Q&A With Clippers Executive Vice President Andy Roeser
Important Dates This Summer:
Q: Who are the free agents this summer on the Clippers team?
AR: This summer, we have only two free agents: Michael Olowokandi, who will be a restricted free agent, and Jeff McInnis who will be an unrestricted free agent.
Q: What is the difference between an unrestricted and a restricted free agent?
AR: A restricted free agent is a player who is subject to a first right of refusal by his current team. In Michael's case, this means that the Clippers have the right to match any offer that he would receive from another team. In the case of an unrestricted free agent, such as Jeff, a player is free to resign with their current team or sign with another team that has enough cap room to offer a deal.
Q: Since the situation is more in the Clippers' control, what can fans expect in regards to Michael Olowokandi's contract?
AR: Fans can expect to see Michael Olowokandi back in his Clippers uniform next season. We will tender Michael a qualifying offer at the end of June this summer, and will also begin to negotiate a long-term contract with him on July 1st. He will also have the right to receive offers from other teams beginning in mid-July. If he does receive an offer sheet from another team, expect the Clippers to match it. We hope to sign Michael to a long-term extension.
Q: Contractually, what can be done with the Clippers from the Class of 1999?
AR: In the case of Elton Brand, Lamar Odom, and Corey Maggette---all members of the 1999 Draft class---there is a window in the Collective Bargaining Agreement to negotiate contract extensions this summer. Starting on July 1st and ending October 31st, we can open up negotiations on extending their rookie contracts.
Q: Continuing with that thought, what can be done contractually with the members of the 2000 Draft Class?
AR: I'm pleased to announce that we have exercised options for the fourth year covering the 2003-04 season for Darius Miles, Keyon Dooling, and Quentin Richardson. First round picks receive three-year contracts with a one-year option at salaries that are pre-determined under the Collective Bargaining Agreement. That option can be exercised at any time after their second year and before the beginning of their third season. We are very excited to be able to announce that these three players are signed through the 2003-04 season.
Q: How does this year's NBA Draft look for the Clippers?
AR: It's a strong possibility that we will end up with 2 lottery picks (tentatively, the 8th and 13th spots). We own our draft pick outright and in all probability, we will own Atlanta's pick as long as it is not one of the top 4 picks. We received Atlanta's pick—as well as the 2000 pick that was used to select Quentin Richardson---when we traded Lorenzen Wright to the Hawks in 1999.
Q: What can the fans expect from the Clippers franchise this summer?
AR: Expect stability and improvement from the Clippers this summer. We expect to have virtually all of our current players back next season. At the same time, we have to do everything we can to improve the team this summer so that we are competing in the playoffs a year from now. We're in the best position that we've ever been, in terms of being able to improve this off-season as well. We should have 2 of the top 13 draft choices in this years draft, we have the rights to a European player Marko Jaric—who we drafted in 2000, and we will have cap flexibility on draft day.
But the bottom line is we love the players we have, and expect to resign them when the time comes.