Clips acquire Alex Acker

The Clippers have agreed to a trade for Detroit guard Alex Acker, a former Pepperdine star.

The deal will be formally announced Monday afternoon. In order to make room for Acker on their roster, the Clippers are expected to waive reserve center Cheikh Samb, who was acquired in a trade with Denver last month.

This is yet another creative deal for the Clippers, who will receive cash considerations from the Pistons that essentially pay for Acker’s salary, and a future second round pick.

Acker is a solid player who hasn’t been able to crack Detroit’s rotation because of veterans like Rip Hamilton and Allen Iverson, and young stars like Rodney Stuckey and Arron Afflalo ahead of him.

According to a source close to the Pistons, Acker’s contract has a team option for next year. Which means that like Samb, the Clippers will be getting a free look at a young player over the final two months of this season.

By making this trade, Detroit avoids paying the luxury tax this season.

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Elgin Baylor suing Clippers, NBA (UPDATED)

Elgin Baylor, the Clippers executive vice president whose 22-year tenure with the club ended in dispute before the season, filed an employment discrimination lawsuit against the NBA, the Clippers, owner Donald Sterling and club president Andy Roeser in Los Angeles Superior Court on Wednesday.

The lawsuit maintains that Baylor was “discriminated against and unceremoniously released from his position with the team on account of his age and his race” and that he was “grossly underpaid during his tenure with the Clippers, never earning more than $350,000 per year, when compared with the compensation scheme for general managers employed by every other team in the NBA.”

When reached on his cellphone Wednesday night, Baylor said that his attorneys had advised him not to speak on the matter until today.

His lawyer, Carl Douglas, said that he had been trying to reach an informal settlement with the Clippers for months, but “those talks proved unsuccessful so we were left with no alternative but to file a lawsuit.”

Asked whether they had hoped to avoid a lawsuit, Douglas said, “Given my knowledge and understanding of the way that the Clipper organization operates, we were always hopeful we could resolve things informally but fully expected we’d be forced to file the lawsuit as we did.”

In a statement from their general counsel Robert H. Platt, the team said it “intends to vigorously defend itself against these false allegations and will prevail when all the facts are heard.”

Platt added that he had not yet seen the complaint, but “I can categorically state that the Clippers always treated Elgin fairly throughout his long tenure with the team. Prior to his decision to leave the team last October, Elgin never raised any claims of unfair treatment.

“It’s hard to believe that he would now make these ridiculous claims after the organization stood by him during 22 years and only three playoff appearances. It would be hard to find any sports team that has demonstrated greater loyalty to its general manager.”

The NBA is named in the lawsuit, according to a fax sent by Douglas on Wednesday evening, as “a joint venturer/partner of condoning, adopting and ratifying this discriminatory practice since the league is fully aware of salaries paid to all of the general managers.”

The Web site TMZ.com reported that in the lawsuit, Baylor said that owner Donald Sterling has a “pervasive and ongoing racist attitude” and alleges that Sterling repeatedly referred to the team as “poor black kids” and “wanted a white coach directing the Clippers.”

Sterling has hired 13 head coaches since buying the Clippers in 1981: three of them (Don Chaney, Alvin Gentry and Dennis Johnson) have been black. Current coach and general manager Mike Dunleavy is white.

In 2006, the U.S. Department of Justice sued Sterling, also a real estate mogul, accusing him of favoring Korean tenants and seeking to exclude blacks from his apartment buildings in Los Angeles County.

In November 2005, U.S. District Judge Dale Fisher ordered Sterling to pay nearly $5 million in fees to plaintiffs attorneys in a lawsuit accusing him of discriminating against black and Latino tenants in buildings he owned in Koreatown neighborhoods.

The case was resolved with an undisclosed financial settlement the judge described as “one of the largest ever obtained in this type of case.”

Two weeks earlier, a jury found in Sterling’s favor in a sexual harassment suit filed by a former property manager.

