Thursday, July 06, 2006

Cassell

The Clippers did the right thing, and re-upped Sam Cassell, apparently for 2/$13M. It took a little back and forth, but they got it done, and done well. After indicating he would accept 2/$11M from the Clippers on Friday night, the negotiations continued on Saturday.
Throughout the day, Cassell was weighing three options: a two-year, $13-million offer from Atlanta, a two-year, $11-million offer from the Clippers and a three-year, $12-million offer from Denver. After learning Atlanta was the highest bidder, Clippers Coach Mike Dunleavy told Cassell to give him a number to get the deal done, sources said. Cassell mentioned $13 million and Dunleavy said he probably could do it.

Was Sam Cassell REALLY going to spend his final two NBA seasons losing in Atlanta? No way. And sure, he likes George Karl, but was he going to go to Denver and back up Andre Miller? I doubt it. But for an extra million per, the Clippers did the right thing, and made Sam happy.

Now they have exactly what they need - a veteran point guard to mentor Shaun Livingston, coming off the bench and playing important fourth quarter minutes, taking clutch shots. And the best part is, Sam's $6.5M comes off the books just when the Clippers will need to re-sign Livingston. Livingston/Cassell will make a combined $11M+ in 07-08. By that time, we'll know if all of that money needs to go into Livingston's next contract (let's hope it does.)

Let's also recognize the significance of this signing in the ongoing development of Clipper Nation. Believe it or not, we are STILL on one hand, when we count the number of players who have re-signed with the club in LA (Loy Vaught, Eric Piatkowski, Elton Brand, Corey Maggette and now Sam Cassell - I kid you not - five.) To re-sign a player after a single season in LA, because it makes the team better, well, it's just so DIFFERENT than what we're used to. Bear in mind - Brand and Maggette were restricted free agents, so they had no choice, while Vaught and Pike weren't exactly in huge demand. And there is no shortage of cases in Clipper history when players took LESS money to get out of town (Bo Outlaw, anyone?) So it says a LOT that Sam Cassell WANTS to be here, and that the Clipper organization agressively made it happen.