Blog Entry

The complexity of the egg on the Clippers' face

Posted on: May 18, 2011 2:22 pm
The Clippers' pick won the lottery, but won't be going to L.A.. Could the Clippers have avoided surrendering the No.1 overall pick to Cleveland?

Posted by Matt Moore

So the Clippers' would have had the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA draft, giving them a devastating combo of Blake Griffin and Kyrie Irving going forward, had they not traded it to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Mo Williams and to get out from Baron Davis' contract (in exchange for Mo Williams' contract). Except they wouldn't have, because that trade altered the Clippers season and landed them in the spot that gave Cleveland the No.1 overall. There was no way for the Clippers to know that they would have landed the top spot had they held on to the pick. But they did know it was possible, knowing they were lottery bound. So why didn't they top-three protect the pick, as is done so often in the NBA? 

Clippers' GM Neil Olshey told

“Protecting the pick was never an option,” L.A. general manager Neil Olshey told “There is no way to Monday morning quarterback this since our draft position wouldn’t have been the same had we not made the deal as I’m sure we would not have finished 11-11 post-trade without Mo Williams.“

Additionally, we had a 97-percent chance of sitting here tonight with Baron Davis taking up 25 percent of our cap, the eighth pick in a weak draft and no cap flexibility. Adding Mo Williams and $8.5 million in cap room gave us a better opportunity to become a playoff team next year than adding a seventh player under 23 with no NBA experience.”
via No Regrets For Clippers « | Hang Time Blog.

When the lottery balls came up Cleveland last night, Olshey must have had a Charlie-Brown moment. "Good grief." It's true that the Clippers had no way of knowing they'd wind up in the top spot, and it's nearly certain that had L.A. not made the trade, they wouldn't have winded up in the lottery spot that gave Cleveland the pick. But at the same time, Cleveland's 2012 pick goes to the Celtics. The Clippers' best bet is to build around Blake Griffin with young talent. Mo Williams and Chris Kaman do not constitute as such. Even with Eric Bledose a promising young point guard, the Clippers need as much talent as they can get. Top 3 protecting that pick would have gotten them the best of both worlds, the cap relief they so desired, and that pick. Protecting the pick is something that happens in trades nearly every time, specifically to prevent this situation. Olshey's right that the Clippers received more in value than they gave up in the trade... at the time of the trade. But that won't help the continuing perception, despite Blake Griffin's brilliance, that the Clippers are still the Clippers, prone to do Clipper things.  

Since: Sep 19, 2006
Posted on: May 18, 2011 3:52 pm

The complexity of the egg on the Clippers' face

People act shocked by the Clippers move of not protecting the top pks...I live in L.A. we`re used to Donald Sterlings abortions...
Griffin will be gone the second his contract runs out...Unbelievable how stupid this organization has been,no brain no headache!
Griffin 22,Kaman 29,Gordon 22,Jordan 22,Aminu 21,Bledsoe 21 & Mo 28 can play...Williams would of been a perfect fit @ the 3 imo...They have something to build on w/ Blake,Gordon,Jordan,Aminu & Bledsoe & they have some nice pieces as trade bait in Kaman & Mo...
Trust me,it won`t matter because Donald Sterling is an idiot...Worst owner in sports!  

Since: May 18, 2011
Posted on: May 18, 2011 2:59 pm

The complexity of the egg on the Clippers' face

Even more complex than that.  It is not legal, under the CBA, for the Clippers to simply have Top 3 Protected the pick it sent to the Cavs.  That violates the Stepien Rule.  Larry Coon has been tweeting about this.

Coon added that it would be technically possible to structure the protection to comply with the Stepien Rule, but it would have been very, very complicated.

But your simple suggestion - Top 3 Protection - definately is not legal.

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