C.J. Wilcox looking forward to playing with Chris Paul

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C.J. Wilcox (left)/photo by Associated Press

It wasn’t surprising to hear C.J. Wilcox talk about playing with point guard Chris Paul after the Clippers on Thursday drafted him with the No. 28 pick in the first round.

“Everyone watches Chris Paul; he’s the best point guard in the game,” said Wilcox, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard out of University of Washington. “He came and worked out with us up in Agoura Hills one time and it was good to see him in person, good to go against him and compete against him.

“I think that helped me get a sense of how he plays in person. I’m really excited. I know he’s really good at finding guys and getting in good positions to succeed. I think that’s going to help me in the long run.”

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Will the Clippers select Michigan’s Mitch McGary on Thursday?

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Mitch McGary

Mitch McGary/photo courtesy of University of Michigan

I’ve seen more than one mock draft predict that the Clippers will select Mitch McGary with their No. 28 pick in the first round of Thursday’s NBA Draft.

These are just guesses, of course, but it’s worth telling you something about him just in case it comes to fruition. McGary – a 6-foot-10 post – averaged 7.5 points and 6.3 rebounds as a freshman for Michigan and was named to the NCAA Final Four all-tournament team.

His sophomore season was hectic, to be sure. He played in just eight games because he had back surgery and averaged 9.5 points and 8.2 rebounds. Then, during the NCAA Tournament – he was not playing – he tested positive for marijuana and was facing a one-year suspension had he stayed at Michigan.

McGary is a big guy at 260 pounds, and could give the Clippers some depth in the post.

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Assistant coach Tyronn Lue accepts job as associate head coach with Cleveland

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Tyronn Lue/Photo courtesy of NBA.com

The way things are going, coach Doc Rivers is going to have to find an all-new staff to assist him next season. With associate head coach Alvin Gentry already having accepted a similar post with the Golden State Warriors, assistant coach Tyronn Lue on Monday accepted the job as associate head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers, according to a report on YahooSports, which cited league sources.

Lue had been an assistant under Rivers for five years, the first four when both were with the Boston Celtics.

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It will be interesting to see what Jared Dudley’s role will be next season

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Jared Dudley

Jared Dudley – Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers

Jared Dudley has the ability to do some things on the basketball court. As recently as the 2011-12 season he averaged 12.9 points and 4.6 rebounds for the Phoenix Suns – both career-highs. But whereas he averaged 31.1 minutes that season, he averaged just 23.4 this past season for the Clippers, when he averaged 6.9 points and 2.2 rebounds. He did shoot a respectable 36 percent (81 of 225) from 3-point range, however, so he does have value.

Dudley is signed for next season for $4,250,000, so the 6-foot-7 small forward will be back unless he is traded. Just 28 – he’ll be 29 in July – Dudley still has several years left to play. It will be interesting to see what his role is for the Clippers in 2014-15.

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Forward Danny Granger still has something to offer Clippers

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Danny Granger

Photo by Associated Press

Danny Granger, a 6-foot-8 small forward, was once a high-scoring player who averaged as many as 25.8 points during the 2008-09 season with the Indiana Pacers. He was nowhere near that player when he signed with the Clippers in early March. Playing for his third team this past season – Toronto and Indiana being the other two – Granger averaged 8.0 points for the Clippers in 12 regular-season games, during which he averaged 16.2 minutes. He averaged only 10.3 minutes and 2.6 points in 13 playoff games.

But it should be noted that at times Granger showed flashes of what made him a fine player who, from the 2006-07 season through 2011-12, averaged 13.9, 19.6, 25.8, 24.1, 20.5 and 18.7 points, respectively.

Since Granger is still just 31, he would be a good guy to keep on the team. He seemed to work well within the team, and appeared to be a good guy in the clubhouse. That he still has the ability to score quick points because of his shooting prowess – he has a career 3-point shooting percentage of 38.1 – makes him a valuable commodity.

Granger has a player option of $1,316,809 for the 2014-15 campaign.

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Glen ‘Big Baby’ Davis made solid contributions to Clippers in 2013-14

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Glen Davis

Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers

Glen “Big Baby” Davis is this big, hulking guy who, even at 6-foot-9, by his own admission plays below the rim. The 289 pounds he carries around has a lot to do with that.

However, make no mistake, Davis can be effective on the basketball court. He can back down an opponent in the paint with ease because of his girth, and he has a nice mid-range jumper. In 23 regular-season games with the Clippers after coming over from Orlando this past season, Davis averaged 4.2 points and 3.0 rebounds.

He shot 48.1 percent from the field, the second-highest mark of his seven-year career. Indeed, Davis can play some back-up post.

He hustles, too. And he doesn’t like to be taken out of a game when he’s on a roll. During one particular game he moaned to coach Doc Rivers a bit too much about just such a thing, and Rivers sent Davis to the locker room for the rest of the game.

Davis, proving his maturity, never put himself in that position again.

As for the playoffs, Davis averaged 3.8 points and 2.8 rebounds while averaging 12.2 minutes in 13 games after averaging 13.4 minutes during the 23 regular-season games. In other words, his numbers weren’t big, but consistent. He was steady, and seemed to mesh well with the second unit.

