Coming off yet another disappointing season, the Los Angeles Clippers were hoping to grab a prized free agent during what many consider to be the best free agent class in the history of the National Basketball Association.
Though free agency may not fully be over, as some big names such as Tracy McGrady or Shaquille O' Neal remain, the Clippers were not able to bag LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, or Amare Stoudemire.
Instead, Niel Olshey, the Clippers general manager, went out and got solid role players.
After seven years with Mike Dunleavy Sr. at the helm, the Clippers finally decided they would go separate ways after Dunleavy resigned as the head coach and eventually was canned as the team's general manager.
Olshey took over as the general manager after being an assistant to Dunleavy, but the team was still lacking a head coach.
The final candidates came down to Vinny Del Negro, who spent two years with the Chicago Bulls going 41-41 each season, and Dwayne Casey, the former Timberwolves head coach and long time assistant.
Many thought Casey was the better man for the job, but Olshey and the rest of the front office decided that Del Negro was the way to go.
Coming into the NBA's 2010 draft, the Clippers had the eight and 54th overall selections, and only five players (Baron Davis, Eric Gordon, Blake Griffin, Chris Kaman and DeAndre Jordan) under contract for the 2010-11 season.
They also had a glaring hole to fill at the small forward position.
With the top SF prospect, Wesley Johnson, being a long shot to drop to the Clippers, Olshey and the gang were hoping that Al-Farouq Aminu would drop, as he was widely considered to be the second best prospect at his position.
The Golden State Warriors took Ekpe Udoh with the sixth pick, leaving the Detroit Pistons who took Greg Monroe allowing Olshey to take Aminu.
Even with the Clippers next pick being 46 picks away, Olshey was on the phone trying to acquire an additional first rounder and help build a nice young and inexpensive bench. Olshey was successful at that attempt as he struck a deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder to acquire the rights to Eric Bledsoe with the 18th overall selection.
Bledsoe is a solid guard out of the University of Kentucky. Following the addition of Bledsoe, Olshey took Willie Warren with the Clippers final draft night selection at number 54.
Clippers came into the NBA's free agency period with enough cap space to offer a maximum contract to the names mentioned in the first paragraph, and as it was expected they were not able to secure the services of any of the marquee free agents.
Instead, Olshey turned his attention to signing solid role players at reasonable contracts as opposed to overpaying.
The first move was signing Randy Foye, a combination guard out of Villanova. Foye was drafted by the Portland Trail Blazers and dealt to the Minnesota Timberwolves for the rights of Brandon Roy, the fifth overall pick.
Foye spent three years with the Wolves and his last season with the Wizards, averaging 12.2 points, 3.6 assists, and 2.6 rebounds per game in his career.
Following the signing of Foye, the Clippers signed Ryan Gomes, a forward out of Providence University.
Gomes was drafted by the Boston Celtics, and spent his first two seasons there before being apart of the trade that brought Garnett to the Celtics from the Wolves, where he teamed up with Randy Foye. Gomes career averages are 11.5 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 1.6 assists per game.
The bench was solidified with Olshey bringing back swing man Rasual Butler and power forward Craig Smith, along with the signing of veteran Brian Cook and prospect Marques Blakely.
With all their signings, the Clippers did let go of guard Steve Blake (signed with the Los Angeles Lakers), Travis Outlaw (signed with the New Jersey Nets), Drew Gooden (signed with the Milwaukee Bucks) along with those still unsigned such as Bobby Brown, Brian Skinner, Steve Novak, and Mardy Collins.
All in all, the Clippers did not strike gold, but they did not fall for fool's gold either. With the additions of three rookies, last year's number one pick Blake Griffin, solid role players, and a new coach, it seems as if the Clippers are slowly moving in the right direction
Re: Offseason Recap:
I love the new Clipper team and think that they have potential to be competitive and possibly fight for a 7th or 8th playoff spot.
Re: Offseason Recap:
no reason they can't be 2nd in the division with Phoenix on the way down. Gordon,Kaman and Griffin alone should make for a nice team. THe rest just have to chip in. Aminu needs to contribute or they may have to deal Kaman.
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