Just got back from the presser/media availability held at the Clippers practice facility in Playa Vista. Here’s a few notes:
-Craig Smith went first, dressed snazzily in a sweater-over-a-shirt, and certainly held his own in talking to the media. He seemed genuinely excited to be back home in LA and noted that he has had more than 150 calls and texts from family and friends since the trade.
-Sebastian Telfair was second to go in front of the camera, dressed in a red shirt, blue pants, and white undershirt. He definitely didn’t pull a Blake Griffin, as a fellow reporter alluded to. Telfair said all the right things.
-Besides Mike Dunleavy mistakingly calling Craig Smith “Chris,” he said something else interesting. Dunleavy said that he had reached out to the Wolves on draft night about Telfair after they took Rubio and Flynn, and had not thought about Smith at first.
-Mark Madsen showcased his hearty laugh often, showing exactly why he’s managed to stick around in the league for 10 years, and seemed to be a very likable guy that knows his role.
-The players then dressed in their jerseys and took photos for NBA.com. Smith’s jumper looked impressive while they waited.
The Clippers traded Quentin Richardson to the Timberwolves today for Sebastian Telfair, Craig Smith, and Mark Madsen.
Richardson had just been acquired in a deal with the Memphis Grizzlies last week for Zach Randolph, but he will now take his expiring contract to Minnesota.
In exchange, the Clips get two solid reserves and that archetypal “glue guy.”
“We felt like Q helped us at 1 spot,” assistant general manager Neil Olshey said. “But we added multiple reserves for him. What this trade does is solidify the backup spots.”
Smith, a power forward entering his fourth season, has been an efficient player in the NBA. He averaged 10.1 points in fewer than 20 minutes per game for the Wolves last season. His PER (Player Efficiency Rating) was an exceedingly high 17.01 for a backup. By comparison, Zach Randolph’s was 19.72 and Richardson’s was 11.62. Smith also lit up the Clippers for 20 points on 9-of-14 shooting in a January contest.
“He’s the type of guy guys like playing with because he knows who he is as an offensive player and he flourishes in that role,” Olshey said.
Telfair, a highly-touted point guard out of Brooklyn, New York, never lived up his phenom expectations but has turned into a viable backup at the 1. Still only 24 years old, he averaged 9.8 points and 4.6 assists per game last season while starting 43 of 75 games. With the Wolves selecting both Ricky Rubio and Jonny Flynn in the first round of the June draft and Flynn lighting it up, Telfair became expendable.
Olshey: “With Sebastian, we get a solid backup point guard who is a great penetrator and very quick.”
Madsen will hardly play with the Clippers but was a necessary piece to make the money work from end to end. He just scored just six points for the Wolves last season in 19 games, but has always been ultra-popular to fans and teammates alike.
“Mark is a great person, and character-wise, he’ll be great in the locker room,” Olshey said.
Both Smith and Madsen have expiring contracts, while Telfair has a $2.7 million player option for 2010-11.