LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 04: Blake Griffin #32 (R) and DeAndre Jordan #6 of the Los Angeles Clippers celebrate from the bench in the fourth quarter against the Houston Rockets at Staples Center on January 4, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. The Clippers won 117-89. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Things are very different in Clipperland these days.
On Tuesday the Clipper's front office brought in a center, one Solomon Jones. A guy who's been around a couple of years but I can't actually recall ever having seen play. The Clipper brain trust, recognizing their need for a back up center apparently looked at a few big guys (some of whom we were more familiar with) and they chose one... Jones. He even made a brief appearance in gabage time of the Rockets game last night.
Now, some of us were hoping for a larger, flashier acquisition, perhaps the obviously reticent, reportedly retired, Joel Pryzbilla... and maybe that will still happen, but I'm happy they signed Solomon Jones. Maybe he'll be okay. Maybe, with Reggie Evans joining the lineup (any minute now) we won't have to suffer through too many more nights of the affable but inadequate Brian Cook pretending to be a center. Maybe it was a good move. I hope so.
But if that's all we're thinking we're missing the really big news... the really really really BIG news....
Another thing happened the other night that was buried in that same Brad Turner article announcing Jones' signing. Turner said this, "The Clippers also still have interest in Antonio McDyess, even though he retired in December after 16 years in the NBA." Now I thought enough of the quote to add it to the fanshot on the front page. I thought, wouldn't it be amazing if the Clippers got Antonio McDyess? Sixteen years after they drafted him he finally plays for the Clips? Wouldn't that be great?! And I mentioned that in the thread. And I more or less justifiably, got shot down... "McDyess is happy in retirement, why wouldn't he go back to San Antonio (who waived him), etc." But that argument isn't important. What is important is this: That signing McDyess could actually happen. I don't mean it's likely to happen, I mean, for the first time ever that it's not a ridiculous fantasy. The Clippers are not the NBA backwater they once were.
The front office is working hard through the start of the season and seems to be getting results. Now obviously some of this is because there wasn't really much of an off-season or a free-agent signing period but Neil Olshey and his staff seem genuinely interested in spending every nickel they have and building a team... even if the tippy top of Donald Sterling's hed is brushing the floor of the luxury tax.
The McDyess situation (if there even is one) is also supremely illustrative of the magnetic power of the super-cool guys that are now on the Clipper roster. Suddenly the LA Clippers are voluptuous and sexy, curvacious and pheremonally-able enough to attract some serious NBA beef to our locker room. Okay, forgive the sweaty analogy, but all the talk about how players didn't want to play here, about how Sterling would never pay, all that stuff? It's suddenly gone. Gone.
And now, everytime a player looks like he's gonna come loose from some other team, it's not just the Knicks or the Heat or the Lakers who might seem an attractive destination... the Clips get thrown into the mix as well. It is no longer ridiculous to think that someone like Antonio McDyess, might, if he should play for anyone, agree to play for the Clippers.
David Aldridge, speaking on the Kornheiser radio show the other day (lamenting the performance of the Washington Wizards) said, "This is a different NBA, you've got to go for it when you have the opportunity, the Clippers get it."
In case you hadn't noticed... things are very different in Clipperland these days.