1169Andre Miller and Clipper free agents
- Jul 31, 2002I thought the recent Andre Miller trade raises some interesting
questions on potential and willingness to pay for it. On a talent
level this seems like a clear win for the Clipps (though I know the
Cavs have some finance issues that influenced their decision making
process). But I think this trade is more interesting in that the
Clippers have, yet again, a team with potential but no real on court
accomplishments. It is deja vu for Donald Sterling all over again.
This is the third time since the late 80s Clippers have put together
a nice potential team with high draft picks. In the late 80s and
early 90s the clipps had a young team coached by Larry Brown that was
a seven seed to years in a row and narrowly lost game 5s in the first
round to Utah (91-92) and Houston (92-93). The teams had Charles
Smith, Danny Manning, Ron Harper, Loy Vaught, Ken Norman, Stanley
Roberts, and Gary Grant. Not the 85 Lakers but a good team that
seemed to have upside potential. Sterling had a chance to pay these
guys but chose not to. This was looked at as cheapness but was it
really a bad decision in retrospect? lets look:
1) Danny Manning was traded for Dominique Wilkins after contract
talks broke down. Sterling also let Nique walk. Manning signed with
Phoenix for a big contract (I think they had a wink one year deal
plus a big extension). In PHoenix, Manning averaged about 14 ppg and
5 rpg and missed 23% of their games over 5 years. (Nique got a big
deal from the celts that broke down and was never really a regular in
the NBA for more than one more year.
2)Ron Harper was let sign with the Bulls. Harper obviously was a
nice complementary player for the bulls but did only average 8 ppg
for the Bulls. this was not worth a 5 year $25 million deal.
3) Ken Norman signed with Milwaukee and had a long term deal. He
scored 12 ppg for two years and then was a fringe players whose
contract slot outlasted his career on atlanta.
4) Gary Grant was kept around for a cheap deal and was decent point
guard for another couple of years.
5) Stanley Roberts stayed. injury and weight issues really killed
his career. after 92-93, he never scored more than 7 ppg in a full
season. (I think he was banned from the league for drug problems
6) Charles Smith was traded for Mark Jackson (the point guard).
Smith, as New Yorkers will remember, was given a hug deal and was not
that good (he could not dunk the damn ball against the bulls!). He
is another whose contract outlived his playing career. The Clips
traded jackson for prospects (piatkowski, and malik sealy).
7) the clips kept Loy Vaught and he was ok (he averaged a double-
double for three years). but when he was free agent the clipps let
him go Detroit. Detroit gave hims a four year deal of which he was
active 44% of the time averaging roughly 3 ppg.
While this clipper teams seemed fun, Sterling clearly was correct in
not paying big bucks for what is overall serious rapid decline after
1994. (this is also excluding Benoit Benjamin who the clips let go
and was given a big deal by the sonics to their regret)
in the mid to late 90s (96-97 to 98-99) the clips had a weak team but
also with young players with some potential who had to be paid or let
walk. THe team had Vaught, Malik Sealy, Rodney Rogers, Bo Outlaw,
Lammond Murray, Brent Barry, Lorenzen Wright, Maurice Taylor, and
Derek Anderson. The team squeaked into the playoffs in 96-97 and
were swept in the first round. But there was some talent. Sterling
let everyone of these guys go and it seemed like a good decision:
1) Vaught we have already examined
2) Sealy was a solid player but probably not worth a big deal but was
a solid backup on the Twolves. (he unfortuantely was killed by a
3) Rodney Rogers was let go to PHoenix where he went from sixth man
of the year to pariah they wanted out. He was ok a doulbe figure
scorer but also not a guy you really want to over pay for.
4) Lamond Murray looked like potentially good scorer but the Clips
traded him for another good prospect, Derek Anderson. He scored
17ppg for the clips. but they let him go because he wanted big
bucks. he is know wildly overpaid on portland ($70million i think)
and is not as good as bonzi wells his backup.
5) The clips also refused to pay brent barry. they traded him for
ike austin who played well for them in a half year (14ppg 7 rpg).
Ike got a big deal from Orlando in 99 and promptly bombed. he is now
out of the league. Barry is actually a good player on seattle(he may
have been worth keeping if the price was right).
6) Bo Outlaw was the defensive specialist for LA and he signed with
Orlando where he was pretty good not great. he is now on phoenix who
has no place for him but can't really move his contract.
7) Maurice Taylor scored well for the clips (15 ppg in three years).
They still let him go to Houston for a big deal. he was weak his
first year there (13 ppg 5.5 rpg) and blew out his achilles missing
all of last year.
8) Lorenzen Wright also looked like a nice player for the clips.
They let him go and he is blossoming a little on memphis (12 ppg and
9 rpg last year).
Overall, Sterling has been pretty right about not paying for talent.
Barry and Wright seemed ok but only at the right price. I know a lot
of these guys do not seem great today but the players seemed to have
the same glow of potential that a lot of the guys the clips have
today do. Does this mean Sterling should let all these guys go too?
no, I think brand and miller are keepers. (olowokandi is probably
not at the max). But to write off sterling as a cheapskate ignores
that he was correct on most of his decisions. I am not saying he
runs a good team and that he could do some things differently but I
would be very wary paying too much for q richardson, maggette,
olowokandi, mcinnis & miles (who are gone already), and even the
stars brand and miller.
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