Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Rumor Mill

Is anyone else excited about the trade deadline?!? OK, probably not that excited. Here's a couple of things to think about before Feb. 19th.

Marcus Fizer hasn't been used much all season, and is a restricted FA this summer. That means he attains that magical title, "expiring contract". Here's Sam Smith's idea in the trib a couple of days ago, and for once, it wasn't completely crazy:

Should Marcus Fizer stay in Los Angeles after the Bulls play the Clippers on Tuesday? The agent for the little-used forward has been talking to teams about a trade, reportedly with the Bulls' permission.

The Clippers believe they have a chance to sign Kobe Bryant when he becomes a free agent this summer and are looking to clear salary-cap space with expiring contracts. Though owner Donald Sterling often is criticized for not spending money, associates say he'll spend it for a star, especially a Laker such as Bryant. And Fizer becomes a free agent after the season.

One player the Clippers are trying to deal is 6-foot-11-inch Melvin Ely, who has fallen out of the rotation and has played in only one of the last five games. "Right now, Mel's not a guy who is in the top of the rotation," coach Mike Dunleavy said. "We have [Elton] Brand, [Chris] Kaman, [Chris] Wilcox and [Peja] Drobnjak."

Said Ely: "A change of venue for me wouldn't matter. I'm not going to just accept that I'm in the league and I get paid a whole lot of money and be fine with that. I'm trying to be the best at my position."

You've got to like an NBA guy who says "change of venue." The Harvey native could be a good tandem with Eddy Curry, also of Harvey. The Clippers also are said to be willing to part with combo guard Marko Jaric, who has another year on his deal. The Clippers also have been talking to the Hornets about taking on the expiring contracts of Bryce Drew and Stacey Augmon.
Looking purely from a talent standpoint, I'd rather have Ely or Jaric than Fizer right now. This is especially the case since Marcus simply doesn't play anymore. I don't know how'd Ely fit in the rotation or how he'd play with Curry(if that still matters), but I would think he's definitely worth taking a flyer on.

Back to Jamal: I talked about Paxson's strategy with Jamal Crawford already, but Chad Ford had a little tidbit describing Jamal's free agent prospects this summer:

Crawford wants out of Chicago, and there are plenty of teams willing to take him. The Bulls' decision to move Crawford exclusively to the two dampens his value. Teams that believe Crawford could be a good point guard in the league are going to be the most interested. Look for the Clippers and Cavaliers to make the most noise. If the Cavs dump Jeff McInnis this summer, they should be able to make an offer for Crawford above the mid-level exception.

Ouch, doesn't look like Jamal's playing his way toward the max contract he was looking for. Mid-level exception (4-5 mil) from the Cavs? Looks like Pax will have the opportunity to possibly even bring Crawford back with a qualifying offer, unless the Clippers or Suns are willing to throw their cap space at the idea of putting Crawford back at the point.