Clippers waive veteran guard Eric Gordon and receive a salary exemption

The Clippers waived veteran guard Eric Gordon on Wednesday, the last day the team had to guarantee his $20.9 million salary for next season.

Gordon, 34, will become a free agent. It was the team’s second trade of the day after big man made Moussa Diabat a restricted free agent by extending an eligible offer. Diabaté is coming off the first season in which he has been named All-Rookie of the G League.

Although the Clippers felt the strength added by the 6-foot-3 Gordon defensively and his ability to spread the floor for teammates with his often appropriate long-range shot, Gordon was waived by the team due to his intent to look for savings.

By not adding Gordon’s salary to next year’s team, the Clippers would save about $110 million in luxury tax bills, ESPN’s Bobby Marks calculates. The new collective bargaining agreement between the players’ association and the league, which was handed over to teams Wednesday and will take effect on Friday, severely penalizes teams that exceed the league’s salary cap.

“The new basketball agreement will have implications not only that, but over the next couple of years, tough decisions will always have to be made, and we will make those tough decisions,” said basketball chief of operations Lawrence Frank in April.

With guard Russell Westbrook still potentially re-signing with the team in free agency, the Clippers’ decision on Gordon was also about creating more opportunities for younger guards and wingers whose roles have ebb and flow, like Terrence Mann and Bones Hyland. Next season’s contracts for third-year wingers Brandon Boston Jr. and point guard Jason Preston are also not guaranteed.

Gordon played his first three seasons in the NBA with the franchise before returning 12 years later before the February trade deadline via trade with Houston. To get Gordon before last season’s extended run, the Clippers traded Luke Kennard, trading rights to last week’s NBA draft that returned the team 10 first-round picks and John Wall to do a three-team business with Houston and Memphis. He went on to average 11.0 points while shooting 42% on three-pointers for the Clippers and started all five games of their first-round postseason loss to Phoenix.

However, the reunion lasted all 27 games.

His place in next season’s plans has been in question since last week, when the team was in discussions with Boston and Washington over a three-team deal that, as discussed, would have the Clippers take down another veteran guard in Malcolm Brogdon by sending out Marcus Morris Sr. and Amir Covey’s contract expiration.

Talks broke down, but indicated the team’s interest in changing its backcourt and reducing the stalemate on the wing. A report published by Yahoo Sports on Wednesday indicated that the Clippers recently gauged interest around the league in backup guard Norman Powell.

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