Doc Rivers is up to his old tricks.
Sure, he salvaged the Chris Paul departure by getting Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams, Sam Dekker, Montrezl Harrell, and a first-round pick from the Houston Rockets. He managed to convince Blake Griffin to re-sign in L.A. He finally got that two-way small forward the Clips have been searching for, for years. He's on the verge of finally getting a competent backup point guard, too.
The problem, as usual, is that the desires of Coach Doc are driving the decision-making of GM Doc, and that the Clippers have gone about these maneuvers in a way that could hamstring the team both now and in the future.
Rivers got Griffin to come back to the fold, but he did it by giving him a full, five-year max contract with no options or non-guaranteed money attached. (Good luck with that, Glenn.) Griffin is a marvelous player, maybe even an underrated one these days, but he also missed 68 games over the last two years and suffered a season-ending injury during each of the Clippers' last two playoff runs. Does that sound like a player you want to be on the hook for paying $39,204,000 in 2022?
And sure, Rivers finally got his two-way small forward. But that small forward is Danilo Gallinari, who has missed at least 19 games due to injury in each of the last four seasons and has played in only 64 percent of his team's games during the course of his career. Gallo is also more of a power forward in today's NBA, especially on defense, where he struggles at times to keep up with quicker wing players. Oh, and Rivers acquired Gallo in a sign-and-trade, which means he has once again subjected his team to the hard-cap. And he gave up the first-rounder that was acquired in the CP3 trade in order to do it.
For the lead decision-maker of a team that already owes a future first-rounder to the Celtics and will be paying large salaries to at least three players, Rivers does not seem to value young, cost-controlled talent very much. Since coming to L.A. in 2013, he has already sent former first-rounders Reggie Bullock and C.J. Wilcox packing, the 2017 pick to the Bucks to dump Jared Dudley's contract because he accidentally hard-capped the team by signing Spencer Hawes and Jordan Farmar (both of whom almost immediately fell out of the rotation and were later dumped themselves), and the 2019 pick to Memphis for Jeff Green in an effort to solve the small forward problem he himself created by dumping Dudley. That's in addition to the Clippers' 2015 pick going to Boston as the price of acquiring Rivers' services in the first place.
To top it all off, to solve their years-long backup-point-guard problem, Rivers is spending part of his Wednesday meeting with Derrick Rose, presumably in his ongoing quest to sign every player who played for or against him while he was coaching the Celtics, injuries and declining performance be damned. If Rose doesn't work out, word is the Clips will pursue European point man Milos Teodosic, who is a brilliant passer but may or may not be aware of the existence of the defensive side of the floor.
Either way, Rivers is planning to give his next PG the non-taxpayer mid-level exception, which will bring the team within just a couple million dollars of the aforementioned hard cap and likely prevent them from making any impactful in-season moves should the need arise. Like, say, if one of their many injury-prone players gets injured.
Bang up job, Doc.