After finishing with the third-best record in the league last year, the Los Angeles Clippers defeated the Golden State Warriors in seven games in the first round of the postseason before falling the Oklahoma City Thunder in six games in the second round.
They entered the offseason hoping to make an upgrade in the front court and they did just that. The Clippers signed Cleveland Cavaliers’ free agent big man Spencer Hawes to a four-year, $23 million contract and Los Angeles Lakers’ free agent point guard Jordan Farmar to a two-year, $4.2 million deal. The Clippers wanted to sign Brooklyn Nets’ swingman Paul Pierce, who head coach and president Doc Rivers coached with the Boston Celtics, but simply couldn’t pay his salary and he inked a deal with the Washington Wizards.
Larry Coon of Basketball Insiders explains what kind of a “bind” the Clippers are in with the salary cap.
The Clippers are in a bind. They used the full mid-level (Spencer Hawes) and the Bi-Annual (Jordan Farmar), so now they’re hard-capped at $80.829 million, and right now are only $1.15 million below it). It would have been nice to see them add an impact piece (Paul Pierce was rumored), but that just wasn’t workable once they were hard capped. If they’re going to make any other moves, then they have to trim some salary — Jared Dudley is the obvious piece to be moved, but he doesn’t have a lot of trade value. I think it’s more likely that this group is the one they go into the season with.
Hawes put up 13.2 points, 8.3 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.2 blocks per game while shooting 45.6% from the field, 41.6% from three and 78.3% from the free throw line. Farmar averaged 10.1 points, 4.9 assists, 2.5 rebounds and 0.9 steals in 22.2 minutes per game while shooting 41.5% from the field, 43.8% from beyond the arc and 74.6% from the charity stripe.