Dunleavy after the game

Here’s what coach Mike Dunleavy had to say after the Clippers 99-92 loss to the Lakers Tuesday night:

“We’re not looking for any moral victories, I’m glad our guys played hard all the way through. There were some times during the game where they could have folded and could have left it right open. Instead we kept coming back and making some plays.”

On playing the Lakers:

“Taking them on any night is a tough challenge. They put a lot of pressure on you.”

On Blake Griffin’s injury:

“He didn’t die. He’ll be back in six weeks. He’s in the locker room, we saw him, we put our arms around him, we hugged and we kissed him and he’s going to be back.

“The kid’s going to be fine. Yeah, we’re disappointed he’s out, but it is what it is.”

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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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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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Z-Bo trade should be completed by Thursday

The Zach Randolph-Quentin Richardson trade hasn’t been completed just yet, due to “timing,” according to a source. This has a lot to do with the reported trade involving Shawn Marion between Dallas-Toronto-Memphis. Basically, Memphis has cap space to help facilitate the deal, but will lose that space when Randolph goes onto their books. Hence the “timing.”

My source indicated the deal should go through by tomorrow at the latest however.

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Clippers trade Randolph for Richardson

Make room for Blake Griffin.

On Wednesday the Clippers agreed to a deal that would send starting power forward Zach Randolph to the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for guard Quentin Richardson, according to an NBA source with knowledge of the deal, thus clearing the way for Griffin, the No. 1 overall pick in last week’s draft.

Due to league rules, the deal can not be completed until next week.

Randolph was the team’s leading scorer and second-leading rebounder last season. He averaged 20.9 points and 9.4 rebounds in 39 games after coming over in a midseason trade with the New York Knicks.

When the Clippers won the lottery however, there was no longer room in the frontcourt for Randolph, Chris Kaman, Marcus Camby and now Griffin, a 6-foot-10 power forward.

The deal also creates an interesting homecoming with Richardson, who played four seasons with the Clippers from 2000-04, before signing a rich free agent contract with the Phoenix Suns.

Richardson averaged 10.2 points for the New York Knicks last season, but was shipped to Memphis in a draft-day trade for Darko Milicic.

The Clippers also benefit financially from the deal, getting out from under the $33 million owed to Randolph over the next two seasons, while taking back only Richardson’s $9 million salary next season.

Because of the difference in Randolph and Richardson’s salaries, the Clippers also receive an $8 million trade exception, which they can use later.

Randolph’s agent Raymond Brothers said that his client was disappointed to learn of the deal, because he felt he had found an NBA home with the Clippers.

“It’s tough getting traded but that’s part of this business,” Brothers said. “It’s just unfortunate because Zach really felt comfortable in L.A. and felt like he’d found a home. He wanted me to thank the Clippers and (owner) Donald Sterling for the opportunity to play with them for a year.”

The two teams had discussed a deal involving Randolph on draft day,
but it fizzled, a league source said, because the Grizzlies insisted
on the Clippers taking either Marko Jaric or Greg Buckner along with
Milicic.

The Clippers insisted on taking back a player with an expiring
contract, in order to justify parting ways with a proven frontcourt
player like Randolph.

The Clippers also weren’t completely sold on adding Milicic, the
former No. 2 overall pick who has had an underwhelming NBA career,
because it would’ve added another player to an already-crowded
frontcourt.

When the Grizzlies dealt Milicic for Richardson, it reignited trade
talks.

Richardson had the best season of his career playing for the Clippers
in 2003-04, when he averaged 17.2 points and 6.4 rebounds.

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Camby weighs in

I text messaged Baron Davis, Al Thornton and Marcus Camby tonight to get a bit of reaction to the Clippers draft. Only Camby wrote back, which on the surface is a little surprising because Blake Griffin’s presence is one of the main reasons why Camby’s name keeps popping up in trade rumors. But if you know Camby — as stand-up a guy as there is in the NBA — it’s not all that surprising.

Anyway, here’s what he had to say:

“I think Blake is a tremendous young talent with a great future,” Camby wrote. “I feel he can really help this team and organization.”

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Hello again

Hey Clipsnation,

Been a while since I posted in this neck of the woods. I’ve been off with the Lakers for the last couple months. But I wanted to weigh in on Saturday’s open workout for Blake Griffin.

If you’ve been around the NBA a while, the fact that Griffin’s workout is open is pretty unbelievable. Last year, for example, the Clippers had a clandestine workout with O.J. Mayo, and some closed workouts for other potential picks with their No. 7 overall choice (Eric Gordon).

But it’s pretty easy to read between the lines here. The Clippers are taking Blake Griffin. No need to be coy here. They’re not going to do something weird, they’re not going to screw this up, they’re taking Blake Griffin and don’t mind who knows it. … Particularly their fan base, which needed some good news after a 19-win season.

The scheduling of the workout is no coincidence either. Not only is the workout open to the media, there will be a shuttle running from the Lakers practice facility ready to take any curious local or national media in town for the NBA Finals over to the Clippers pristine new facility in Playa Vista.