Baylor, 74, who played 14 seasons with the Lakers, was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1976 and chosen as one of the NBA’s “50 Greatest Players of All Time” during the league’s 50th Anniversary celebration in 1997.

He has been with the Clippers since 1986. He was named the NBA’s Executive of the Year in 2006.

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Elgin Baylor suing Clippers, NBA

Elgin Baylor, the Clippers executive vice president whose 22-year tenure with the club ended in dispute before this season, is holding a press conference Thursday morning to announce the filing of an employment discrimination lawsuit against the NBA, the Clippers, owner Donald Sterling and club president Andy Roeser, according to a fax sent by his lawyer, Carl Douglas on Wednesday evening.

The lawsuit, filed today in L.A. Superior Court, maintains that Baylor was “discriminated against and unceremoniously released from his position with the team on account of his age and his race” and that he was “grossly underpaid during his tenure with the Clippers, never earning more than $350,000 per year, when compared with the compensation scheme for general managers employed by every other team in the NBA.”

When reached on his cellphone Wednesday night, Baylor said that his attorneys had advised him not to speak on the matter until Thursday morning.

Carl Douglas, Baylor’s attorney, said that he had been trying to reach an informal settlement with the Clippers for months, but “those talks proved unsuccessful so we were left with no alternative but to file a lawsuit.”

Asked whether they had hoped to avoid a lawsuit, Douglas said, “Given my knowledge and understanding of the way that the Clipper organization operates, we were always hopeful we could resolve things informally but fully expected we’d be forced to file the lawsuit as we did.”

Roeser said he needed to review the specifics of the case before commenting.

The NBA is named in the lawsuit, according to Douglas’ fax, as “a
joint venturer/partner of condoning, adopting and ratifying this discriminatory practice since the league is fully aware of salaries paid to all of the general managers.”

A report on TMZ.com has further details of the lawsuit, in which Baylor reportedly claims he was told to “induce African American players to join the Clippers, despite the Clippers’ reputation of being unwilling to fairly treat and compensate African American players.”

Baylor also reportedly says the owner, Donald Sterling, has a “pervasive and ongoing racist attitude.”

Douglas said that he did not want to add anything to what he wrote in the fax received Wednesday night, but would elaborate further on Thursday morning.

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Randolph upgraded to questionable

Just got word Zach Randolph has been upgraded to questionable for tonight’s game against Miami.

If he plays, I doubt it would be for very long.

I’d also caution that if he plays, the most important thing to look for will be how his knee feels the next day. The way Zach described this to me, he’s trying to test things out this week.

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Gordon wins Rookie of the Month honors

Eric Gordon earned a very well-deserved Western Conference rookie of the month honor today.

Gordon, who edged out Minnesota’s Kevin Love for the honor, ranked first among rookies in scoring for the month (21.9 ppg), fourth in assists (4.1 apg) and first in minutes (41.1 mpg).
In addition, the first-year guard led all Western Conference rookies in free
throw percentage (.907 %). Gordon scored a career-high 41 points (13-28 FG,
6-6 FT) vs. the Thunder on Jan. 23, the most points ever scored by a
Clippers rookie, besting Al Thornton’s 39-point performance on March 29,
2008.

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Z-Bo will travel

Just caught up with Zach Randolph in the locker room tonight and he said that he’s planning on traveling with the team on its upcoming road trip and could play Monday.

Randolph said that he still has a little pain in his knee (bone bruise), but that he wants to play on it and see how it responds. His return has also been delayed by a bout with the flu.

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Thornton and Gordon picked for rookie-sophomore game

Clippers rookie Eric Gordon and second year forward Al Thornton were selected to play in the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge & Youth Jam February 13 at the All Star Game in Phoenix.

Averaging 17.4 points and 5.3 rebounds per game, Thornton currently ranks second in the NBA amongst second year players in scoring. Gordon is currently ranked fourth among all rookies in scoring, averaging 13.7 points per game, however in 13 games played in January, Gordon has averaged a rookie high 21.5 points in 41.2 minutes played per game.

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