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.

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.

Baron Davis

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.

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.”

Hello again

Hey all, been away for a bit and these blogs may not be as frequent due to a change in my role, but whenever I can I will try and update you on the Clippers. I had a chance to talk with several of the guys tonight and will update you on things later tonight. Some pretty interesting stuff from Al Thornton and Marcus Camby…

Clippers expected to buyout Jason Hart

I just got a tip from my good friend Chris Tomasson of what used to be known as the Rocky Mountain News (it published its final edition Friday) that the Nuggets are expected to sign Clippers guard Jason Hart once he clears waivers on Tuesday.

The Clippers would not confirm that Hart is being bought out, but a team source acknowledged that it was in the process of being completed.

Just for some background, Tomasson is one of the best NBA beat writers around and has been for a number of years, dating back to his days covering the Cavs. All of us are still in a bit of shock that the Rocky is out of commission. The news came down suddenly Thursday. But keep an eye on Chris’ posts on various Denver-based sites over the next couple of weeks until some other fortunate paper snaps him up.