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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.