Sunday, July 02, 2006

Lakers and Clippers make first splashes in free agency

According to the Los Angeles Times, the Lakers have signed Vladimir Radmanovic to a 5yr deal for the full mid-level exception (approximately $31mil. for the full contract). The Clippers attempted to re-sign him for the same amount, but when he defected across the Staples Center, they replaced him by signing Tim Thomas to a 4-year deal. According to the Times, the Clips also re-signed PG/asst. coach/possessor of huge testicles Sam Cassell to a 2-yr $13mil deal.

The Radmanovic signing is a solid signing for the Lakers. He'll give them a legitimate 3-point threat and fill an Horry-like role, as big man off the bench who can shoot. At times, if the Lakers want to go really big, they can play Mihm/Brown, Odom and Vlad and have a frontcourt of 3 guys 6'10" and taller. With this signing, all the Lakers have left at their disposal is the lower-level exception, which I expect them to try and use on a guard or save for next off-season.

I'm not sure what's happened with the Clippers, but Elgin Baylor seems to have finally understood how to run a team. Perhaps he always knew, but Donald Sterling was always pinching pennies. I think he enjoyed the TV exposure and all the perks that came with winning and "The (LA) Donald" has decided to keep the Clips competitive. Cassell's play and enthusiasm will easily be worth the $13mil over the next two years and then, if the Clippers continue to do the right thing, he should retire and immediately join the Clippers front-office. I also really like the Thomas move. Thomas can do everything Radmanovic can do offensively plus has a greater defensive impact. If Thomas can play hard as he did in Phoenix this last season, the Clippers will be an even stronger team next year.

In other free agent news, Jason Terry re-upped with the Mavs for 6yrs/$50mil. That's a nice signing for Dallas and keeps the team's 2nd scorer happy. I thought Terry would be able to get more money elsewhere, but the chance to compete for a championship and the stability seems to have enticed him to stay.

The big player changing teams thus far is Peja Stojakovic who signed a 5yr/$64mil. dollar contract with New Orleans. His outside touch should complement David West's post game and give Chris Paul even more space to penetrate. The price tag may be a bit high, but New Orleans was just on the edge of making the playoffs and this could easily push them past that point. The West just continues to get stronger. There will be 2-3 good teams in the West that just miss the playoffs - the Lakers quite possibly being one of them.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Hornets are a legit playoff team now. I expect them to get the 7 or 8 seed next year. Thomas adds a shooter to the Clippers. Glad to see the Lakers have another "Vlad".

1:26 PM  

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