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Tuesday, 1 July 2008

LA Clippers : Last one out turn out the lights!

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If this Clipper boat is sinking, there certainly doesn't look like there will be many passengers left aboard when it does.

Elton Brand today opted out of the final year of his contract, which would have paid him $16.4m. He says that he would like to stay with the Clippers, but of course that all depends on what he gets offered and where. Needless to say, he will be highly sought after, regardless of the injury which he has been recovering from. He might not get the same money, but he might get a long term deal with a contender. The perennial "other team" in LA does not appear to be that -- a contender.

Corey Maggette has already opted out of his $8.4m for next season. That leaves a very light crew to man this Clipper through the Pacific waters.

Horrific knee injury victim, Shaun Livingston, will not be offered a qualifying offer by the team. "We are optimistic about Shaun's ultimate return, but under the circumstances, we think it would be best to continue to monitor his progress while determining how best to move forward on his long-term status," Clippers President Andy Roeser said.

Sam Cassell already pushed his way out of the organisation mid-season and found himself with old buddy Kevin Garnett hoisting a championship trophy.

What does this leave the team with?

PG Brevin Knight (signed through 2008-09 for £2m)
SG Cuttino Mobley (signed through 2009-10 for over £9m a year)
SF Al Thornton (on his rookie contract which should see him around through 2011-12)
PF Tim Thomas (£6m a year for the next 2 seasons)
C Chris Kaman (secured through 2011-12 gradually escalating from £9m to £12m per year)

On the bench, rookies Eric Gordon (SG) and DeAndre Jordan (C) come in. They will form a very thin supporting cast, which currently only includes not-so-super soph forwards Nick Fazekas and Marcus Williams with guaranteed contracts. The team is expected to let go of guards "Disaster" Dan Dickau and Smush Parker. Big man Josh Powell may manage to hang around as well, after showing flashes of promise.

The team will certainly make a run at re-signing both Brand and Maggette, however both will be highly persued. Brand's agent, David Falk, has already hinted at Philly being a possible destination (they have plenty of cap room to make it happen) and Maggette has been linked to the Magic in some rumours.

There is certainly a lot of young talent still lurking around this organisation with two very promising rookies, along with Thornton and the long-term anchoring of Kaman. However, there appear to be a lot more lean years ahead for long-suffering Clippers fans.

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