For appearances’ sake, no one within the organization will absolutely confirm that Griffin is the choice, unlike the NFL the NBA doesn’t really like it when teams choose a player before the draft, but short of the Bulls offering up Derek Rose or the Hornets making Chris Paul available, it think it’s pretty fair to assume the Clippers will be picking the athletic power forward from Oklahoma.

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Baron Davis Letter to the Fans

From his Yardbarker blog:

Dear Fans,

Having recently had some time to reflect I wanted drop you all a quick note.

There’s an age old Chinese proverb which says:

“Words are just words and without heart they have no meaning.”

Today, I’d like to use this space to speak to you from my heart.

First off, I want to say how much our entire organization appreciates the way our fans stuck with us through what was a very difficult season. We can spend time referring to all the injuries, but as far as you’re all concerned, there can be no easy excuse for the tough year we had. I want you to know that we truly appreciate all of your support and thank you for hangin with us.

Secondly, I want to make sure you know that EVERYONE at the Clippers is committed to doing whatever is necessary to make sure that you don’t have to deal with another year like the one that just ended. I’m dedicating myself to that goal, and I know my teammates will do the same.

There are probably those who will read this and toss it off as just words, but I can only write these words with hope that the feeling and sentiment is conveyed.

Whether you believe us or not, please know that we’re all going to work hard to improve everyday and be a far better team than we showed this past season.

Stick with us, and trust it’ll be worth it.

Sincerely,
Baron Davis

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Why Camby will be in the lineup

I’m sure a lot of people are wondering whether the Clippers might just sit some of their veterans the last 12 games of the year and play the kids. But don’t expect Marcus Camby to sit much. Camby needs to play in 10 of the Clippers final 12 games to reach 65 games played, which gives him his full contract bonuses for games played –$2 million — and makes him for him to eligible for all his other bonuses which total $1,787,500. Some of those are for an All-Star appearance, winning a championship, etc. But other benchmarks are averaging 10 points or 10 rebounds or two blocks a game.

Either way, it’s safe to say Camby has plenty of reason to keep playing in these last few games.

He gets $500,000 for every benchmark of games played he hits, starting at 50. So $500,000 for 50 games played, another 500k for 55, another 500k for 60 and another 500k for 65 games.

But in order to earn the last approximately $1.78 million in incentives he must play 65 games and average at least 10 points, 10 rebounds and 2.0 blocks. If he fails to hit any of those marks, he gets none of the extra incentives. Like he could average 10 and 10, but if he ends up averaging 1.99 blocks, no dice.

Last year he hit the rebounding and blocks numbers, but averaged just 9.1 points a game.

This is not exactly a great set-up for a veteran player, but is obviously a great deal for the team. Not only do they get a veteran guy with incentives to keep playing the final few games of a season that’s been over since December, but they get a veteran guy who has to keep playing well in order to hit his contract incentives.

That said, it should be noted that if the Clippers wanted to skimp and save on paying out those incentives, they could’ve just held Camby out or limited his minutes. In speaking with a front office source on Monday, I was told they are absolutely not planning on doing that.

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Marcus Camby

Had a chance to catch up with Marcus a bit tonight, get a bit more detail on his head injury and feel him out on the trade rumors that have swirled around him for months and will likely reignite over the summer.

Marcus made a surprise appearance in tonight’s game against the Cavs, meaning the Clippers got to see what Camby, Zach Randolph and Chris Kaman could do together for the first time since a brief stint on November 26.

In some ways it was surprising, since Marcus had had some complications after his ear drum popped on a flight just before the All Star break. But he felt better today so he decided to give it a go. He described the problem as something more akin to vertigo than pain or pressure. It throws off his equilibrium and makes him feel a bit woozy.

He’ll be examined again on Thursday and his status for Saturday’s game in Denver will be determined then, because it’s not known whether he can fly yet. This will be his first trip back to Denver since his trade over the summer and he’s got a few events planned, starting with an appearance at a local Boys and Girls club on Friday, so don’t be too surprised if he makes the trip.

As for his mental state after hearing his name in trade rumors before the trading deadline, Marcus seemed just fine.

If anything, he feels more wanted than ever. By the Clippers and all the playoff contenders who tried to pry him away in February, and will likely try again over the summer.

“Yeah,” he said smiling. “The last couple of teams we’ve played, I’ve been having some great conversations with the San Antonio players, the Cleveland players. LeBron was talking to me the whole night.

“It’s good to be where you’re wanted. Mike (Dunleavy) and Neil (Olshey) and those guys, Andy (Roeser), have really stressed that they want me around here so I can only just take their word right now.”

Despite the overtures from the Cavs and Spurs, Camby said he can still see a future for himself in Los Angeles.

“Just having Chris (Kaman) back today and seeing the way we looked when we’re healthy it’s definitely promising,” he said. “We gave them a tough fight and we felt we should’ve won the ball game, but we got a lot of pride in how we played.

“That’s what we want to do with the rest of the game we got, try to get as many wins as we can and build momentum going into training camp.”

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