Struggling Young Players the LA Clippers Can Sign on the Cheap

Oren FriedmanCorrespondent IIMay 30, 2013

If the price is right, Anthony Morrow might be a nice addition to Lob City.
If the price is right, Anthony Morrow might be a nice addition to Lob City.Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

With seven players on the roster set to enter free agency, the Los Angeles Clippers will be looking for some cheap young free agents to add to their promising squad.

Presuming Chris Paul re-signs, the Clips will need to adjust some of their rotation players in order to maximize their talent on the court. A Tribe Called Bench was great for much of the season, but there is no indication that guys like Ronny Turiaf, Lamar Odom or even Matt Barnes will be back next season.

The Clips might have the best shot at a championship if they are able to blend their young guns with established veterans. Although the 2013 free-agent market is rather thin, there are some young players that might be signed on the cheap.


Ivan Johnson

A second-year player from the Atlanta Hawks, Ivan Johnson played best as a tough banger in the post last season.

Playing behind Josh Smith and Al Horford, the 6’8” forward scored 6.6 PPG while pulling down 3.9 RPG. His per-36-minute rates are a bit more inspiring, as the Cal State San Bernardino product has career averages of 10.9 PPG and 4.7 RPG.

A noted trash-talker, the young forward might be able to add some old-school toughness to Lob City.

Making just $962,000 last season, Johnson could be a cheaper and younger alternative to free agent Ronny Turiaf.


Toney Douglas

After getting traded midseason from the Houston Rockets to the Sacramento Kings, Toney Douglas really found his stroke from distance.

Over his last 19 games, Douglas shot 40.8 percent from downtown. An above-average defender, Douglas’ 6’6” wingspan allows him to bother smaller guards on the perimeter.

He could certainly be more efficient from the field, however. Douglas’ career 52.0 true shooting percentage is hardly overwhelming, although his 55.8 true shooting percentage in Sacramento is encouraging.

Still, Douglas is only 26 years old and made just over $2 million last season. Not many teams will be offering him a big payday, and the Clips could entice him with their championship potential.


Marreese Speights

Salary-dumped to the Cleveland Cavaliers during the 2012-13 campaign, Marreese Speights could be a steal for the Clips if the price is right.

Speights is not exceptional on offense, but he is known for banging in the post and playing with high energy and toughness. He seemed to be a perfect fit on the Grit and Grind Memphis Grizzlies and frustrated the Clips bigs in their 2012 postseason matchup.

The 6'10" big man has bounced around in the league, playing on three different teams over the last three seasons. Still, Speights is entering just his fifth season and plays with an above-average player efficiency rating of 17.35.

Speights has a player option that would net him $4.5 million next season. If he decides to enter free agency and play for a contender, the power forward could fit in nicely on Lob City’s second unit.


Anthony Morrow

Coming off of the worst season of his career, sharpshooter Anthony Morrow might be had on the cheap this summer. Splitting time in Atlanta and on the Dallas Mavericks, Morrow scored an average of just four points per game in just over nine minutes per night last season.

A career 10.9 PPG scorer, Morrow is known as a sharpshooter. Over his career, he has shot 42.4 percent from distance. Morrow’s career PER average of 13.3 is underwhelming, but he could contribute in spurts off the bench.

For all the reputable shooters on the Clippers roster including Chauncey Billups, Caron Butler and Jamal Crawford, LAC shot just 30.4 percent from three-point land last season, ranking 14th in the league. Morrow’s accuracy would be welcome addition to the Clips’ perimeter arsenal.

He earned $4 million last season and likely will not earn nearly as much this summer. If the recruitment effort is effective, Los Angeles might be able sign the fifth-year guard under market value.