Mike Taylor waived

The Clippers announced today that they have waived point guard Mike Taylor.
Boy, did Taylor’s performance in Las Vegas hurt him, as the 23-year-old was being looked at by the front office as a possible primary backup to Baron Davis, where he would’ve likely gotten major burn this season.
Then Taylor posted horrendous stats in five summer league games and the Clippers moved to get Sebastian Telfair from Minnesota, making Taylor the No. 3 point.
This move will probably lead to speculation that Ramon Sessions will receive an offer from the Clips, as has been rumored today, and it certainly could, but it’s not a major indicator just yet.
Taylor was a high-risk, high-reward type of guy, and the Clippers decided the risk wasn’t worth the reward anymore, and waived his non-guaranteed contract.

The Clippers roster as it stands today:

PG: Baron Davis/Sebastian Telfair
SG: Eric Gordon/Ricky Davis/Mardy Collins (could also play the 1 or 3)
SF: Al Thornton/Steve Novak (who has not signed his QO but can be expected to)
PF: Blake Griffin/Craig Smith/Mark Madsen
C: Chris Kaman/Marcus Camby/DeAndre Jordan

That’s 13 guys, which, given Mike Dunleavy’s penchant for carrying only 14, leaves one roster spot open. Of course, it’s possible that both Novak and Madsen won’t break camp with the team.
Where are the weak spots on that team? Well, it’s certainly in need of a third-string point, but Collins can fill that position in a pinch. Other than that, with only Ricky Davis coming off the bench to fill the swingman 2/3 spot, I’d say that’s a need as well.

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Where would Sessions fit?

The Clippers rumored interest in Milwaukee restricted free agent Ramon Sessions is real. The urgency of signing the former D-Leaguer has dimmed a bit after last weeks’ trade for Sebastian Telfair.

The Clippers felt strongly they needed a veteran point guard to back up Baron Davis. Last year they hoped Jason Hart could play that role, but that clearly didn’t work out. Hart ended the season on the Nuggets bench.

Second-year man Mike Taylor was pressed into early duty and was showing signs of improvement before a thumb injury cost him two months of the season. The Clippers are still high on him, but don’t want to rush his development by forcing him into the primary back-up role.

The team still likes Sessions, but bought itself some serious leverage by acquiring Telfair.

Telfair is a proven commodity in the league and the Clippers feel fine with him as their No. 2 PG. His contract is also very tradeable. It doesn’t hurt that he’s young with room to grow.

So what would happen if Clippers signed Sessions? Would they carry four PGs? For now the team is taking a “cross-those-bridges-when-they-come-to-them” attitude.

I was also told not to go too far down line with these hypothetical questions as negotiations with Sessions aren’t past “50-yard-line” yet.

Also: Sessions is hardly the only backcourt player Clippers have contacted this offseason. One source said the team has put feelers out to just about every combo-guard on the market.

One other housekeeping note: The Clippers still have a qualifying offer out to restricted free agent sharp-shooter Steve Novak.

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Morning briefing

It appears Rory White is out as an assistant with the Clips, as the NBDL’s Dakota Wizards have hired him to be their head coach.
This creates an opening along the bench for Mike Dunleavy, who currently lists Kim Hughes, Tony Brown, and Fred Vinson as assistants. The Clippers have traditionally gone with at least four. Quite a turnaround from last year’s staff, as only Hughes and Vinson will return and Jim Eyen (Sacramento), Neal Meyer (Cleveland), and White will depart. Meyer has not officially been added to the Cavs’ bench, but he has been taken off the Clippers’ assistant list.

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Notes from the Telfair/Smith/Madsen presser

Just got back from the presser/media availability held at the Clippers practice facility in Playa Vista. Here’s a few notes:

-Craig Smith went first, dressed snazzily in a sweater-over-a-shirt, and certainly held his own in talking to the media. He seemed genuinely excited to be back home in LA and noted that he has had more than 150 calls and texts from family and friends since the trade.

-Sebastian Telfair was second to go in front of the camera, dressed in a red shirt, blue pants, and white undershirt. He definitely didn’t pull a Blake Griffin, as a fellow reporter alluded to. Telfair said all the right things.

-Besides Mike Dunleavy mistakingly calling Craig Smith “Chris,” he said something else interesting. Dunleavy said that he had reached out to the Wolves on draft night about Telfair after they took Rubio and Flynn, and had not thought about Smith at first.

-Mark Madsen showcased his hearty laugh often, showing exactly why he’s managed to stick around in the league for 10 years, and seemed to be a very likable guy that knows his role.

-The players then dressed in their jerseys and took photos for NBA.com. Smith’s jumper looked impressive while they waited.

