According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Los Angeles Clippers will re-sign Patrick Patterson. The veteran forward was a quality depth piece for the team last season.
This is likely a one-year veteran’s minimum deal for Patterson, which would pay him $2,564,753 but only cost the Clippers $1,620,564. For veterans with more than two years of experience, the league reimburses teams for the difference between the veteran’s minimum and the two-year minimum, and the smaller number is used in salary cap calculations.
After the Clippers drafted Daniel Oturu on Wednesday, I anticipated that a Patterson return could be less likely, with the team adding a young stretch big man in addition to Mfiondu Kabengele, who is already on the roster after being picked 27th overall in last year’s draft.
However, it appears that the Clippers have determined that there is space for Patterson on the roster. His inclusion makes sense–last year he played 59 games for the Clippers, starting 18 and averaging 13.2 minutes per game, and filled those minutes adequately. He isn’t super exciting all-around player, but his elite three-point shooting from the power forward position and overall stability and experience gave the Clippers really reliable depth last year. If a minimum-salary player gives you 800 solid regular-season minutes with an above-average Win Shares/48, a positive Box +/-, and a positive VORP, you got more than your money’s worth.
The Clippers executing this deal before Marcus Morris or JaMychal Green suggests that, for one reason or another, those players are waiting. It could be because they want to seek offers from multiple teams, or because the Clippers are involved in other pursuits and not ready to fully commit the necessary offers to lock those guys up. For Patterson, as long as there was a spot on the roster for another stretch big, there is no opportunity cost to agreeing to his veteran’s minimum deal now.
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