Mere days after trading Jared Dudley to the Milwaukee Bucks, the Los Angeles Clippers have struck again. This time around, the Clippers sent two players packing.
Surprisingly, it was the two players whom they’d just acquired for Dudley and a draft pick.
According to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports, the Clippers waived Carlos Delfino and Miroslav Raduljica. Delfino had two years and $6.5 million remaining on his contract. Raduljica had three years for roughly $4.57 million.
Both were traded for Dudley, who had two years and $8.5 million left.
Clippers waived guard/forward Carlos Delfino and center Miroslav Raduljica.
— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) August 29, 2014
This is something of a head-scratcher considering the Clippers gave up a protected 2017 first-round draft pick to get this deal done.
Strictly from a basketball perspective, the move is somewhat understandable, but still strange. Delfino is a floor-spacing playmaker who would’ve offered high-quality play off of the bench for a Clippers team that fell victim to numerous perimeter injuries in 2013-14.
Raduljica, meanwhile, isn’t much to write home about. The positives are that he’s a 7’0″ center who didn’t cost very much and offered the Clippers something it lacked in the past: interior depth.
Spencer Hawes’ presence makes him expendable, which lessens the blow to a somewhat meaningless level.
The real question mark here is why the Clippers would give up a first-round draft choice just to cut financial ties. A team this young and talented may not need a draft pick right now, but much could change in the course of three long seasons.
The only dot left to connect is that this coincides with Doc Rivers’ five-year, $50 million contract extension. Despite being an incredibly wealthy man, Steve Ballmer is likely looking to avoid financial penalties and general overpayment.
With a massive contract headed Rivers’ way, that means cutting ties with what L.A. labels as dead weight.
Thus, the Clippers cut ties with two players who had nothing to do with the team’s future. Another dramatic day in Tinseltown.
Spurs Monitoring FIBA World Cup
No team in NBA history has mastered the art of international scouting quite as well as the San Antonio Spurs. They’ve turned foreign-born players into American league stars, and even when stardom is unattainable, have maximized abilities and hidden flaws.
It’s to be expected that San Antonio will have a close eye on the FIBA World Cup.
According to Marc Stein of ESPN, it will.
The Spurs have yet to make a decision on the future of reserve center Aron Baynes. The Australian big man didn’t do much in 2013-14, but his teammates and coaching staff have taken a liking to him.
If that fails, and even if it doesn’t, San Antonio has another target: Gustavo Ayon of Mexico.
Spurs, I’m told, still determined to re-sign Aussie C Aron Baynes but also like Mexico’s Ayon, who’s among top free agents in FIBA World Cup
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) August 29, 2014
Why wouldn’t they be?
Ayon has played three NBA seasons with four teams. Since performing well for the New Orleans Pelicans as a rookie, he’s spent time with the Atlanta Hawks, Milwaukee Bucks and Orlando Magic.
The Spurs appear to see untapped potential that only they can discover.
Again, why wouldn’t they?
Ayon has struggled with injuries, but he’s effective when healthy. He was the MVP of both the 2013 FIBA Americas Tournament and 2014 Centrobasket Championship.
Paired with the ACB Best Young Player award, he’s done more than enough on the international stage to show that he could be a high-quality player in San Antonio. Gregg Popovich orchestrates a system that caters to Ayon’s abilities and welcomes interior playmakers.
The likelihood of the deal is unknown, but Ayon to San Antonio would be the best thing for his career.
Around The League
- Sam Amick of USA TODAY Sports reports that the Los Angeles Lakers worked out forward Michael Beasley. The No. 2 overall selection in 2008 was joined by the likes of Bobby Brown, Toney Douglas and Greg Stiemsma. It’s unclear at this time if the Lakers will pursue signing Beasley.
- According to Marc Stein of ESPN, Team USA’s squad for the FIBA World Cup of Basketball is its youngest since NBA players became the norm to lead the roster in 1992.