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Clips get Telfair, Smith from Wolves for Q-Rich

The Clippers traded Quentin Richardson to the Timberwolves today for Sebastian Telfair, Craig Smith, and Mark Madsen.
Richardson had just been acquired in a deal with the Memphis Grizzlies last week for Zach Randolph, but he will now take his expiring contract to Minnesota.
In exchange, the Clips get two solid reserves and that archetypal “glue guy.”
“We felt like Q helped us at 1 spot,” assistant general manager Neil Olshey said. “But we added multiple reserves for him. What this trade does is solidify the backup spots.”
Smith, a power forward entering his fourth season, has been an efficient player in the NBA. He averaged 10.1 points in fewer than 20 minutes per game for the Wolves last season. His PER (Player Efficiency Rating) was an exceedingly high 17.01 for a backup. By comparison, Zach Randolph’s was 19.72 and Richardson’s was 11.62. Smith also lit up the Clippers for 20 points on 9-of-14 shooting in a January contest.
“He’s the type of guy guys like playing with because he knows who he is as an offensive player and he flourishes in that role,” Olshey said.
Telfair, a highly-touted point guard out of Brooklyn, New York, never lived up his phenom expectations but has turned into a viable backup at the 1. Still only 24 years old, he averaged 9.8 points and 4.6 assists per game last season while starting 43 of 75 games. With the Wolves selecting both Ricky Rubio and Jonny Flynn in the first round of the June draft and Flynn lighting it up, Telfair became expendable.
Olshey: “With Sebastian, we get a solid backup point guard who is a great penetrator and very quick.”
Madsen will hardly play with the Clippers but was a necessary piece to make the money work from end to end. He just scored just six points for the Wolves last season in 19 games, but has always been ultra-popular to fans and teammates alike.
“Mark is a great person, and character-wise, he’ll be great in the locker room,” Olshey said.
Both Smith and Madsen have expiring contracts, while Telfair has a $2.7 million player option for 2010-11.

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Clippers fall to Grizz

The final score was 85-68, and it wasn’t pretty. With Eric Gordon out with a sore right now, the Clips didn’t have much offense, as only Blake Griffin (18 points on 8-of-20 shooting) and Nik Caner-Medley (who scored 15 and seven of the game’s first eight) reached double-figures. Full recap and boxscore here.

Where was DeAndre Jordan?

No, really. 28 minutes, but only six rebounds and two points? The second-year man definitely suffered through some growing pains against young Memphis center Hasheem Thabeet, the No. 2 pick in this year’s draft. Jordan, who turns 21 on Tuesday, also fouled out and committed five turnovers.

In other news, it looks like Marcellus Kemp has been dropped from the roster and replaced by former University of San Diego forward Corey Belser, who was at the mini-camp.

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Clippers about to tip off in Vegas

Against the Hasheem Thabeet-led Grizzlies. The Clips have won their first two summer league games, 93-82 over the Lakers and 88-86 over the Hornets. After taking yesterday off, Blake Griffin and co. will play the Grizz, who won their first game by 29 points.

Here’s what Memphis SL head coach David Joerger had to say about the Blake Griffin vs. Darrell Arthur matchup. Arthur averaged 19 minutes a game for Memphis last season.

“They are very similar. They are both active, both athletic. They both have high motors. Darrell played pretty well against him when they were in college. Darrell is our go to guy with this group, so we are going to need to go at Griffin not just defensively, but also offensively because he is our go to guy on offense for this team.”

Arthur will be the best big Griffin has faced in Vegas. Other players of note on the Memphis roster: Sam Young, DeMarre Carroll, and former Clipper Daniel Ewing.

Updates to come.

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AI update

I’ve confirmed the Clippers interest in Allen Iverson is mutual, but it’s hard to say who is more into who. lverson clearly needs a job and isn’t hurt at all by his name being linked to several franchises: Miami, Memphis and now the Clippers.

The Clippers are intrigued by the idea, but I’m told by a team source they are intrigued by several players right now. On the wish list before next season is adding another big (to replace Brian Skinner) and another perimeter player. The team still has it’s MLE, it’s bi-annual exception, veteran minimums and a $7.3 million trade exception once the Zach Randolph trade is finalized.

Which of these options it uses to sign those two players is still to be determined. Iverson fits the “perimeter player” job description, but the team is still formulating its plans.

Of particular concern is how adding an Iverson to the mix affects the development of shooting guard Eric Gordon, who blossomed in the second half of last season.

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Griffin’s final line

In 29 minutes, Blake Griffin had 27 points on 11-of-15 shooting and 12 rebounds. He also committed five turnovers and four fouls, but a solid debut nonetheless. Interestingly, he was listed as the center to start the game, although he moved back to the 4 when DeAndre Jordan came in.

Oh, and the Clippers won, 93-82. Full boxscore here.

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