Despite having star power on the wings, the Clippers could look for depth wing and forward targets in free agency this off-season. Landry Shamet functioned as the primary backup, often starting at shooting guard in place of either Paul George or Kawhi Leonard, but the team lacked a reliable 4th player on the wing.

Veteran Rodney McGruder had a massively disappointing season, and the team’s only options behind him were rookies Terance Mann (who LAC is trying to turn into a point guard) and Amir Coffey (who is playing on a two-way contract after being undrafted). While George and Leonard will be back in starring roles next season, and a 4th wing is unlikely to be a major part of LAC’s playoff rotation, the team would undoubtedly like to get more from their wing depth this year than last season–especially with a condensed schedule potentially causing load management and squad rotation to keep players fresh and healthy. The team is likely to return McGruder and Mann in depth roles, as well as keep Coffey on a two-way deal, but they could look to add a wing either in the draft or free agency.

At the forward positions, the Clippers’ needs are hopefully lessened, with Marcus Morris and JaMychal Green providing reliable power forward minutes, and Morris even capable of covering small forward. But Morris is an unrestricted free agent (the Clippers can pay him up to $18M to stay, so price shouldn’t be an issue) and Green has the choice of either opting in to his $5M salary for next season, or entering unrestricted free agency himself (again, price shouldn’t be an issue as the Clippers can pay him up to around $10M). Those two players are crucial to track, because while we don’t know where the luxury tax line will be set yet, LAC could be on the cusp of having access to the full mid-level exception (~$9.3M) or the taxpayer mid-level exception (~$5.7M), and the margins on those two deals could be crucial. The team could also return Patrick Patterson, who provided quality regular season depth last season, though it would likely be on a cheap deal.

As with yesterday’s point guard breakdown, I broke the wings and forwards we’ll be looking at today into categories based on archetype rather than a strict ranking. Players below are listed with their predicted starting salary from ESPN’s Bobby Marks and a statistical projection of their three-year value from Jacob Goldstein’s PIPM Player Projection on (for very old veterans I might do a one-year projection). If I disagree with these assessments, I might make note of it.

Unlike yesterday’s breakdown, which treated a smaller group of 20 or so point guards, this will be a more expansive look as the Clippers have likely just one roster spot to fill among a wide range of positionless wings and forwards. It also helps that the pool here is quite shallow–this isn’t a comprehensive look but I was generous with my inclusions.

Not Worth Discussing

Because of price point and team situation, these players just don’t make sense as serious candidates. DeRozan, Fournier, Hardaway Jr, Hayward, Porter, Hood, Snell, and Batum all will accept lucrative player options. Bogdanovic, Beasley, and Ingram will get big deals in restricted free agency. Harris and Caldwell-Pope are out of the Clippers’ price range and positionally redundant with Leonard and George. Mykhailiuk has a friendly team option and will never see free agency. Anthony Davis will stay with the Lakers, and Bertans and Grant are both likely out of the Clippers’ price range at power forward–even if Morris walks and they have the full MLE to find a replacement.

DeMar DeRozanProjected starting salary: $22-24M; 3-year value: $39.8M
Evan FournierProjected starting salary: $14-16M; 3-year value: $47.2M
Bogdan BogdanovicProjected starting salary: $14-16M; 3-year value: $40.2M
Joe HarrisProjected starting salary: $14-16M; 3-year value: $36.6M
Kentavious Caldwell-PopeProjected starting salary: $12-14M; 3-year value: $18M
Tim Hardaway Jr.Projected starting salary: $12-14M; 3-year value: $47.7M
Malik BeasleyProjected starting salary: $12-14M; 3-year value: $24.4M
Brandon Ingram
Projected starting salary: Maximum; 3-year value: $65.4M
Gordon Hayward
Projected starting salary: $22-24M; 3-year value: $45.8M
Otto Porter
Projected starting salary: $8-10M; 3-year value: $36.1M
Rodney HoodProjected starting salary: $4-6M; 3-year value: $12.1M
Tony SnellProjected starting salary: $2-4M; 3-year value: $0
Svi MykhailiukProjected starting salary: $6-8M; 3-year value: $26.8M
Nicolas Batum
Projected starting salary: $4-6M; 3-year value: $7.2M
Anthony Davis
Projected starting salary: Maximum; 3-year value: $98.2M
Davis Bertans
Projected starting salary: $12-14M; 3-year value: $37.2M
Jerami Grant
Projected starting salary: $12-14M; 3-year value: $21.3M

