Summary of today’s deals

Here’s the notebook I just filed:

For once, it wasn’t an injury that took down another player from the Clippers roster.

Monday afternoon, the club waived forward Paul Davis and recently-signed point guard Fred Jones, in an effort to create some roster flexibility before Wednesday, the date on which all players on the roster have their contracts guaranteed for the rest of the season.

After signing Jones last Sunday, the Clippers were at the maximum of 15 players, meaning all 15 contracts would’ve become guaranteed Wednesday. With a rapidly ballooning injury list –seven players are currently out with injuries — Clippers coach and general manager Mike Dunleavy said the club could not assume such risk.

“Had we not had all these injuries, we might’ve done nothing,” Dunleavy said. “But with all the guys out, we just figured this would put us in better position, buy us some time to figure out schedules and such.”

There is a chance one or both of the players waived Monday could be re-signed once they clear waivers on Wednesday afternoon. Of the two, a club source indicated Jones was most likely to return because of the team’s multitude of injuries in the back court.

Baron Davis (tailbone) did not travel with the team on Monday for its three-game road trip and could miss additional time after that. Rookie Mike Taylor (broken thumb) is out at least another six weeks. Jason Hart (elbow) is day-to-day, but doubtful for Tuesday’s game in Dallas.

Jones hurt his right foot in Sunday’s loss to Detroit and was expected to miss a week-10 days, though he said Monday after practice –but before he was waived — that he was going to try and play through the pain.

“Everybody sways on the caution side, but me right now, I feel like I’m one of those old school players that you know you put some ice on it and do what you need to do,” he said. “This is a job I love. Basketball is not just a job to me. I love this. Even when I was at home, I’d sit on the couch and watch games and study games. This is my first love.”

Losing Davis was a bit of a surprise. Davis was the team’s second-round draft choice (34th overall) in the 2006 NBA Draft. While the team remained high on him, Dunleavy said that the rash of injuries necessitated that it create some flexibility on the roster. And Davis, whose contract was not guaranteed until Wednesday, was waived.

“We like Paul, we liked his effort,” Dunleavy said. “We still have interest in him.”

The club could’ve waited until after Tuesday’s game in Dallas to make the cuts, but preferred, out of courtesy, not to bring both players on the trip and then cut them after Tuesday’s game. It also allowed the team to see which other players get waived before Wednesday’s deadline and decide the best course of action.

An hour after waiving Davis and Jones, the club traded a conditional draft pick in the 2015 draft for Denver center Cheikh Samb and cash considerations.

The Nuggets will pay the remaining $418,000 of Samb’s contract this season, meaning the Clippers essentially get a free look at a 7-foot-1 player with good shot-blocking ability and shooting touch.

Samb, 24, was originally drafted by the Lakers in 2006 (51st overall). He was traded to the Pistons, where he appeared in four games. In November, he was sent to the Nuggets as part of the Chauncey Billups-Allen Iverson trade.

Samb has played in six games with the Nuggets before being assigned to the Colorado 14ers of the NBA Development League on Dec. 10. Since then, he’s averaged 12.4 points, 7.1 rebounds and 3.8 blocks in 10 games.

UPDATE: A couple of people have e-mailed about my listing of Wednesday as the deadline contracts become guaranteed. I probably should’ve been more precise. Contracts become guaranteed on Friday. But in order to clear waivers by Friday, a player must be waived by noon (Pacific) on Wednesday. Essentially then, decisions on who stays and who goes must be made by noon on Wednesday. Sorry if there was any confusion, I could’ve been more precise.

The Clippers decided to make their decisions Monday because it’s just not kosher to bring a guy on a road trip and waive him a day into it, then put him on a plane ride home. The Heat did the same thing later in the day when it waived Shaun Livingston before it left town on a seven-game road trip.

They also did it because it allows Fred Jones and Paul Davis to clear waivers by Wednesday afternoon, meaning one or both could be re-signed after that and theoretically back in uniform by the end of the trip.

Just from my own reckoning, that makes a bit more sense since Jones had a foot injury he was nursing. He said Monday he’d try to play through it in Tuesday’s game against Dallas, but it certainly couldn’t hurt to give him a few days to heal up, if indeed the club decides to re-sign him.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Housekeeping on the Samb trade

This should shed a bit of light on the situation. The Clippers are essentially getting Cheikh Samb for free. Denver is paying the remaining salary on his contract this year, which is a little less than $420,000. The conditional pick the Clippers are sending to Denver isn’t until 2015 and is 1-55 protected.

