Darren Collison had wanted to stay with the Los Angeles Clippers as an unrestricted free agent this summer. But when $16 million over three years comes knocking at your door, you probably don’t want it that bad.
According to LA Clippers beat reporter Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times, the Sacramento Kings have signed the Clippers’ backup point guard to a $16 million deal, getting the mid-level exception with all three years being guaranteed.
Free agent guard Darren Collison agrees to 3 year, $16 milion deal with Sacramento, sources, leaving the Clippers.
— Brad Turner (@BA_Turner) July 3, 2014
The move is puzzling, for a number of reasons. On the one hand, it makes sense that the Kings are getting a little bit of insurance for their current starting point guard Isaiah Thomas, who is a restricted free agent this summer and will more than likely receive big offers from other teams that Sacramento won’t be willing to match.
However, that’s a lot of money to be dishing out to a guy who really isn’t a starting point guard. Committing that much money to Darren Collison, who averaged 11.4 points, 3.7 assists, 2.4 rebounds and 1.2 steals in 25.9 minutes per game last season, seems like a bit much. Although those numbers hold their own and Collison gave Lob City quality minutes off the bench, part of his effectiveness comes from attacking off the bench. Matching up with reserves is sure to boost anyone’s numbers and Collison hasn’t fared well in recent years when he’s been the starter. Just ask the Indiana Pacers or the Dallas Mavericks.
Isaiah Thomas is too small and shoot-first, so the Kings signed 6-0 Darren Collison, who has had a worse assist rate 2 of last 3 seasons.
— Kevin Pelton (@kpelton) July 3, 2014
The Kings are now very unlikely to match offers on their up-and-coming point guard, and the Detroit Pistons are just one of a few teams who will aggressively pursue Thomas now that Sacramento is sort of waving the white flag. Thomas heading to Detroit would be awesome, because then the Pistons would have another Isaiah Thomas (Ok, so maybe it’s spelled differently, but give me a break):
Pistons continue to express serious interest in Isaiah Thomas, per source. They may pursue him even harder, knowing Kings unlikely to match. — Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) July 3, 2014
The Boston Celtics have also reached out to Thomas, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. Thomas averaged 20.3 points, 6.3 assists and 1.3 steals per game with the Kings last season, and though his defense and shot-happy approach were primary issues for Sacramento, I can’t really say that a backcourt of Darren Collison, Nik Stauskas and Ben McLemore is going to fare much better on those fronts.
For the Clippers, this is a definite blow to their team. By not making Collison a priority, they’ve lost a quality backup point guard who gave them valuable scoring, speed and energy off the bench. While we can’t say replacing Thomas with Collison as the starter is a good idea for Sacramento, we CAN say the Clippers will have a hard time finding a better backup point guard than what they had.