Clippers Trade Randolph, Hit Reset Button

Clippers trade away big contract of player disinterested in defense.

Who was going to take a one-dimensional player making $33 million over the next two years off of the Clippers hands?

Thank you Memphis.

In a move that everyone around the Clippers wanted but nobody thought could happen, the Clippers found a sucker to take on Zach Randolph and the final two years of his contract, worth $33 million. In return, the Clippers get Quentin Richardson back on the team, with just one year and $9.3 million on his deal. Due to salary cap rules this trade can’t be completed until next week, and Clippers fans should be in a church lighting candles every day hoping it does not fall apart before then.

That’s because this trade helps the Clippers hit the reset button after last season in three ways.

First, it clears the way for the new face of the franchise, Blake Griffin, to get more minutes. And that is good for the Clippers image and on the court – this is a team that is best when it runs but Randolph held that back with his plodding style. Griffin is a gazelle, Well, as much as a guy 6’10” can be.

Second, it gets rid of a lazy attitude that permeated the team. Randolph is maybe the best scorer in the league from the low right block, and he rebounds well. But after that he couldn’t care less — his disinterest in defense is legendary. And that attitude catches on with teammates. It did in New York, in Portland with him. And while it is not the only reason the Clippers won just 19 games last year, it is part of it.

Finally, with Richardson’s contract coming off the books after this season, along with the expiring deals for Marcus Camby and Ricky Davis, the Clippers have nearly $20 million in cap space for the rich free agent market next summer.

Suddenly, the Clippers are on a roll — first they win the lottery and get Griffin, then they find someone to take Randolph off their hands. Dare we say it, the Clippers are having a good summer.

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