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A Feel Good Story

I feel certain that the vast majority of ClipsNation has fond memories of former Clipper Mikki Moore.  During a surprisingly successful 2004-2005 Clippers' season, in which the team won 37 games despite a rash of injuries, Moore appeared in 74 games and always played with energy and enthusiasm.  Against all odds, the Rick Brunson-Mikki Moore pick-and-roll was a 'go to' play for the Clippers that season.

Mikki's NBA career has been a story of perseverance.  After leaving Nebraska in 1997, he was twice cut by the Timberwolves before playing two NBA games for the Pistons in early 1999.  Then he was cut again.  

In 10 years, he has been waived 7 times, allowed to become a free agent four more times, and traded once.  He's never actually been traded for another player - just a future second round pick.  Before this week, he'd signed two multi-year contracts in his career.  The first time, a three year deal with the Pistons, he was bought out of his final year.  The second time, a two year minimum deal with the Sonics, he was traded for the aforementioned future second round pick (the NBA equivalent of being given away).  

But, forced into duty by the injury to Nenad Krstic, he became the starting power forward on the Nets last season.  He was New Jersey's best front court player in the playoffs, and a couple times their best player, period (which is saying a lot when you play with Jason Kidd, Vince Carter and Richard Jefferson).

Mikki is one of those NBA mysteries.  A long, athletic 7 footer who can make a mid range jumper consistently and hustles his ass off.  Why has this guy never stuck anywhere?  I can remember reading in Sport Illustrated's NBA Preview in 2001 how he was going to have a break out season for the Pistons.  Six seasons and seven teams later, he finally got his chance to break out.

Friday he was rewarded with by far the most lucrative contract of his career.  At the tender age of 31, he signed a 3-year, $18M contract with the Sacramento Kings.  

Sadly, there is no word on Rick Brunson.