(Sports Network) - No team in the NBA had more to do in the offseason than the
Los Angeles Clippers.
After acquiring Doc Rivers from the Boston Celtics to be the head coach, Chris
Paul's decision looms large. He's an unrestricted free agent and, not too long
ago, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that he'd be back in a Clippers
uniform for the foreseeable future.
Things turned quickly.
Clippers brass fired head coach Vinny Del Negro after a disappointing first-
round playoff exit to the Memphis Grizzlies. Reports surfaced that Del Negro
was fired to appease Paul.
The All-NBA point guard didn't take kindly to being linked to Del Negro's
firing and now, what seemed like a slam dunk (Paul's signing), is no longer.
Still, conventional wisdom says Paul will be back. The Clippers, especially
24-year-old Blake Griffin, offer the best future chance at winning.
But the Clippers have to address other possible defections.
Chauncey Billups is a free agent, an older one with a serious history of
injuries. A good chunk of the Clippers' vaunted bench - Lamar Odom, Matt
Barnes and Ronny Turiaf - are also unrestricted free agents.
So, the Clippers have a busy offseason ahead. They have the 25th pick in the
draft and it's hard to pinpoint what position they'll target.
It seems like shooting guard is a need. If Billups and Barnes bolt, and the
Clippers like Jamal Crawford to stay in his sixth-man role, Willie Green is
the lone natural off-guard.
Allen Crabbe from Cal could be an option, or Reggie Bullock from North
Carolina. If Paul were to go elsewhere, Shane Larkin of Miami, Pierre Jackson
of Baylor or Ricky Ledo from Providence could be available.
Players under contract: G: Eric Bledsoe; G: Jamal Crawford; F: Grant Hill;
F: Caron Butler; F: Blake Griffin; C: DeAndre Jordan; F: DaJuan Summers; G:
Free agents: G: Chris Paul; G: Chauncey Billups; F: Lamar Odom; G/F: Matt
Barnes; F/C: Ronny Turiaf; C: Ryan Hollins
Recent Draft History
2012: Furkan Aldemir (53)
2011: Trey Thompkins (37), Travis Leslie (47)
2010: Al-Farouq Aminu (8), Willie Warren (54)
2009: Blake Griffin (1)
2008: Eric Gordon (7), DeAndre Jordan (35)
Draft picks: 1st round (25th overall)
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