Chat with Kevin Arnovitz
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, ESPN.com NBA blogger Kevin Arnovitz stops by to chat.
Send your questions now and join Arnovitz at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT!
Kevin Arnovitz (6:00 PM)
Welcome, Clips Nacion.
James (Redlands, CA)
You're the Clippers GM. Do you take your chances and try to clear enough cap space for a superstar free agent (read: LeBron) or do you take advantage of the fact that every other team is clearing cap space and take on a longer contract of a good player (read: Luol Deng)?
Kevin Arnovitz (6:10 PM)
The Clips like Deng. I really like Deng. Everyone likes Deng. So does Chicago. And I'm told they're keeping him.
Sam (Los Angeles)
Hey Kevin just wanted to quickly mention you and D.J. do a great job over at the blog! Anyways onto the question. In your opinion, what does Thornton's future look like with this Clippers team? Obviously if the Clippers landed someone like James or Johnson Al would be pushed to the bench (or traded). But what happens if the Clippers aren't able to fill, what many call, the teams weakest position? Do they stick with Al or are they ready to look elsewhere?
Kevin Arnovitz (6:12 PM)
Thanks, Sam. Much appreciated. Starting is important to Al, but it's becoming increasingly clear he's a better fit coming off the pine. He's a natural 1-on-1 scorer. Playing with the second unit absolves him of having to do some of the stuff he's not so good at -- like being mindful of the 8 other players on the floor.
Bryan (Long Beach, CA)
Hey Kevin,Do you see the Clippers making any moves by the trade deadline?
Kevin Arnovitz (6:14 PM)
Bryan: It's possible the Clips could pull a Camby or Butler and prey on some poor team that's above the luxury tax line. It won't be a blockbuster, though. Much more likely to be a Dorell Wright or someone of that ilk.
Carlota (Chapel Hill, NC)
Why do you think so many NBA players love The Cheesecake Factory?
Kevin Arnovitz (6:16 PM)
Asked Blake Griffin this, and he said, "The portions are huge!!" Henry Abbott is the world's leading authority on the prominent place Cheesecake Factory has in NBA life: http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/4543/the-cheesecake-factory-did-not-pay-me-to-write-this
Ian (Los Angeles)
Clippers Still have a chance for the playoffs this year? Please answer realisticlly.
Kevin Arnovitz (6:17 PM)
Ian: I think not -- but that has less to do with the Clippers and more to do with the insane amount of depth in the West.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Which Los Angeles Clippers players has their Uniform Numbers retired
Kevin Arnovitz (6:20 PM)
Chris: None. And I hereby enlist you to join my campaign to retire Randy Smith's #9 Buffalo Braves jersey, which would probably complicate life for DeAndre Jordan.
Alex M. (Riverside)
Hey Kevin,Who do you like for the Clippers to spend their cap space on? From what I've come to understand, the Clippers would have to move either Baron or Kaman to give a max contract to one of the top-teir free agents. Is that true? I'm assuming they'll be sticking with those two, right? Thus having to look at some second teir talents? Just need some clearing up. Thanks.
Kevin Arnovitz (6:25 PM)
Clips are in a tough spot. They seem to be set at 4 out of 5 positions. They logically want to keep Gordon (SG) & Griffin (PF). Kaman appears to be a good value at (C). Moving Baron is unlikely, though certainly not impossible.What they need is a SF, and the market beyond James is Joe Johnson (if you consider him a 3) and he's more likely to stay east and south and Paul Pierce (who doesn't seem likely to leave BOS), and Tracy McGrady (...).
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Which Current College Basketball Players do you think would make a great fit for the Los Angeles Clippers?
Kevin Arnovitz (6:26 PM)
Know who I like for the Clips? Devon Ebanks of WVU.
Pistol Pete (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I enjoy yiour analyis-- always illuminating. Question: How does Dunleavy actually call the plays? What is said? What are thge variants ? What's is most typical for what they run -- besides dumping in to Kaman on the block? thanks.
Kevin Arnovitz (6:30 PM)
Pete: Thanks. They've been running some interesting stuff on the perimeter the last week or so, some of it facilitated by Kaman's absence. Watch for that flare screen tonight for Gordon and/or Butler. The shooter moves away from Baron (or Bassy), gets a screen along the perimeter to get separation, then catches the cross-court pass for an open shot. Worked wonders vs. CLE the other night.
James (Redlands, CA)
Do you think DeAndre Jordan will ever (consistently) play at the level of a starting center in the NBA? Or are his weaknesses too glaring?
Kevin Arnovitz (6:33 PM)
James: Great question, one that fascinates everyone in the organization and who follows the team. When asked about DJ the other day, Dunleavy said, "The guaranteed golden path for him is Defend, Rebound, Blocked Shots." He's got so much athleticism, the challenge for him will always be does he instinctively know the spot where he's most useful on the basketball court at a given moment. I think that's what makes a young raw big man a valuable pro.
Randy Abellon (ClipsNation)
Kevin, love the way you represent for us! I am one of the more pessimistic/realistic Clipper fans out there. What do you really think happens in the offseason, is there a chance Craig Smith and Rasual come back? I think they can help us next year, and we just need to add a backup point.
Kevin Arnovitz (6:40 PM)
The Clips like Craig Smith a lot. How many minutes he can get at the 4 behind Blake Griffin next season might be an impediment. Has trouble defending bigger and/or quicker bigs. But a useful guy to have around. Clippers will need to go shopping for some help on the wing in the offseason, beyond what they might find in the SF market. Sebastian Telfair has a player option next year which he might be smart to exercise -- which means he'd be back. He's not entirely happy, but there's no telling yet if there's a better destination or more money elsewhere.
RT (San Diego)
Do you think there's any possibility that Sam Cassell might want to come coach the Clips as an assistant (with the hopes of moving up, of course)? His leadership was such a bright spot when the Clips were rolling.
Kevin Arnovitz (6:41 PM)
The question with Sam Cassell and a head coaching job will be how many hours does Sam want to work.
James (Redlands, CA)
Your best guess: how many more (or fewer) victories would the Clippers have right now if Griffin had never gotten hurt?
Kevin Arnovitz (6:47 PM)
Maybe 2 or 3.
J'Rock (Los Angeles)
K.A. long time reader, first time inquirer... what is really up with this clipper curse?? I mean, as much as i dont believe in that stuff, there seems to really be a black cloud hovering above our franchise. I'm worried that even if we can possibly land Bron Bron (oh man...) even the king would not be susceptible to it. I know some of the players have to acknowledge it. what have you heard behind closed doors?
Kevin Arnovitz (6:50 PM)
Maybe I'm a skeptic, but my belief is that if there is a higher power in the universe (different chat for a different day), he/she/it isn't all that interested in governing what happens in professional basketball.
Thai (OC, CA)
Assuming the Clips are fortunate enough to secure an elite free agent with a max offer, what exceptions will be available to the team in order to fill out the rest of the roster?
Kevin Arnovitz (6:54 PM)
Thai: They'll have Randolph's $3.355M trade exception before July 19, Richardon's $1.06M, which I think expires the next day. They'll also have their Bi-annual (which will probably be in the $1.5-2.0M range), and the MLE, and minimum salary exception.
Kevin Arnovitz (6:55 PM)
Thanks everyone for the Qs. Hope the As were to your liking. See you soon.