron, and Chauncey and add Dwight Howard, we are the World Champions. This is the reason you find a way to get it done.
aka Don Allen