Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Josh Smith Clipped by Camby

Marcus Camby looks to be going to the LA Clippers to replace Elton Brand. Despite the fact that Camby isn't making Brand money or even the money that was being tossed around while the Clips looked at restricted free agents, it does take a significant enough chunk of that dough (about 10 million next year, including bonuses, etc.), enough to impact the ability for the Clippers to make a serious offer to Josh Smith.

So what does that mean for Smith?

Well, for one, you can expect whoever has money left (Oakland, Memphis) will suddenly become top suitors for all the RFAs out there (Smith, Andre Iguodala, Luol Deng, Emeka Okafor). Whether it will fact or fiction, we won't know for sure. But we sure can see the new headlines already being drawn up as the principals (player, agent, etc.) begin their Plan B (or is it C or D at this point?).

It might be, however, that those teams may opt to look for a deal that the Clippers just made for Camby---a trade for a seasoned player that they can contractually control for a couple of years from a team that is desperately close to paying some major bills. In the Camby deal, the Clippers get a proven player at a decent salary for only a couple of seasons, while waiting for until the big free agency frenzy, instead of paying second tier players top dollar, hoping their existing teams don't match, for a second round pick to boot.

It's a nice deal.

So again, what about Smith and, excruciatingly, the Hawks fans anxious to know the fate of their young, blossoming star?

Well--the answer is---you're likely to wait----and wait.

With so many players out there and big money destinations being crossed off the list, players can certainly get nervous. In this case, the cap slots are getting filled without any of them (the RFA) taking those seats. You can sense that the agents can hear the music dying down and will be in a hurry to find their guy a lucrative seat before the music stops completely and they have to (wince) consider playing out the option year (qualifying offer) or risk taking what they might consider to be a less than free market value contract.

There is also the avenue of sign and trade, but it doesn't seem such a ripe market for these particular free agents. It doesn't seem likely that a team will be willing to pay a king's ransom for any of these players as the Hawks did when they did the SNT with the Suns for Joe Johnson.

They are going to need one of these guys to re-sign with their club (Iguodala, maybe?) to set a benchmark for the other RFA. They could, and probably should, use Andrew Bogut's generous extension (5 years, 60 million--with thresholds that could take it as high as 72 million) as a benchmark, considering his less than all-star numerics compared to those on the market now, but we're likely to endure a wait and see game among these similarly situationed contract seekers.

And for Hawks fans who can't stand the wait with both Smith and Childress being restricted free agents, remember this: September 11, 2003 is when Jason Terry finally found his market value and signed a 3 year, 22.5 million dollar offer sheet with the Jazz. It goes to show that it can take an entire offseason for this process to be settled.

And any ray of hope for a quick signing for Smith just dimmed a little, courtesy of the LA Clippers and the deal for Marcus Camby.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I agree it will be a long process but I do feel better now that Josh Smith won't be lured away by an incredibly overvalued contract. I think we have a much chance of retaining both Joshes if we don't overpay for Smith and I think the market has dried up enough so we won't have to do that.

By the way I'm a long time reader from the RealGM and Hawksquawk blogs and it's good to have you back talking about the Hawks no one does it better than you!