If Marcus Leaves… Power Forward Replacements

Without a starting gig and/or (at least) a full MLE contract, you probably aren’t going to be a serious suitor for either of these guys, which means they belong on the above list… unless Marcus Morris walks in free agency. Crowder would be a lateral move, probably a slight downgrade considering his shooting is likely to regress to his normal low-30s number after a torrid stretch in Miami. Gallo, on the other hand, would be an actual upgrade over Morris and add one of the league’s most efficient scoring forwards to the Clippers’ starting lineup. There’s no guarantee he’d pick the Clippers’ MLE over other offers, though, and they’d lose the ability to use that tool on a big man to replace Montrezl Harrell.

Danilo GallinariProjected starting salary: $14-16M; 3-year value: $53.7M
Jae Crowder
Projected starting salary: $8-10M; 3-year value: $25.8M

It actually wouldn’t be a terrible idea for the Clippers’ first call of free agency to go to Gallinari. Assuming the league’s luxury tax stays at $132M, the Clippers would be hard-capped at $138M if they used the full MLE. Letting both Harrell and Morris walk makes staying under that threshold much easier, but replacing them is the tricky part. Gallinari accepting an MLE deal–starting at around $9.3M–would be even cheaper than Morris and the Clippers could have an easy path to avoiding the hard cap, gaining access to the $3.6M bi-annual exception to sign a backup center.

Shooting Guards

While these guys will come up in depth wing conversations, and they’re rotation-level NBA players, they’re really more combo guards or shooting guards than 2/3s, which is a tricky fit for a Clippers team that already has Lou Williams and Landry Shamet. Could some of them have been on yesterday’s scoring combo guards list? Probably. One advantage this group has over players with better size: for the most part, they can hit a shot.

Jordan ClarksonProjected starting salary: $8-10M; 3-year value: $41M
Avery Bradley
Projected starting salary: $4-6M; 3-year value: $11M
E’Twaun MooreProjected starting salary: $4-6M; 3-year value: $11.9M
De’Anthony Melton (restricted)
Projected starting salary: $4-6M; 3-year value: $42.6M
Bryn Forbes
Projected starting salary: $4-6M; 3-year value: $8.5M
Troy DanielsProjected starting salary: minimum; 3-year value: $1.4M

Clarkson is out of the Clippers’ price range and redundant with Lou Williams, while Bradley Moore and Forbes could be mMLE targets but aren’t good fits for what LAC needs. Melton isn’t really an ideal fit either, which means even if the Grizzlies let him go into unrestricted free agency the 22-year-old would find better options for boosting his career. Daniels is believable in theory as a shot-maker in a three-guard lineup, but he’s just not very good–certainly not enough to make up for being undersized for the position.

Power Forward Targets

Similarly, these players will be on free agent lists, but they’re essentially limited to playing power forward, where they’d be presumably stuck behind Morris and Green in the rotation. They could be options if either leaves in free agency, and players in the lower part of this list could be candidates to replace Patterson as a third-stringer. Players with utility at center will be discussed later this week.

Dario SaricProjected starting salary: $8-10M; 3-year value: $29.5M
Paul Millsap
Projected starting salary: $6-8M; 3-year value: $35.1M
Markieff Morris
Projected starting salary: $4-6M; 3-year value: $8.9M
Juan Hernangomez (restricted)
Projected starting salary: $4-6M; 3-year value: $7M

I like Saric quite a bit, but I’m skeptical that he’s going to get more than his $5M qualifying offer in free agency. If the Suns clear cap room to sign free agents and rescind that qualifying offer, making Saric an unrestricted free agent, I’d be interested in him as a stretch 4 who played some small-ball 5 for Phoenix last year. Millsap is probably a little more useful than the chatter around him last year would have you believe, while Morris is probably a little less useful when you take him out of a context where he’s taking wide-open shots alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Both could contribute in a rotation. If the Wolves want to keep Hernangomez in restricted free agency, they’ll be able to, but if they cut ties with him he’d be a great addition at just 24 years old.

