So the Clippers are 0-6 to start this season, and while it’s not time to push the panic button just yet, it was good enough reason to have some fun with coach Mike Dunleavy before the game and quiz him on a bit of Clippers trivia.
I asked him rather casually for an update on Sophocles “Baby Shaq” Schortsanitis, the Greek center the Clippers drafted in the second round back in 2003 who has yet to sign with the club, but made him pronounce the name.
Dunleavy, always a stickler for detail, nailed it, then proceeded to fill us in on Big Sofo’s long history with the club.
“We tried a couple years ago to sign him, I thought we had a deal and then his Greek shipping magnate came back and made him a better deal,” Dunleavy said. “The amount of money he can make here isn’t the amount of money he can make there, but if he plays well over here he can make more than he makes over there.”
Schortsanitis is currently playing for the Greek club, Olimpiacos. His teammate is former Atlanta Hawks forward Josh Childress. ESPN’s Mark Schwartz has a nice piece on how all that is going.
As for Schortsanitis (see, now I’ve typed it three times fast), Dunleavy said the Clippers would still have interest in signing him, but under one condition.
A very big condition.
“He knows how to play, he’s a good player,” Dunleavy said. “His big thing is his weight. He’s huge. When he’s slim, and that means like 325, he’s like quick as a cat.
“He’s on the way down, but at one point last year he was like 400. …When I first saw him he needed to lose 100 pounds before I’d even think about bringing him over. Then he lost like 75 or 80 pounds and I was like, `OK I want you. I think you can help us.’
“I went and watched him over in Treviso, I watched him for literally no more than 10 minutes and said, `It’s over, Done, We’ll bring you. He was that good at that point.”
He was also trim and quick though.
“Then he goes back, and I don’t know how you would do this? But the guy that helped him lose all his weight … well, they (Olimpiacos) say `We’ve got our own people.’ And he’s back at 400. He’s on the way down, but at one point last year he was like 400.”
And Schortsanitis is, umm, schorter than you might think.
“He’s like 6-8,” Dunleavy said. “If he was seven feet he would’ve been here a long time ago.”