As we play out the final days of the 2011-'12 NBA regular season, we take a look at each franchise. Who emerged, what went wrong, what lies ahead. A look at post season chances, long term potential and upgrades possible in this summer's NBA draft. We continue in the Pacific Division of the Western Conference with the Los Angeles Clippers.
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The Clippers made news out of the gate, beating out the cross town Lakers in the Chris Paul sweepstakes. The price was steep with one-time starters Eric Gordon, Al-Farouq Aminu and Chris Kaman landing in New Orleans. The biggest chip may have been Minnesota's first round pick, which clinched the deal. LA made a big commitment to restricted free agent center DeAndre Jordan, matching Golden State's massive offer. The trio of Blake Griffin, Jordan and Paul will be the core this team builds around moving foward. Currently, the Clippers sit in the four hole in the West, with a potential monumental first round matchup with Memphis looming.
The Clippers are about a million over the cap, but hold a pair of traded player exemptions totalling $6.5 million (Eric Gordon and Al-Farouq Aminu).
Boston owns Los Angeles' first round pick via Oklahoma City. UNLV swingman Chase Stanback would be good value in the second round.
The Clippers may try to carve out more cap space by using the amnesty clause on the $16 million due Caron Butler over the next two seasons.
The Good: The Clippers needed a big time guard to compete with Kobe and the Lakers and hit paydirt with Chris Paul. "Lob City" should be fun for years to come with Blake Griiffin a big beneficiary with the addition of the slick point guard. DeAndre Jordan is due $32 million over the next three seasons and wlll need to step up against the bigs out west.
The Bad: LA is not in the best of cap shape and have limited flexibility to build around the big three (Paul, Griffin, Jordan). Having to give up the Minnesota lottery pick hurts, but closing the Paul deal in the process makes it worthwhile. Mo Williams may choose to test free agency which creates cap space but would rob LA of its only backcourt depth. Caron Butler will never be near the player he once was, but is being paid like it.
Only seven players under contract for next season, with little or no cap space. Point guard Mo Williams has a player option on $8.5 million and has a difficult decision to make. If they can carve out cap space, the Clippers would love to retain veterans Kenyon Martin, Randy Foye and Nick Young. Last year's draft picks Trey Thompkins and Travis Leslie would come cheap and fill out the bench.
Who are The Experts Taking and When? Check Out The Latest ADP from The NFBC!
Caron Butler, Blake Griffin, Ryan Gomes
Chris Paul, Mo Williams, Eric Bledsoe
Randy Foye, Kenyon Martin, Nick Young, Chauncey Billups, Trey Thompkins, Travis Leslie, Bobby Simmons, Reggie Evans
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Tom Blaz is a writer for Fantasy Alarm and co-owner of The Recruiting Eagle a website focusing on Auburn University Athletics.
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