Exception-Level Wing Targets

These are the guys from the small forward pool who will get the most chatter this year, since they’re capable contributors to a playoff rotation who will draw attention from contenders at the taxpayer mid-level. It’s a market that the Clippers will probably sit out, since they need dependable minutes at PG and C more than on the wings.

Still, if we’re tracking candidates, these are the most complete players of the bunch, though each with their own strengths and weaknesses.

Justin HolidayProjected starting salary: $4-6M; 3-year value: $15.2M
Garrett Temple
(team option)Projected starting salary: $4-6M; 1-year value: $5.5M
Moe Harkless
Projected starting salary: $4-6M; 3-year value: $11.7M
Derrick Jones
Projected starting salary: $4-6M; 3-year value: $23.2M
Glenn Robinson III
Projected starting salary: $2-4M; 3-year value: $8.3M

Undersized Veteran Wing Targets

With varying utility, these players can provide 3-and-D (Belinelli and Waiters much less on the D) play on the wing… but all of them are a bit undersized, more shooting guards masquerading as 2/3s than actual small forwards.

Courtney LeeProjected starting salary: minimum; 1-year value: $1.4M
Wesley Matthews
Projected starting salary: $4-6M; 3-year value: $26.7M
Kent Bazemore
Projected starting salary: $4-6M; 3-year value: $21.7M
Marco Belinelli
Projected starting salary: $2-4M; 3-year value: $13M
Dion Waiters
Projected starting salary: minimum; 3-year value: $16.4M

At 6’4″ and 34 years old, Matthews isn’t an ideal fit, but he’s good enough that it wouldn’t matter. Unfortunately, he was a starter for the Milwaukee Bucks last season and probably wouldn’t walk away from that for a bench role in LA. Courtney Lee, now 35, might belong in the “over the hill” category instead of here, but he’d make threes and bring a veteran presence even if his ability isn’t where it used to be. Bazemore has a high ceiling as a dynamic undersized wing, which is probably just enough to attract a larger role on a bad team. Belinelli is a dependable sharpshooter, but might be redundant next to Shamet, while Waiters is anything but dependable and probably needs to get his career back on track before getting a look here.

Defensive-Minded Forward Targets

This is the first group where we’ll see legitimate small forward size in the minimum-salary conversation. Unfortunately, these players aren’t very good, but this crop of veterans will bring size and versatility to the Clippers’ second-unit defense. They’d likely drop out of the team’s playoff rotation, but have situational utility due to their defensive chops.

Torrey Craig (restricted)Projected starting salary: $2-4M; 3-year value: $0
Solomon Hill
Projected starting salary: minimum; 1-year value: $1.2M
JaKarr Sampson
Projected starting salary: minimum; 3-year value: $0.1M
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson
Projected starting salary: $2-4M; 3-year value: $23.5M
Michael Kidd-GilchristProjected starting salary: $2-4M; 3-year value: $9.1M
Andre Roberson
Projected starting salary: unsigned; 3-year value: $6.8M

Craig, of course, is a role player on the Denver Nuggets team that just eliminated the Clippers, and while he wasn’t good in that series he’d be much better in his proper role (if Will Barton was healthy, Craig would have played sparingly). Denver probably makes him restricted at $2.5M and holds on to him, but they could face a money crunch with Millsap and Grant both free agents. After being traded to the Heat mid-season, Hill saw situational defensive assignments in the playoffs and could provide the same for the Clippers. Sampson has been a fringe rotation guy for years, and will rebound and defend from the forward spots despite being a non-factor on offense.