Davis has a player option for $1,227,985 for next season. He’s a good guy to have around.
Davis’ career averages are 8.7 points and 4.7 rebounds.

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Sterling hearing to determine control of family trust set for July 7

Seeking to push through the $2 billion sale of the Los Angeles Clippers, attorneys for Shelly Sterling filed papers in a downtown court Wednesday, asking a judge to sign off on Sterling’s right to sell the franchise.

Sterling’s attorney Pierce O’Donnell filed a petition early Wednesday asking a judge to confirm that his client is the sole trustee of the Sterling Trust. O’Donnell argues Shelly’s husband Donald Sterling is “mentally incapacitated” and doesn’t have the authority to fight the sale.

Appearing in court to oppose the petition was Donald Sterling’s attorney Bobby Samini, who called assertions his client is mentally incapacitated “ridiculous.”

Just after noon on Wednesday, a judge set a hearing for July 7. NBA commissioner Adam Silver said Sunday that the league will likely vote to approve the sale during a Board of Governors meeting scheduled for July 15. Continue reading

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Darren Collison was a vital part of the Clippers this past season

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Darren Collison

Photo by Associated Press

Reserve guard Darren Collison proved to be a vital part of the Clippers this past season. He not only played with passion, he came through with some big performances when his team really needed them.
For example, he scored 18 points on 7 of 12 shooting in Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals against Oklahoma City that helped his team to a 101-99 come-from-behind victory that knotted the series at two games apiece. Collison, who is 6-foot, also had seven rebounds in that one.

Indeed, Collison – out of UCLA – is a good player to have on your team. He averaged 11.4 points and 3.7 assists on the season, 8.5 and 2.4 during 13 playoff games. He did have some poor games during the post-season, but at 26 years old there is plenty of time for him to improve in that regard.

One of the regular-season statistics that stands out was his 37.6-percent shooting percentage from 3-point range. It was the second-highest of his five-year career – he shot 40 percent in his rookie season – but it should be noted that he took 189 3-point shots this past season compared to just 115 in that 2009-10 rookie campaign. That shows a player who is getting much more comfortable with his long-range shot.

It will be interesting to see what happens with his contract moving forward. He has a player option for next season at $1,985,500.

Collison, by the way, also showed versatility in that of the 80 regular-season games in which he played he started 35 because of injuries to other players.

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Donald Sterling’s statement explaining why he is fighting the NBA

Clippers owner Donald Sterling released a statement through attorney Bobby Samini on Tuesday explaining why he is continuing to fight the sale of his team and pursuing his $1 billion lawsuit against the NBA.

The statement:

WHY I AM FIGHTING THE NBA? THE NBA WANTS TO TAKE AWAY OUR PRIVACY RIGHTS AND FREEDOM OF SPEECH

I was brought up in America and educated to believe that every citizen has a right to privacy and right to freedom of speech. As a lawyer and citizen, I am shocked (but not surprised) that the NBA wants to take away those fundamental rights.

I feel that every American has to protect those rights and that the NBA should not be allowed to take away those rights. I have apologized for my mistakes. My apology is sincere. I want every American to know that I will not give up fighting for those rights.

I also feel that the leadership of the NBA is incompetent, inexperienced and angry. It is clear that they took this opportunity to settle the personal grievances they have harbored against me for years. Continue reading

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Jamal Crawford contributed quite a bit to Clippers, and he’ll be back for more

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Jamal Crawford, Andre Iguodala

Photo by Associated Press

Any time you have a guy coming off the bench who averages more points than three of your starters, that’s a heck of a good thing.

Jamal Crawford was that man for the Clippers this past season. After averaging 16.5 points in 2012-13 in his first season with the club, he came back with an 18.6 scoring average in this just-concluded 2013-14 campaign. Crawford also averaged 3.2 assists, demonstrating he could run the team when Chris Paul was hurt or just not on the floor. Again, a very nice thing to have from a player known mostly as a deadly shooter when he’s hot.

While it’s true that Crawford has never shot for a real high average – he has a career shooting percentage of 41.1 percent – he has the knack for making several 3-pointers in succession from tough angles with players in his face. It’s just the kind of thing that can turn a game around in a hurry.

For example, Blake Griffin told this newspaper toward the end of the season that Crawford is the player teams have to look out for most when he’s hot. Indeed, he is a game-changer.
Crawford shot 41.6 percent (421 of 1,011) overall in 2013-14, 36.1 percent (161 of 446) from 3-point range. For his efforts, he was chosen Sixth Man of the Year for the second time in his career. Oh, and by the way, Crawford also shot 86.6 percent from the free-throw line this past season and has an 85.5-percent percentage over his 14-year career.

Crawford, who battled a calf strain in the latter part of the season, also brings a very strong character to the clubhouse, something of which a team can never have enough.

He’s not perfect, of course. Like all shooters, he gets in slumps and has games where he contributes less than usual. If there is a criticism, it’s that. But you don’t average 18.6 points off the bench by having many poor outings.

Crawford, 34, even seemed to improve his defense, at the behest of coach Doc Rivers.

The best thing of all, Crawford is signed with the Clippers through the 2015-16 season. He is slated to make $5,450,000 in 2014-15.

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