Still looking to fill up the final roster spot, the Los Angeles Clippers will work out free agent big men Andrew Bynum, Greg Oden and Emeka Okafor, according to a report from ESPN’s Jorge Sedano. While the initial report suggested Andray Blatche may be on the team’s radar, Brad Turner of the L.A. Times has since indicated that Blatche is not working out for the Clippers today.
With DeAndre Jordan, Blake Griffin, Spencer Hawes and Glen Davis already taking up the majority of the front court minutes, the final roster spot is essentially there as insurance. In case a big is down for an extended period of time or the matchups make sense, coach Doc Rivers wants depth up front. A lack of depth in the frontcourt – especially in the playoffs – has been a distinct disadvantage in recent memory.
While the addition of Hawes ($23 million, 4 years) certainly improved the roster’s front court depth, a reliable backup big man to do the dirty work is almost always a necessity.
Assuming the players are healthy, the best option would most likely be Okafor. Okafor missed the entire 2013-2014 NBA season due to a neck injury, but has proven himself to be a legitimate starter in the league.
He has the potential to provide consistency on the defensive end and more importantly, understands how to play within his role. The Cleveland Cavaliers have also been rumored to be after Okafor.
The Andrew Bynum saga has been quite the roller-coaster ride, with much steeper dips than promising climbs. His stints with Philadelphia, Cleveland and Indiana didn’t work out, due to both his injury concerns and attitude issues. Rivers, however, has expressed in the past how highly he thinks of the former all-star.
There would be zero pressure for Bynum to produce in this role. Once on the floor, he would most likely go up against other backup bigs who have no chance against a healthy Bynum. As is the case with almost all the guys the Clippers are targeting, if Bynum is healthy, chances are Rivers has the gravitas to motivate him.
Oden has fewer issues currently than Bynum or Okafor, but the lack of production and playing time in Miami did raise a warning flag for opposing scouts and staff. He worked out with the team last year in hopes of being ready to play meaningful minutes in the playoffs.
While his services as a defensive specialist may have never actually been needed, a presence of that sort could have helped the Heat in the NBA Finals against San Antonio. Oden only appeared in 23 games last season, averaging 2.9 points and 2.3 rebounds in 9.2 minutes per game.
Photo Credit: AP Photo/Tony Dejak