Darren Collison gives Clippers a hometown discount for an excellent backup point guard

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Darren Collison's desire to play for a contender allowed the Clippers to secure one of the league's best backup point guards at a bargain price.

Darren Collison's value has fallen over the past couple years so he decided to try to think ahead, taking a short-term deal with a contender to recoup some long-term value for when he is next a free agent. That led him to accept what's essentially a one-year contract with the Los Angeles Clippers for less than $2 million. The deal is technically for two years to be paid for with the remainder of the Clippers' mid-level exception not taken by Matt Barnes, but it has a player option after the first year that will almost surely be opted out of by Collison.

The cost is so far below Collison's true market value that it was a no-brainer for the Clippers. Collison proved last season that he's too limited to be a frontline starter, but the Clippers just need him to fill the role Eric Bledsoe played last season. In that regard, Collison is certainly capable of quarterbacking the Clippers' speedy second unit and playing together with Chris Paul in tiny lineups, much like Bledsoe did during his tenure in Los Angeles.

Collison, like Bledsoe, is a good open-floor player. He was at his best early in his career when given the freedom to run pick-and-roll, attack when appropriate and play through poor decisions. Once he was forced to play in a more structured system, though -- like Frank Vogel's post-heavy attack in Indiana or Rick Carlisle's "Flow" offense in Dallas -- he struggled. By teaming up with a runner like Matt Barnes, Collison can now get back to playing freely. He's certainly not the athlete Bledsoe is and probably will struggle to guard shooting guards a bit, but he's also a better outside shooter and can bring other skills to the table.

Even if it's not a perfect fit, the cost makes the Collsion signing a no-brainer for the Clippers. In a more limited role on a good team, the speedy point guard can see his strengths amplified and his weaknesses patched over, allowing him to cash in once the season ends.

That's the hope, at least, but it's a reasonable one for him to have. In turn, the Clippers should reap the benefits.

GRADE: A-

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