The Clippers’ musical chair saga among backup guards continued Thursday.
Darius Morris was re-signed to a second 10-day contract and Maalik Wayns was waived for the second time in two weeks.
Morris has appeared in three games since his first signing on Jan. 6. Wayns, who missed the first 33 games of the season after undergoing surgery to repair torn meniscus in his knee, had appeared in two games.
It’s official: The Clippers signed veteran forward Hedo Turkoglu Thursday after doing enough to impress Coach Doc Rivers in a workout last week.
The 34-year-old Turkoglu last played for Orlando but hit a bump in his career last season when he was suspended for 20 games for testing positive for a banned substance.
Rivers said that signing Turkoglu doesn’t necessarily reflect the Clippers are signing players for a certain need other than finding the best players available.
“He’s another shooter,” Rivers said. “Sometimes you don’t bring in a guy because someone else is not doing something, you bring a guy in because he does something that our other guys do as well. He’s another shooter, he can space the floor, he’s very skilled and we’d like to take advantage of that.”
In his 13-year career, Turkolgu has averaged 11.9 points and 4.2 rebounds per game and is a 38.2 percent 3-point shooter. He joins the team today in New York, where the Clippers start a seven-game road trip.
Before the game, Clippers coach Doc Rivers and Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle took time to marvel at Dirk Nowitzki, who’s avering 21.2 points and 5.8 rebounds in his 15 th NBA season.
“He’s just more skilled than everyone,” Rivers said. “It almost comes down to that with him. He’s 7 feet tall, he’s maybe the best shooter in the league if not top 5, still, and at that size, he’s very difficult to guard.
“As a staff, you’re sitting around, you concoct all these ways that don’t work to try to guard him. It’s amazing how many different ways I’ve seen him guarded.”
Carlisle was asked how Nowitzki has been able to return to form after missing the first 27 games last season due to knee surgery.
“Never underestimate greatness at any age,” Carlisle said. “And 35 ain’t that old. I’ve had a lot of guys, Reggie Miller playing when he was 39, his last game was a playoff game against Detroit and he had 26 points and he decided to call it quits. He could have easily played two or three more years.
“I’ve been lucky, I’ve had some guys that have been really terrific players – I had Reggie Miller, Ben Wallace became a great player in Detroit, (Chauncey) Billups was a great player and great clutch player, Jason Kidd played ’til he was 40 years old and Dirk’s the best of the best within that group, and they’re all tremendous.”
When Clippers coach Doc Rivers said the signing of veteran forward Hedo Turkoglu is imminent, he also admitted to revealing one of the league’s worst-kept secrets.
“How do you pronounce his name?,” Rivers asked with a smile. “Because I may have to get used to that.”
Turkoglu has apparently passed enough informal entry tests and is a phyusical exam away from signing. Rivers said that Turkoglu’s 20-game suspension for banned substances was among the topics that were covered in the vetting.
“It’s no concern now for me,” Rivers said of the suspension. “He’s going to do his physicals whenever we finally get all the stuff done but we do anticipate signing him. At least we hope. Nothing’s official til it’s official. I usually don’t say stuff but I think everyone pretty much knows.
“You always address (all issues) when you bring guys in and you talk to them. You talk to them about anything that’s happened in his past, not only just that, but he was in Orlando and didn’t play. Every guy you bring in, that’s nothing new.”
Rivers added that if he’s signed, Turkoglu would be available to join the club for their seven-game East Coast road trip that begins Friday in New York. He’s confident Turkoglu will fit in with the club.
“Yeah, you never know how (locker room chemistry) goes,” Rivers said. “I think with the veterans it usually goes pretty well. Veterans are pretty easy to fit in in the locker room. Young guys for the most part don’t know what to do in the locker room. I don’t really have a concern when you bring veterans in.”
Veteran forward Hedo Turkoglu worked out for the Clippers on Thursday, but Rivers said that no signing is imminent.
“It was good. He made shots from everywhere,” Rivers said. “He looked good, it was a good workout, but we’re not doing anything anytime soon. But he did look good.”
Rivers refused to comment on speculation the Clippers might make a bid to sign former Lakers center Andrew Bynum, who was traded by Cleveland to Chicago and then cut the next day.
“I won’t say. Playing poker right now,” Rivers said. “We’ve had internal discussions about everyone.
“We do talk about everyone. I like our team, though. I tread very cautiously with change.”
It turns out that J.J. Redick, back for the Clippers Friday night after missing 21 games, could have come back a game sooner.
Coach Doc Rivers seemed to wish he had given the green light to Redick to play on Wednesday against Boston, when the Clippers’ bench scored only 12 points (seven for Willie Green, five for Matt Barnes).
With Redick back in the starting lineup, Jamal Crawford and his 16.9-point scoring average can bolster the bench.
“He may have been able to play against Boston, but we went the extra practice with him,” Rivers said. “Honestly, the thing that convinced me . . . but the game the other night and the second unit’s inability to score, let’s get Jamal back in that group as soon as we can.”
Which is fine with Crawford.
“Yeah, you know me, I’m a team player,” Crawford said. “I’ve been Sixth Man (of the Year), I’m comfortable in that position, starting, as long as we’re winning I’m fine either way.”
Redick is finally healed after breaking a bone in his hand and partially tearing a ligament.
“You never know until the day of I guess, but Tuesday when I was able to go through the full practice I figured Friday would be a decent shot if I continued to progress,” Redick said. “There’s no pain. The only issue is just a little stiffness just from being casted for three weeks. I don’t feel things when I shoot or dribble or things like that. My extremes in terms of flexibility are the same as my left hand. I’m good to go. I wouldn’t be playing if I wasn’t.”