According to a published report from ESPNLosAngeles.com, the Los Angeles Clippers and free agent forward Antawn Jamison are “closing in” on a deal that would take Jamison across the hallway at the Staples Center.
The always entertaining “source close to the situation” provides ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne with this particular story, but admittedly, the two sides have been rumored to be in talks for weeks. The Clippers have been incredibly busy this off-season, famously trading for both Jared Dudley and JJ Redick on the outside, and inking point guard Darren Collison to a bargain contract to back up Chris Paul. However, Jamison would potentially add a different dimension from both forward spots as a low-cost veteran presence.
Last season, Jamison struggled a bit in Los Angeles, but much of his issues can be attributed to a wrist issue that affected him for more than half of the season. Statistically, Jamison was still solid in 2012-13, putting up a 15+ PER (with 17.4 points & 8.9 rebounds per 40 minutes) despite those injury issues, but his defense has slipped wildly in recent years, making it unlikely for the 15-year veteran to ever reach rotation status for a contender again.
For the Clippers, this is probably a pure insurance move in the absence of Lamar Odom, but Jamison can provide off-court leadership while still being a reasonable option should they lose Blake Griffin or anyone in the rotation for a long stretch. The Clippers certainly believe that they are legitimate title contenders for 2013-14, and this is the type of move that a contender would pursue.