Hollis-Jefferson might be the most intriguing of the bunch. Unlike Craig and Hill, who are bad shooters, Rondae joins Sampson in the “non-shooter” category, but he thrived defensively for an excellent defensive Raptors team last season in a substantial role (19 minutes in 60 games) and guarded multiple positions. At just 25, he’d give the Clippers an opportunity to do a little bit of that player development they love to talk about. A notch lower, Kidd-Gilchrist is dreadful offensively, and settled into a fringe-rotation role as a tertiary wing defender for Dallas last year.

Roberson rounds out the crew, really deserving the “reclamation project” label. He’ll turn 29 before next season starts, which means he should still have a shot at contributing… but he missed all of 2018-19 and all of 2019-20 with injuries until making his return for a small bench role in the bubble. Putting him in competition with the likes of McGruder, Mann, and Coffey could give him a chance to return to form and earn a role.

Forward Targets Who Can Hit A Shot

One thing about the six guys we just mentioned: you don’t trust any of them to hit a wide-open three. That’s not true with these 4. The catch? You wouldn’t trust these guys (ok, it’s a little unfair to lump Nader in with the other 3) to so much as guard a traffic cone on the other end. If all the Clippers want is someone with legit forward size who can keep the floor spaced on the second unit, there’s options here.

Kyle KorverProjected starting salary: minimum; 1-year value: $3.1M
Abdel Nader
(team option)Projected starting salary: minimum; 3-year value: $0
Carmelo Anthony
Projected starting salary: $4-6M; 3-year value: $27.1M
Jared Dudley
Projected starting salary: minimum; 1-year value: $0

Korver is nearly 40, but he hasn’t stopped hitting shots yet. I’d be he returns to Milwaukee, while Nader, who is technically under both team option and restricted free agent control in Oklahoma City, could fall loose from a Thunder team with a lot of young, below-average wings to take a look at. He’s a capable shooter who got consistent minutes for a playoff team last year, but there isn’t a lot to get excited about.

Anthony and Dudley are both more power forwards at this point in their career, and neither is very likely to be a Clipper. Carmelo was good enough in his comeback in Portland last year that he’ll get a legit opportunity–perhaps teaming up with his friend LeBron James on the Lakers–to help a team next year, and the Clippers don’t seem a likely landing spot. Dudley, on the other hand, can hit an open three but isn’t a small forward at this point in his career, and he’s internalized the obnoxious Lakers fan mentality more than any benchwarmer I can remember.

Wing Targets With (Some) Upside

It’s possible that the Clippers, instead of looking for a dependable 12-16 minute veteran on the wings, decide to see if they can find a high-upside addition on the scrap heap. It’s a curious situation where, due to Leonard’s load management regimen, players that would normally go for bigger roles on bad teams could actually figure to get reps on a contender.

Josh JacksonProjected starting salary: $2-4M; 3-year value: $32.6M
Denzel Valentine (restricted)
Projected starting salary: $2-4M; 3-year value: $20.6M
Semi Ojeleye (team option)
Projected starting salary: minimum; 3-year value: $0
Stanley Johnson (player option)
Projected starting salary: minimum; 3-year value: $19.1M

Jackson (23) was the 4th pick in the 2017 draft, but got traded to Memphis last summer where his fourth-year option was declined, making him a rare top-5 pick to hit unrestricted free agency while he’s still young. There’s a reason his career has gone the way it has, but there’s been enough to like that there’s still plenty of hope for a productive career once he gets out from under the expectations of that top-5 rookie contract. Notably, he shot 38% from three in the D-League last year. Valentine has also showed well when he’s played, but he missed the 2019 season and wasn’t as good in his 36 2020 appearances as he was in 2018. Between Dunn, Valentine, and Shaquille Harrison, it’s hard to imagine the Bulls keeping all 3 in restricted free agency.

The other two players are stretches to share this category with Jackson and Valentine. Ojeleye is more of an undersized PF than a SF, and he’s about to turn 26 and likely get cut from a minimum deal with the Boston Celtics. Johnson, who is still only 24, was really bad with the Raptors last year and will likely pick up his $3.8M player option without much interest in free agency.

Over The Hill Wings and Forwards

Fans will recognize these names, and teams like the Clippers will kick the tires in hopes of finding deep-bench utility from ring-chasing veterans, but at this point in their careers they’re unlikely to find much.

