It’s been an interesting summer for the Los Angeles Clippers. First they lost their general manager, Neil Olshey because owner Donald Sterling didn’t want to pay him. That left head coach Vinny Del Negro, team president Andy Roeser and assistant general manager Gary Sacks to make personnel decisions. On the surface, losing the guy who engineered the Chris Paul trade and substituting him with Vinny Del Negro sounds like a downgrade. That’s fair. But over the last month the Clippers have quietly been building a contender piece by piece. The Los Angeles Times reports the Clips signed Ronny Turiaf to bolster the team’s bench and defense.
“He becomes the fifth big man for the Clippers – behind starters DeAndre Jordan, Blake Griffin and reserves Lamar Odom and Ryan Hollins – the 13th player on the roster.”
The Lakers made the splashier moves in acquiring Steve Nash and Antawn Jamison, but the Clippers have made several moves to build a dynamic roster for the upcoming season. Not every move has been great, why sign Jamal Crawford without making a legitimate run at Ray Allen is confusing. However, moving Mo Williams for Lamar Odom could turn out to be a good move because it will open up more playing time for Eric Bledsoe and a motivated and happy Lamar Odom will be the second or third best big man on the team, capable of playing with either Blake Griffin or DeAndre Jordan. Grant Hill will bring some much needed defense and an extra veteran presence in the locker room.
They could probably still use another big guard, especially if Chauncey Billups isn’t ready for the start of the season. Another year of Chris Paul overriding Vinny Del Negro’s system also can’t hurt. The Lakers are going to dominate the headlines as usual this season, but don’t be surprised if Chris Paul’s Clippers are hosting the Lakers in the first or second round of the playoffs next spring.