Dunleavy wants to keep ’em

Here’s what coach and GM Mike Dunleavy had to say Friday night when I asked whether this move was a precursor to any other moves.

“There’s plenty of minutes for all three of them,” Dunleavy said. “I don’t anticipate trading any of those three guys because I think they can play together. That’s why we went out and got them.

“I think it’s going to be great for us, as long as guys don’t get caught up in the ego part of the game.”

Dunleavy also said there is a possibility all three could play on the floor at the same time, meaning Al Thornton could see some time at the shooting guard spot.

“We could just go real big,” he said. “I think Marcus has shown the ability to guard smaller players. He did that tonight (against Philadelphia) several times.”

In the short term, the most likely scenario would be Randolph coming off the bench while he learns the system (a few games at most), then Dunleavy deciding which combinations work best. Dunleavy believes Camby is a perfect complementary player for Kaman and Randolph.

For now, Ricky Davis will likely start at the 2 spot, but rookie Eric Gordon will see a lot more playing time. If he seizes the opportunity, the starting job could be his sooner rather than later.

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Randolph speaks

I just got off the phone with Zach Randolph, who on a bus in Milwaukee, but took time out to speak about today’s trade to the Clippers.

Here’s what he said:

(On coming to the Clippers)
“I’m definitely excited to come out there it’ll be a new situation for me. Coach Dunleavy is a great coach and he plays the style of basketball I like to play. So it’s definitely going to be something great and a new experience.

(On the Clippers slow start)

“I definitely think they can turn it around. They’ve had a tough start, but they’ve got some great players. Kaman, Marcus, a great point guard with Baron and some other great players, like Al Thornton. It’s going to be interesting to come out there and try to turn this thing around and hopefully we can win some games.”

(Speaking of turning things around. How does it feel to be leaving the Knicks right as New York seems to be turning things around?)

“We started off pretty good, things have being going good. Coach, the organization have been great. It’s just something they wanted to do to make cap room. I’m just going to continue to do what I’ve been doing, continue to work hard and help my team win.”

(On growing up while in New York, after some off court incidents in Portland)

“It’s a big city and there’s a lot going on. I’ve just been focused on basketball and improving as a player, and winning games. I’m getting older, I’m focused on my career, focused on winning and tring to get a ring.

“I’m 27 now, I’m a lot older and I’ve been in this league a long time now so I know the ropes.”

(On the potential trade with the Clippers over the summer)

“I know they’ve been trying to get me for a long time. So that feels good. I’m ready to get started, ready to work.”

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Reaction from around the league

Here’s what Lakers coach Phil Jackson had to say about the trade before Friday’s game with the Nuggets.

“Randolph gives them an inside presence,” Jackson said. “For whatever it cost them in that process, I think it was a pretty good deal for them.

“Randolph is a good offensive rebounder. He’s a guy who can create stuff on his own on the inside. I think they’re ready to move on and try to do some different things. With Baron out there I don’t think the guard situation that Mobley gave them (was working out).

“Looking at Elton Brand and Philadelphia, everything isn’t coming up roses for them. They’re still learning how to play together. You know, it will take a while for teams to
figure out the personalities.”

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Cat update

Just finished speaking with Cuttino Mobley’s agent, Andy Miller, to get a quick feel for how Cat reacted to the deal.

“I think best way to describe is shock,” Miller said of his client’s reaction.“He had good run in Los Angeles with the Clippers. He enjoyed playing for the organization. But while he’s disappointed to be traded, he’s looking to being back on the East Coast with the Knicks.”

Mobley is originally from Philadelphia. He played college ball at the University of Rhode Island.

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The plan

The plan is for Randolph and Collins to travel to LA over the weekend, take physicals on Monday, and hopefully be in uniform for Monday’s game vs. New Orleans. Mobley and Thomas are expected at a press conference in New York tommorrow afternoon, but probably won’t take physicals until Monday as well.

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How does Zach feel about the trade?

According to his agent, pretty darn good.

“We talked about the trade in the summer and he was excited about it then,” his agent Raymond Brothers said. “We talked about it today and he’s very happy it’s happened. He thinks the Clippers have a good core of players. He’s excited to play with Baron Davis, Chris Kaman and Marcus Camby.”

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What next?

My first question, after staring at the possibility of three front court players –Marcus Camby, Chris Kaman and Zach Randolph — averaging 9.5, 10.8 and 12.5 rebounds a game, respectively, is which of those three starts the game on the bench? Or, if this move is a precursor to another move.

I’ve confirmed that the Knicks did ask for Camby earlier this week; which caused the talks to stall, and which is the reason I wrote a few days ago that it didn’t look like the Clippers would be making any big moves any time soon. However when the Knicks decided that they’d take Thomas instead, the deal got done very quickly.

So, is this a precursor to another move?

From what I’m hearing, No.

A source close to the team told me that the Clippers were “done” and any playing time questions would be decided by Coach Mike Dunleavy, not general manager Mike Dunleavy.

Still, I expect this to be a fluid situation, depending on how the team plays.

In other news, the Clippers play Philly in a few hours and see Elton Brand for the first time since the events of last summer. Wow, doesn’t that seem like a long time ago now.

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