Jamal CrawfordProjected starting salary: unsigned; 1-year value: $0
Thabo Sefolosha
Projected starting salary: minimum; 1-year value: $0
Corey Brewer
Projected starting salary: minimum; 1-year value: $0.3M
Wilson Chandler
Projected starting salary: minimum; 1-year value: $0
DeMarre Carroll
Projected starting salary: minimum; 3-year value: $13.3M
Anthony Tolliver
Projected starting salary: minimum; 3-year value: $0

Crawford is a clear non-starter as a positional and defensive fit, while the others are pretty much the “defensive-minded” group 5 years in the future. The others are veteran defenders in name but not in practice–Brewer was out of the league last season until he got a deal with the Kings for the bubble, while Sefolosha, Chandler, Carroll, and Tolliver have all lost their positional versatility over the years and are really just power forwards at this point.

If the Clippers lose Patrick Patterson, these guys might be dependable in a depth role, using their experience to bring a good locker room presence and plug holes in the rotation when there are injuries. Tolliver in particular has been linked with the Clippers in recent seasons and would make sense as a Patterson replacement, but this category as a whole leaves me feeling like looking at younger options would be better in the short- and long-term.

Just Another Guy

Look, they’re not good. But they’re here, and they played minutes last season, making them at least a known quantity where random undrafted players and g-leaguers present risk.

Mario Hezonja (player option)Projected starting salary: minimum; 3-year value: $3.5M
James Ennis (player option)
Projected starting salary: minimum; 3-year value: $9.3M
Jeff Green
Projected starting salary: minimum; 3-year value: $7.2M

Ennis is the best of these three, and it would make sense for him to decline his minimum-salary player option in Orlando and see if he can scrounge an above-minimum offer somewhere (or maybe move to a better team). Hezonja will probably accept his minimum-salary player option in Portland. He’d probably get picked up if he declined, but it isn’t guaranteed.

Green, who played for the Clippers briefly during the Lob City years, had a bit of a resurgence with the Houston Rockets as a mid-season pick-up last year, mostly thanks to shooting well above his career average from deep in the bubble. He played his way on to an NBA roster for next season, but he’s not a small forward anymore. In most contexts, he’s a 4, and he played almost exclusively small-ball C for the Rockets last season. Showcasing that versatility might help teams see him as having utility that’s been lost since his small forward

Clippers Restricted Wing and Forward Targets

There are restricted free agents across the categories in this breakdown, so let me explain why I set these folks aside at the end. First, none of them broke out quite enough last season for me to think that they’re going to attract major attention in free agency this summer. Second, they all showed well enough (even in limited opportunities) that you’d assume their teams would be interested in keeping them around. Third, importantly, they have cheap qualifying offers, meaning they won’t interfere in other off-season plans or put their teams into luxury tax situations.

Shaquille HarrisonProjected starting salary: $2-4M; 3-year value: $23.6M
Dwayne Bacon
Projected starting salary: minimum; 3-year value: $8.6M
Frank Jackson
Projected starting salary: minimum; 3-year value: $16.9M
Damyean Dotson
Projected starting salary: minimum; 3-year value: $13.9M
Hamidou Diallo (team option)
Projected starting salary: minimum; 3-year value: $8.8M
Sterling Brown
Projected starting salary: minimum; 3-year value: $8M
Wesley Iwundu
Projected starting salary: minimum; 3-year value: $8.7M
Malcolm Miller
Projected starting salary: minimum; 3-year value: $0

213Hoops is an independently owned and operated L.A. Clippers blog by Clippers fans, for Clippers fans. If you enjoy our content, please consider subscribing to our Patreon. Subscriptions start at $1 a month and support from readers like you goes a long way towards helping us keep 213Hoops sustainable, growing, and thriving.

Lucas Hann

Lucas Hann

Lucas has covered the Clippers since 2011, and has been credentialed by the team since 2014. He co-founded 213Hoops with Robert Flom in January 2020.  He is a graduate of Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, CA and St. John's University in Queens, NY.  He earned his MA in Communication and Rhetorical Studies from Syracuse University.

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