In effect, Samb is a free player for the Clippers right now, while Davis would’ve cost them a roster spot and his remaining salary.

The Clippers will put Samb to work immediately, but not at the expense of promising rookie DeAndre Jordan.

And, more importantly, this has nothing to do with Marcus Camby.

As coach and GM Mike Dunleavy said, while laughing, when we asked about the veracity of reports out of New York linking the Clippers to a strange three-way deal with Portland and the Knicks, “Oh yeah, I’m looking to trade 20 rebound (a night) guys every day.”

Another team source told me that the club has assured Camby not to worry about the recent round of rumors, and that the club values him highly.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

A few points of clarification

After a little bit of checking, I think I can shed a little more light on the events of today.

Basically, today’s moves were made to create a bit of flexibility before cut-down day on Jan. 7.

The Clippers would’ve waited until tommorrow to do it, but it’s just not cool to drag guys out to Dallas, play them in a game when both have some minor dings, and then cut them in the morning.

Also, it gives the Clippers a chance to see who else around the NBA gets cut today and tommorrow and see the best direction to go. That said, it now sounds unlikely the team will sign a new point guard from the group I mentioned earlier (Eddie Gill, Damon Stoudemire, Walker Russell and Troy Hudson) this afternoon.

It is far more likely the team will wait a couple days to evaluate what’s out there.

Fred Jones has 48 hours to clear waivers, then can sign with any team in the league. The Clippers would like to have him back. But they needed to create a little flexibility before the seventh, since they have 15 guys on the roster.

I’m told it’s far more likely Jones will be back with the team than Davis, even though the Clippers like Davis and would like to have kept him around. He just got caught in a numbers game, and on a team where point guards have been dropping like flies.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Busy Day

Wow, it took an hour to get home from Clippers practice, which is apparently as long as it took for the Clippers to waive two guys, trade for another, and decide on who their next point guard might be.

The Clippers waived guard Fred Jones and forward Paul Davis today. The move on Jones was expected, since his contract was non-guaranteed and he injured his right foot in Sunday’s game and was expected to miss 8-10 days.

Jones said Monday that he was going to play through it, put some ice on it, whatever it takes to get back on the court. With contracts becoming guaranteed on January 7 though, that wasn’t a risk the Clippers could take.

Moral of the story: Don’t get hurt right before cut-down day.

As for Davis, I’m mildly surprised because I know the Clippers really like him and his game. He’s just the guy on the team with the non-guaranteed contract, on a team with a bunch of injuries.

Basically, the Clippers had nine healthy guys, meaning everyone has to be able to play a lot. If you’re even a little dinged up, that’s an issue. And if you’re dinged up, with a non-guaranteed contract, that’s a bad combination.

Expect the Clippers to fill those spots rapidly. They went out and traded a conditional second-round pick for Cheikh Samb, a 7-1 center on the Nuggets, and will also discuss signing another point guard.

If they decide to go in that direction, the point guard will likely be one of the guys who tried out for the Suns two weeks ago: Eddie Gill, Walker Russell, Damon Stoudemire or Troy Hudson.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Report out of New York

Just came across a report out of New York linking the Clippers, once again, to trade talks with the Knicks. This time, it’s Marcus Camby as the focus of the trade talks.

Wait, wasn’t it Camby last time as the focus of trade talks?

In the negotiations with the Knicks in the run-up to the Zach Randolph trade, the Knicks repeatedly asked the Clippers for Camby, and the Clippers repeatedly refused. In fact, about a week before the deal was consummated, the talks were essentially put on hold due to New York’s insistence on Camby being included in the deal.

The Clippers really, really like Camby. If anything, his value has increased this season along with the monster numbers he’s been putting up. He’s averaging 18.3 rebounds in his last eight games.

Still, it should be noted that in recent conversations I’ve had with team sources, the impression I had was that everyone involved is hoping the Clippers can use the second-half of this season to build for the future and lay a foundation.

Marcus is 34 and has one year remaining on his contract after this season. With as well as he’s been playing, his professionalism, and his very reasonable salary, he has to be considered the club’s most desirable trade chip.

At this point though, I’m not sure the club wants to part with him. He is a fantastic complement to Zach Randolph, who should be back from his bruised knee in a week or two.

