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.
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.
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.
Just talked to a source close to the team who stressed that the team is no more in on AI than they are on many of the other available swingmen. The Clippers have not ruled it out, but the source said the negotiations were not serious at this point in time.
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.
Lisa Dillman of the L.A. Times is reporting that the Clippers are in very serious talks with Allen Iverson. What does that mean for the future? Who knows.
Meanwhile, the Clippers and Lakers will tip in roughly 50 minutes in Las Vegas at the Thomas and Mack Center. Find out how to watch here.
In other news, here’s a solid feature on Blake Griffin from Steve Carp of the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Former Celtics and Bucks assistant Tony Brown has been named an assistant on head coach Mike Dunleavy’s staff.
Brown is now one of three assistants certain to be on the bench next season, along with head assistant Kim Hughes and new assistant Fred Vinson (who has been with the team in previous years in a different capacity).
As to assistants from last year: Jim Eyen’s gone to Sacramento, Neal Meyer is a Cleveland summer league coach and a likely assistant on their staff next season, and Rory White is…well we don’t know what’s up with Rory White. We’ll see. But either White will come back or Dunleavy will find another assistant, you can be sure.
An interesting internet nugget on Brown: a Bucks blog reports him as saying, “I’m just totally embarrassed to be a Bucks coach right now,” at halftime of a December 2007 game.