SAN DIEGO – 03/18/06 – ©DAILY BREEZE PHOTO: SCOTT VARLEY — UCLA vs. Alabama in the 2nd round of the NCAA tournament at Cox Arena. UCLA won 62-59. Jordan Farmar drives to the basket in the 2nd half.
With the Clippers signing of free agent Jordan Farmar, who spent last season with city rival the Los Angeles Lakers (including a stint in 2006-10), the obvious was there: Farmar would be staying in L.A., but in a different uniform.
But Farmar’s choice to stay close to home went deeper then leaving a rebuilding team to a legitimate contender.
“It’s huge, I mean Los Angeles is really special to me. I get a chance to live in my house and be around my friends and family and see my kids grow up,” said Farmar, who went to Taft and UCLA. “Those are all the things that are important to me outside of basketball.”
The Clippers were able to capitalize on the Lakers focusing their attention on luring superstar free agents LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony to L.A.
“It would’ve been an easy decision if the Lakers said, ‘We want to make you a point guard and offer you ‘X, Y and Z and we would love to have you here,’” Farmar told the L.A. Daily News’ Mark Medina. “But those weren’t the conversations going back and forth. So it wasn’t a choice for me to make.”
The Lakers’ attention elsewhere coupled with Rivers’ persistence and desire to get Farmar in a Clippers uniform put the contenders, who were two wins away from the Western Conference Finals in the driver’s seat for his services.
“(Doc) was definitely the first person I talked to. I just landed at LAX, my phone started ringing as soon as I got service, he was the first person that called and he kept calling and he was persistent,” said Farmar. “And that was a good feeling to feel wanted and to feel like you were going to be part of something special.”
This season the 27-year-old was plagued by groin and hamstring injuries, costing him 41 games. When he did play Farmar was effective, averaging 10.1 points per game, 4.9 assists and 2.5 rebounds. Farmar fills the hole left by the departure of backup guard Darren Collison, who opted out of his final year with the Clippers and joined the Sacramento Kings.
Farmar’s deal is for two years and worth $4.2 million.