I have to admit. With all the news coming fast and furious this morning, I didn't bother to read the Orange County Register. AT3 is off the beat and I didn't expect anything interesting to be there. Indeed, checking the HoopsHype Rumors page, I was pointed lots of other places for Clippers news, but no one sent me to the OCR.
As it happens, columnist Mark Whicker deigned to honor us with almost 400 whole words about the 'other' team in LA. What he wrote was that the team was imploding, based on the ill-informed assumption that the fact that Elton Brand and Corey Maggette had both opted out meant that they were out the door.
The saga continued Monday night when Brand and Maggette opted out of their contracts and became free agents, and although the ever-diplomatic Brand took pains to say he still would like to remain a Clipper, he obviously wants to play in a winning environment. Any serious NBA contender, after ascertaining that Brand is indeed healthy, will shuffle its roster to see if it can land Brand.
It's one thing to misread the situation. And certainly plenty of sportswriters in other towns would make the simplistic conclusion that having your two leading scorers become unrestricted free agents is a bad thing for your team. But I would expect a LITTLE more from someone in the greater LA area. All he had to do was read this blog from time to time to know that Brand's opt out was good news for the Clippers. As for Maggette, it was hardly news since Corey had been planning to opt out for months. Then again, when the author AND the editors both miss a glaring error ("Cassell ... got himself traded" - Cassell wasn't traded, he was bought, and it was a pretty big deal at the time), you get an idea of just how much these guys know about the Clippers.
But it's just plain embarrassing to publish a 'Stick a fork in the Clippers' column ON THE SAME DAY that the franchise has arguably it's most positive day ever. Writers get stuff wrong all the time. I myself said that Baron Davis was an unrealistic target yesterday. But here's the thing. Davis opted out of his contract last night at 9. Marc Stein had the story of the Clippers pursuing him a couple hours after that (and speculation had begun before then). This guy has his column sitting in everyone's driveway 6 hours after that? Awkward.
The big question is, now that the Clippers are suddenly relevant in Southern California, does AT3 get his beat back?
Oh, and let's be sure and check out Mark Whicker's column tomorrow. That should be fun.