In the last bit of Clippers-transaction-related news for what figures to be a long, long time, Lisa Dillman of the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday night via Twitter that Brian Cook has exercised his player option for the 2011-12 season. Because of the lockout, the Clippers won't be able to officially confirm Cook's decision for now, but this move was expected, to say the least. Here is the full quote from Cook, pieced together from Dillman's tweets here, here, here and here:
With the Clippers org on the rise and a phenom like Blake Griffin and leader like Mo Williams, I felt very comfortable coming to help this organization get to the playoffs. With the lockout taking place, the whole team will be working hard during the summer to be ready to go when things are resolved. I love the city of LA. I love the fans in LA. I got drafted to this city....I also am able to be with my wife Victoria, who is a native of LA, and my 3 sons. So it was a good fit.
Considering that this may end up being the quietest sidenote in a lockout-dominated offseason - Cook, whose career was all but over this time last year, probably wouldn't have gotten a better offer than the veteran minimum anywhere else - Dillman's next tweet was far more interesting:
Word of caution: Taking a tweet from someone and tampering with it to say something unflattering, uh, not a good idea. #blocked
This coming, presumably, in response to a follower's failed attempt at humor:
Corrected RT @reallisa: Brian Cook to LAT on picking up his player op "It's like I'm stealing money... Oh wait I AM stealing money!"
First of all, good for Lisa for laying down the hammer. It would've been mostly harmless shenanigans had the offender tweeted something along the lines of "@reallisa What he really meant to say was 'It's like I'm stealing money, etc., etc.'" But completely altering the original message under the pretense of a retweet? That's going too far, and it looks even worse when you do it at the expense of a respected journalist.
The thing is, I understand the impulse behind the ill-formed tweet. No, I don't agree with the actual execution, but I can see why someone would try to make a joke about Brian Cook's agreeing to a $1.3 million salary next season.
Because Cook is an easy target. He's slow and unathletic, he lets fly with that hideous jump shot of his any chance he gets and, worst of all, he probably would be out of the league right now had the Clippers not signed him to a two-year, $2.4 million contract last July - an inexplicable, if inexpensive move at the time.
But then Cook went on to have an OK season, given the expectations. For the veteran's minimum, you could certainly do worse than 4.8 points and 43 percent 3-point shooting in 11 minutes a night. Cook missed more than a month of action with an ankle sprain and registered plenty of DNP-CDs even when healthy, but in his limited minutes he provided some needed spacing on offense while not being a total liability on the defensive end.
He'll likely see even less of the court next season, whenever that is. In the event that Trey Thompkins makes the team - he's skilled and talented enough - the Clippers will have a much younger backup power forward with his own 'stretch 4' capabilities. Not to mention Cook will probably be scrapping for whatever's left with a better player in either Ike Diogu or Craig Smith, assuming at least one of them re-signs.
But at the very least, Cook proved he can still play a bit. And while some may perceive his even receiving a contract in the first place endemic of a long pattern of frugal spending, you can't blame Cook for agreeing to play with what essentially amounts to house money. Fortunately, it will only come at a fractional cost to the Clippers' salary cap.
Here's where the roster stands today, and will continue to stand for the duration of the lockout:
PF - Blake Griffin, Brian Cook, Trey Thompkins**
* = Partially guaranteed contract
** = Drafted, unsigned
*** = Restricted free agent