According to the Los Angeles Times, Darren Collison has signed a three year deal with the Sacramento Kings for $16 million. Collison leaving the Los Angeles Clippers leaves a backup point guard void that they have to work to fill now.
The Clippers have a few options on the open market right now. Jameer Nelson, Greivis Vasquez, Ramon Sessions and Kirk Hinrich are just some of the names available right now. Collison’s production can certainly be replaced but it may take time for the replacement to get a feel for the Clippers’ offensive system.
Nelson and Hinrich would be two good fits for the Clippers. Nelson has played for Doc Rivers before and should be familiar with some of the things he’s doing in Los Angeles right now. Hinrich’s experience with Tom Thibodeau in Chicago should also give him some idea of what Rivers wants to do. Rivers used Griffin in the same way that Chicago used Joakim Noah as a high-post facilitator.
These small factors don’t make those guys automatic fits for the Clippers, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they were looked into with the right price tag.
The Kings gain another point guard on their roster that is a bit better at facilitating than starting point guard Isaiah Thomas was. He isn’t an upgrade on defense nor as a scorer, but will bring more distribution to the table. That’s something the Kings have been looking for over the last two seasons.
Thomas is still a restricted free agent on the open market. This opens many doors for him. If the market says anything about what he will take, he will fall right under Kyle Lowry’s deal of 4 years and $48 million with a player option in the fourth year.
Thomas probably won’t get that, but he may get somewhere between $9-$11 million on the open market. But Collison’s deal and Thomas at that amount would push them either into the tax or dangerously close to it. They’d lose flexibility if he were to return.
This opens the door for a sign-and-trade to the Detroit Pistons who have shown some interest in Thomas. It also leaves room for contenders like the Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat to make offers to Thomas without having to worry about the Kings aggressively matching everything they throw out there.
This makes for an interesting situation on the free agent market. We’ll see how things play out from here on in the point guard market.