Clippers recall Branden Dawson, do not retain Alex Stepheson

Branden Dawson

Branden Dawson/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers


The Clippers recalled power forward Branden Dawson from the Erie BayHawks of the NBA Development League. Dawson played six games for the BayHawks and averaged 19.2 points, 9.2 rebounds, 2.2 steals and 1.2 blocks in 31.3 minutes.

It was Dawson’s fourth D-League assignment this season.

Also, the second 10-day contract of power forward Alex Stepheson expired on Saturday and coach Doc Rivers said he will not be retained. Stepheson, out of Harvard-Westlake High, played a total of 12 minutes in four games for the Clippers.


Clippers sign forward Alex Stepheson to second 10-day contract

Alex Stepheson/Photo by Otto Kitsinger, Getty Images


The Clippers on Wednesday announced they have signed forward Alex Stepheson to a second 10-day contract.

Stepheson, out of Harvard-Westlake High, played in two games during his first contract, playing a total of nine minutes and scoring two points with two rebounds and a block.

Stepheson this season made the D-League All-Star team while playing for the Iowa Energy.

Doc Rivers interested in acquiring player, ‘If it’s the right guy’

Doc Rivers/AP photo by Mark J. Terrill


With buyouts currently in the fold, Clippers coach Doc Rivers on Sunday at practice was asked if he’s interested in adding a player.

“We’re always interested, if it’s the right guy,” he said…

Asked what type of player he’d like to sign – a big, a guard – Rivers was non-committal.

“I don’t even know right now, honestly,” he said. “I like our team. If we went into the playoffs with what we have, I’m very happy.”

Reserve guard Austin Rivers (fractured left hand) told reporters he expects to be back Wednesday when the Clippers host Oklahoma City. But the return of power forward Blake Griffin (fractured right hand) remains up in the air.

Rivers said he didn’t know if he’ll sign forward Alex Stepheson to a second 10-day contract. He signed his first Feb. 20.

Doc Rivers said he now knows that dancing is ‘not a racial thing’

Cole Aldrich

Alex Stepheson, above, and Cole Aldrich (top right)/Stepheson photo by Otto Kitsinger, Getty Images


The Clippers have this thing where the last player in the locker room after a victory has to dance in the Soul Train line. Although Alex Stepheson was not the last man in after Monday’s 124-84 victory over Phoenix, he was nevertheless coerced into dancing because the 28-year-old out of Harvard Westlake High scored his first NBA points late in the game.

During Wednesday’s pre-game news conference ahead of his team’s game against the Denver Nuggets, coach Doc Rivers said Cole Aldrich was the worst dancer he’d ever seen, but that Stepheson was not far behind.

Then this.

“We now know it’s not a racial thing,” Rivers said, drawing a lot of laughter from reporters.

Aldrich is white, Stepheson is African-American.

“It was bad,” Rivers said of Stepheson’s dance. “Maybe it’s a height thing. If you’re over 6-9, you just can’t dance. That might be it.”

Aldrich is 6-foot-11. Stepheson, who is on a 10-day contract, is 6-10.

Alex Stepheson stoked to score first NBA points in Clippers’ win

Alex Stepheson/Photo by Otto Kitsinger, Getty Images


Alex Stepheson was signed Saturday by the Clippers to a 10-day contract. The power forward out of Harvard-Westlake High got into Saturday’s loss to the Warriors, but did not score.

Stepheson played seven minutes in Monday’s 124-84 blowout of the Phoenix Suns and with 3:51 to play in the game, he scored his first two NBA points on a layup.

Stepheson, 28, was an All-Star this season in the D-League and had also played professionally overseas. But again, he had never scored points in an NBA game, so he was stoked about that.

“I was so in the moment, I didn’t even realize I scored my first basket,” he said. “I was just thinking, ‘Get back on defense, get back on defense.’ After the game, the coaches and the guys were like, ‘You scored your first basket’ and made me dance and do all this stuff that showed me that I was part of the team.”

Harvard Westlake’s Alex Stepheson thrilled go get first NBA minutes with Clippers

Alex Stepheson/Photo by Otto Kitsinger, Getty Images


Alex Stepheson began is college career at North Carolina and finished up at USC in the 2010-11 season. But other than exhibitions, Stepheson had never played a minute in an NBA game.

The Harvard-Westlake High graduate finally got that chance with the Clippers on Saturday as he played one minute and 39 seconds of the Clippers’ 115-112 loss to the Golden State Warriors after the Clippers officially announced the signing of the 6-foot-10 power forward to a 10-day contract earlier in the day.

Stepheson, who this season made the Developmental League All-Star team while playing for the Iowa Energy, spoke to reporters before the game. He said he was somewhat stunned at the promotion.

“I was atually in practice in Westchester (New York) about the play the Westchester Knicks and coach Bob (Donewald Jr.) just came in the middle of practice and said, ‘We’ve got an announcement. Stepheson got called up to the Clippers and he’s gotta to out there right now.’

“So it was a bit of a big surprise, but we were all really excited and I was grateful.”

Stepheson, 28, played in 31 games for the Energy – all starts – and averaged 15.9 points, a league-high 13.8 rebounds and 1.3 blocks. He has also played professionally in Greece, Slovania and Turkey.

Clippers coach Doc Rivers, also speaking before Saturday’s game, said he liked what he’d seen on film of Stepheson..

“I just liked his size,” Rivers said. “I like that he has the gift of being a big that plays with energy. I’ve always thought that’s a skill that people discount.”

Stepheson said all the right things Saturday. He was asked if he grew up as a Clippers or Lakers fan.

“I was always a Clippers guy,” he said.

One reporter replied to him, “Good answer.” Stepheson laughed.

He admitted he had a few butterflies.

“I’m excited,” he said. “I’m a little bit nervous. I think basketball-wise, I kind of know what I can do and can’t do, so I don’t think I’m going to be too nervous on the basketball court.

“Just being out there playing for the Clippers and stuff like that, man, it’s pretty big.”

Stepheson was on the court when the reserves almost brought the Clippers all the way back back from what was a 16-point deficit with 2:27 to play. He did not take a shot, but had one big defensive rebound.