It’s Skinner!

Sorry for the delay in posting this. I was out doing a million things to get ready for my flight to China this weekend. But I just got word the Clippers have signed Brian Skinner to a contract. I’m tracking down the details, but it’s believed to be for the veteran minimum.

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Filling out the roster

The Clippers currently have 11 players under contract for next year (including non-guaranteed contracts to second-round picks DeAndre Jordan and Mike Taylor), plus qualifying offers out to Nick Fazekas and Marcus Williams. That means there are 2-3 spots still up for grabs, if the team decides to carry the maximum 15-players on the roster, which is no guarantee.

In speaking with the Clippers brass today, I was told to expect them to add a veteran big man sometime soon, possibly even this week. While the Clips are very high on DeAndre Jordan, and feel that Marcus Camby is the absolute perfect teacher for him, they’d also like to add another big to back up Camby and Chris Kaman in the low post to take some of the pressure off of Jordan.

As it stands now, Jordan, Fazekas and Al Thornton are the only bigs on the roster who could back-up Kaman or Camby should either get into foul trouble or go down with an injury. Jordan and Fazekas are still learning and Thornton is really more of a small forward.

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Jason and Ricky say `hello’

Clips story

By Ramona Shelburne
Staff Writer

There was a lot about Wednesday’s press conference at the Staples Center that felt familiar to Jason Hart. In effect, he was being re-introduced as a member of the Clippers after a one-year misadventure in Utah.

“It feels like I went off to college and now I’m back home,” he said.

Except you know how sometimes parents completely rearrange their children’s rooms when they leave for college? Take the bed out, put a home stereo system in and paint the walls a different color?

Well, that’s about what the Clippers have done to their roster since Hart left as a free agent last offseason.

Only three players –Cuttino Mobley, Chris Kaman, Tim Thomas — remain on the team since Hart’s departure last July, the result of one of the wackiest off-seasons in team history that appears to finally be settling down a bit.

“Building a team is a process and you’re never really done,” team president Andy Roeser said. “But I think we’re at the point where our roster is coming into focus.”

Then, just to mess with the assembled media and team PR staff, which has worked overtime just to keep up with the furious series of moves, he added: “But we’re never done and don’t be surprised if we have more to do before training camp.”

It was entirely unclear if he was kidding or not.

For the moment though, Roeser, general manager Elgin Baylor and director of player personnel Neil Olshey were content to re-introduce Hart –who was acquired from Utah in exchange for Brevin Knight last week — and welcome new addition Ricky Davis, who signed a two year deal, with a player option for the second year, on Monday.

“It’s a steal,” Olshey said of the moderate $2.3 million per season contract Davis’ singed. “I don’t think he would’ve had to take a pay cut off of what he made last season ($6.5 million) in a normal market. But in this market, he recognized the opportunity this presented him –much like James Posey did with Boston last year — and we’re more than happy to be the beneficiaries of that.

“Ricky is a guy we’ve tried to trade for several times over the last four years. And we’re talking about big, big time player in our organization. We’ve wanted him for a while.”

Davis, 28, averaged 13.8 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.4 assists while playing in all 82 games for the Miami Heat last season.

“It’s a tough market out there now,” Davis said. “But I’m excited to be here. I’ll play the way I can play and hopefully we can put it together and get into the playoffs.”

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The ever-shifting draft pick…

Remember that second round draft choice the Clips gave Denver in exchange for Marcus Camby. Wait, sorry, the right to exchange second round picks in 2010 … Well, those rights have been sent to the Knicks as part of a trade for Renaldo Balkman according the the New York Post

The KnicksNew York Knicks have acquired a 2010 second-round draft choice, guard Taurean Green and guard/forward Bobby Jones from Denver for forward Renaldo Balkman and cash considerations.

The draft pick will be the more favorable selection between the Nuggets and Clippers, resulting from a previous trade.

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I’m expecting to get word on a free agent signing by the Clippers later tonight… Check back in a couple hours.

UPDATE: Sorry, we had some technical difficulties with the blog last night. Not sure what happened –I couldn’t even sign in — but we’re back up and running. I got word from a source around 10 p.m. that the signing I was expecting wasn’t done yet. Not sure what the hang up is, but these things tend to take time. I’ll let you all know as soon as I get word.

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Clippers reacquire Jason Hart

Sorry to be a little slow in posting this. I was away from the computer for an hour or so. But the Clippers today re-acquired Jason Hart from the Utah Jazz in exchange for Brevin Knight.

“We are glad to have Jason back with us,” general manager Elgin Baylor said. “He played an important role for us when he was here previously, and we think he will be a valuable component this time as well.”

The 6-3, 180 pound Hart played a part of the 2006-07 season with the Clippers before signing with Utah last offseason. In those 23 games, Hart averaged nine points and four assists.

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What’s next

I had a conversation today with some of the Clippers brass about the rest of the summer, and what moves the team does or does not make. Basically, everything depends on what happens with Kelenna Azubuike. Golden State has until Friday to match the offer sheet he signed with the Clippers last Thursday.

If Golden State lets Azubuike walk, the Clippers will have no more cap space and would need to fill out the roster with league minimum guys.

If Golden State matches the three-year, $9 million dollar offer, then the Clippers would still have about $3 million in salary cap space, and I got the distinct impression they planed to make use of it.

One issue that will probably remain unresolved for a while is the status of Shaun Livingston. The team has expressed a desire to re-sign him, but had to renounce his rights because he carried a $13 million salary cap hold.

“I’ve had discussions with Shaun’s agent recently,” coach Mike Dunleavy said. “We love Shaun, but with his injury, we had to renounce him because he was on the books for 13 million dollars. It’s just the way of the cap.

“But we’d still like to re-sign him. Right now, he’s not cleared to do anything but play 1-on-1. We’d like to see the rehabilitation through, and then give him an opportunity to be a Los Angeles Clipper.”

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