Clippers sign Fred Jones

Hey guys,

I’m on vacation for a couple days, but I wanted to pass this along from the Clippers, who announced they have signed guard Fred Jones.

A six-year NBA veteran, Jones played 70 games with the Knicks last season, averaging 7.6 points, 2.4 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 25.1 minutes. The Clippers will be the fifth NBA team for Jones, who has appeared in 378 total games and is averaging 7.5 points, 2.2 rebounds and 2.1 assists in his NBA career.

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Contingency plans

The official prognosis isn’t in yet, but the general assumption is that rookie point guard Mike Taylor will miss approximately 4-6 weeks with a broken right hand. Where does that leave the Clippers, who were already thin in the backcourt?

The team has an extra roster spot, but according to a source familiar with the club’s thinking, the most likely course of action is to go with two point guards (Baron Davis and Jason Hart) until Taylor is ready to return or until teams can sign players to 10-day contracts in early January, whichever comes first.

The team is unlikely to bring a player in immediately, because they only have four games the rest of the month after tonight’s game in Milwaukee, and one game in the first week of January.

If the team needs extra help in the backcourt, Eric Gordon and Mardy Collins have experience at point guard.

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Answers Part I

when is ricky davis coming back ? Have the Clippers talked to Jason Williams at all ? Is Baron Davis secretly injured ? hes shooting so horribly.

–I’ll take these one at a time. Ricky is expected back around Christmas, though that is not a firm date and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him out until after New Years. It’s the kind of injury you want to make sure is really healed before you come back, because that was the point of sitting out so long in the first place.

–To my knowledge, the Clippers have not spoken with Jason Williams since he retired before the start of training camp.

–I don’t think Baron is secretly injured, as you put it, but I do think his finger affected him in the early part of the year. I think it affected him more in terms of dribbling than shooting. But the last time I looked at it, the finger looked quite a bit better than before. I’ll ask Baron about it the next time I see him.

What is Baron’s relationship like with Dunleavy? Does Baron respect him? Do they have a friendly relationship like Dunleavy seemed to have with Cassell?

— That’s a hard question to answer because I don’t get to see them behind closed doors. I think coach is close with some players. Actually, I know he was very close with Cuttino Mobley, even after trading him. I don’t think he’s formed that bond with Baron yet, though from what I’ve seen he’s definitely tried.

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Since the Clippers are out of town this week, I figured I’d open the floor up for some questions. Try and have them in by Friday afternoon, though I’ll try and answer them as they come in.

I noticed someone asked about Kaman’s return date…

Last time I asked Mike Dunleavy about it, he said Kaman would likely be out until Christmas. The Clips play Dec. 22 vs. Toronto, then have a long break until Dallas comes to town on December 28. The Clippers will take the 23-25 off, then reconvene the afternoon of the 26th, meaning all the guys will have a chance to go home for Xmas, though most likely they’d have to fly home the night of the 25th to be back in town for practice on the 26th.

All that said, my guess would be the soonest Kaman would be back is the game on the 28th, though it could be the 30th in Sacramento or the 31st against Philadelphia back at Staples. I can’t see him rushing back for the game on the 22nd when there is a six-day break after that. It would be a much better idea to sit out the 22nd and use the extra week to heal.

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Eric Gordon says drug use was a problem for Indiana

Just came across an explosive story in the Indianapolis Star in which Clippers rookie Eric Gordon said that members of Indiana’s basketball team, which he played on last season, used illegal drugs and it caused a vast division within the team.

“Sometimes it felt like it wasn’t even a real basketball team because of all the turmoil that went on,” Gordon told the newspaper. “I was just thinking about that the other day. It was so crazy that all that stuff threw off a good season and made it a waste, basically.
“It was really tough for us to be around each other all the time off the court because we were so separate.”

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Clips win two in a row, Baron Davis pleased (relieved?)

His beard has grown long and shaggy. The clean-cut look Baron Davis brought into the season long since overgrown by a more grizzled look.

These first few months back in his hometown have been tough. A lot tougher than he expected, if we and he are being honest.

“I’m always optimistic, but I think I was too optimistic in the beginning of the season,” Davis said after the Clippers beat Houston 95-82 on Saturday night, marking their first two-game winning streak of the season.

“I just thought things were going to start clicking from the beginning. But missing training camp, with all these new faces, it was tough. For me, it was a humbling experience.”

Keeping the beard trimmed, in other words, was the least of his worries.

After 23 games, two games past a fourth of the NBA season already gone by, the Clippers have just six wins to show for their efforts.

But for the first time, since maybe the beginning of training camp, they have reason for optimism again.

Saturday’s win over Houston was their second in as many nights against one of the NBA’s elite teams. Houston and Portland, whom the Clippers beat in double overtime Friday night up in Portland, were two of only eight teams in the league with at least 15 wins coming into Saturday night.

“You’ve just got to feel your way out of it,” Davis said.

In terms of challenges he’s faced during his career, Davis said the Clippers woeful 4-17 start ranks “right up there” with the toughest situations he’s had to overcome.

“But now … I’ve never been more optimistic than I am now with this team.”

Strong words for a star player who has uttered few of them in the last month or two, preferring to keep quiet until a brighter day, if it ever came.

But with new power forward Zach Randolph turning in his second straight impressive game, Davis’ mood was starting to brighten, even though his face still looked grizzled and worn.

Saturday night Randolph finished with 30 points and 13 rebounds. Add that to Friday’s 38 points and 11 rebounds and you’ve got a dependable, if not dominant low post scorer.

“Zach is as good as advertised,” center Marcus Camby said. “There’s not a shot he can’t make. He’s a real great basketball player.”

Randolph, impervious to the early-season woes his new mates suffered through, didn’t even know it was the Clippers first back-to-back wins of the season.

“Really?” he asked, when a reporter asked for a reaction. “It’s a building block. We’re trying to build. That’s what we got to do every night. Come out and play hard and don’t worry about the offensive end until we get stops.”

Saturday night, that was the key against a Houston team that scored 119 points against Golden State on Friday night and 103 points against the Clippers back on December 3.

The Clippers held Houston to just 34 points in the second half Saturday. Only Yao Ming (24 points) and Tracy McGrady (19 points) finished in double figures.

“Games like this, when we don’t move he ball and move ourselves,” Rockets forward Shane Battier said. “We normally lose.”

Al Thornton scored 26 points for Los Angeles. Camby added 12 points, 13 rebounds and five blocks. Davis had 13 points and nine assists.

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