I will do some more specific checking in the next few days to vet this latest rumor. My first reaction though, is that it’s very unsurprising that other teams would value Marcus and want to acquire him.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Baron

Baron Davis missed his second straight game Sunday due to his bruised tailbone, which has been painful since the third game of the season.

Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy didn’t think Davis would make the upcoming three-game road trip, meaning Davis is likely out at least another week.

That would probably be the soonest Davis would come back. Around the locker room, there was a sense he might end up missing a few weeks.

I don’t think Davis is mailing it in for the season though. He was in pretty good spirits when we chatted Sunday, and his agent, Todd Ramasar, was sitting courtside for all of Sunday’s game with the Pistons.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Injury updates on Kaman, Randolph

With an injury list as long as the Clippers has become, it’s hard to know where to begin the latest round of updates.

Center Chris Kaman, who has been out since November 26 with a strained arch in his left foot, is as good a place as any.

Kaman was originally supposed to miss a couple of weeks to let the pain in his foot calm down. A quick check of the calendar shows that timetable has long since been tossed in the garbage can.

Sunday, Kaman said he was going to see a different foot specialist next week and would know more about his potential return date then, but couldn’t say when he’d be back.

“I don’t know what to tell you,” Kaman said. “Sometimes these things take longer than you expect. I thought it’d be something easy, but it’s been nothing but difficult the whole time.”

Kaman said he’d been on a cycle where he worked out on the court one day, did pool work the next, then took the third day off. That was going well until he suffered a little “flare up” this week.

“It sucks that I can’t play. I’ve sat out 16 or 17 games, I don’t know know what it’s up to now,” he said. “I’m tired of sitting out. I’m tired of seeing the team take these losses. We’re so short right now, anything I can do to help, I would, but right now, I can’t physically go out there.”

The news on injured power forward Zach Randolph (bruised knee) was slightly more encouraging, though it’s been determined that Randolph will not make the Clippers upcoming three-game road trip.

Randolph said he’s feeling better from the bruised knee he suffered in a controversial play involving Toronto’s Jake Voskuhl on December 22, but still needed to strengthen his knee before returning to the court.

His feelings regarding the controversial foul –for which Voskuhl received no additional punishment from the league — were still pretty raw.

“I don’t want to get nobody in trouble, but it was blatant you know,” Randolph said. “I was highly upset over it. He really took me out.”

The Clippers sent footage of the incident to the league office, but did not receive a response. Coincidentally, the NBA’s executive vice president for basketball operations, Stu Jackson, was in attendance for Sunday’s game.

When asked about the incident, Jackson said he “vaguely remembered” receiving footage of the play, but needed to review it again in order to accurately comment on it because it happened so long ago.

He said he would review the play under question later Sunday night back at his hotel room and comment after that.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

“Don’t rush back”

Here’s an interesting quote from Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy, when he was asked before Sunday’s game about some of the challenges of managing the team’s ever-changing, or should we say, ever-growing injury list this year:

“I’m not saying that it’s happening to us right now,” Dunleavy said, initially qualifying the statement to come. “But the typical fallout from this kind of deal is that when guys get injured, typically their agents are going to tell them, `Don’t rush back there’s no reason to hurry back. Make sure you’re 110 percent healthy before you come back. ‘ ”

Remember, Dunleavy made sure to qualify that statement up-front. But you have to wonder, if it’s “not happening to us right now,” why would he bring it up unless he was at least a little worried about it happening at some point?

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Fred Jones questionable to return

Clippers point guard Fred Jones suffered a sprained right foot early in the first quarter of today’s game against the Pistons and is questionable to return.

Seriously.

The Clippers have just nine players in uniform today, including Jones, who was officially signed a week ago today. So now they have eight, the league minimum.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Hello Again

Hey folks,

I’m back after a few days off around New Years where I mostly slept and went to movies. Anyway, a little news to report this morning and unfortunately it’s not really the good kind.

Both Baron Davis and Jason Hart have been ruled out of Sunday’s game against Detroit. Baron with the sore tailbone and Jason with the sore right elbow.

Add those to the already full injury list of Chris Kaman, Zach Randolph and Ricky Davis and you’ve got a group that could be a pretty decent starting five. J/K

Anyway, I’ll have more for you starting tommorrow afternoon, but wanted to pass along the updates on Baron and Jason.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email