I swung by the Clippers practice facility to get a look at the wreckage after yesterday’s disastrous day. The place is still standing, everyone inside is OK, but there were more than a few aftershocks being felt throughout the building still.
Never got to speak with coach Mike Dunleavy this morning. He was upstairs, on his cell phone the entire time I was in there. Word is the Clippers are going to meet with Atlanta forward Josh Smith today, though I don’t know how formal that meeting is yet.
Smith was already scheduled to be in Los Angeles to film an adidas commercial. But, seeing as how the Clippers all of a sudden need a power forward, and are the only team in the NBA with enough cap space to make a realistic offer to the up-and-coming young star, a little more business has been added to Smith’s agenda in LA today.
The Clippers also have feelers out to Charlotte’s Emeka Okafor.
Both players are restricted free agents, but my contact in Atlanta said that if LA offers Smith big, big money, Atlanta probably won’t match it. The Hawks have stated that they want to keep Smith, at all costs, but the feeling is they won’t want to spend more than the $14 million a year they pay Joe Johnson.
Before we go, a couple day-after takes on how the Elton Brand situation went wrong. I spoke with a friend of Brand’s today who said that as early as last week, he was starting to lean towards signing with the 76ers. The appeal of playing back East, near where he and his wife are from, became very enticing.
There is also a theory, going around the league, and articulated well by Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski that this was a power play by Brand’s agent, David Falk.
Falk, the article says, got angry when Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy reached out to Brand directly instead of going through him. Dunleavy did this, of course, because Falk had stopped returning the Clippers calls.
I’ve heard the story a little differently –that Falk was angry Dunleavy had encouraged Brand to opt out of his contract — but the message is still the same. Something the Clippers did made Falk mad and he took his client and ran.
Over the next couple of days, I’ll be able to piece things together better. There is no black box on these things, so everything is just hearsay. But we should know a little more in a couple hours, after Brand’s press conference in Philadelphia, which is scheduled for 5 p.m. EST.