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Dunleavy Interview On SportsHubLA

Check out Brian Kamenetsky's interview with MDsr on SportsHubLA.  It's one of the more in depth Clipper interviews I've ever seen.  

There's nothing really earth-shattering.  Nothing that we hadn't really surmised already.  It's been a tough year.  Lots of injuries.  He thinks the team can compete if they're healthy.  Like I said, not much we didn't really already know.

There was this one interesting quote:

We don't have any bad contracts, from our standpoint. You can look around this league, and you can look at teams and say, "Wow, that's a bad contract, that's a bad contract, that's a bad contract." I don't think we have any bad contracts.

I guess that kind of depends on your definition of bad contracts.  I don't really see anyone lining up to trade for Cat Mobley and his two years and $18.5M, or Tim Thomas and his 2/$12.5M.  But those aren't Jerome James, Troy Murphy, Kenyon Martin bad.  So it's all relative, I suppose.

But about the only surprise in the interview had to do with Corey Maggette.

...the fact is that we want them (Brand and Maggette). Obviously nothing is for certain, but I think (with) percentages, if you said to me I had to place a bet today, I'd place the bet saying they'd both be back.

I've certainly always assumed Brand would be back, and have said as much.  There are lots of reasons for that, the most obvious one being money.  But if MDsr is being genuine with his 'bet' as regards Maggette (and of course, there are lots of reasons that he might dissemble here), that's pretty significant.  He knows the contract that Corey turned down last summer, and he knows that Corey is going to be asking for more than that, especially considering the year he has had.  (Whether or not Corey is 'worth' that is beside the point - he will obviously ask for it.)  To say that he thinks Corey will be back is saying a lot.

Of course, given the fact that Corey is a Donald Sterling favorite and that Maggette would have been traded several times already were it not for the intervention of the owner, MDsr no doubt has a confidence level that the money will be there  - which has not often been the case for the Clippers.  And for the coach, having Maggette gives him another weapon, and doesn't preclude signing a free agent with the mid-level exception, and of course there's also that lottery pick.  So why wouldn't MDsr want to have him, to add to his suddenly full cupboard?  But just because you CAN sign a player doesn't necessarily mean you SHOULD sign him.

Kevin at ClipperBlog has pointed out that Maggette's presence could have an impact on Thornton's ongoing development.  It's not just that Thornton is a much cheaper alternative for the next 3 seasons - the two of them simply play the same position, and they both will want and need a lot of minutes.  Could Maggette start at the shooting guard with Thornton at the small forward?  Sure, but it's certainly not his ideal position, particularly on defense.

Still, if the owner is willing to pony up, it may make sense to keep Maggette in LA.  The simple fact is that he is significantly more productive than either Cat Mobley or Tim Thomas, both of whom are signed for two more seasons.  My point is, if we're worried about the cap number, it's this off-season (where the Clippers don't seem poised to do anything big, with or without Maggette), and next off-season, at which point Mobley and Thomas will both be entering the last year of their contracts, making them viable trade bait.  How long would you sign Corey?  That's the big question, of course - more important even than the starting salary.  But he's still only 28, so he should have some prime years left in him.  He'll no doubt be looking for a five year deal at least.  If the Clippers can get him to sign for anything less than that, it would make a lot of sense to keep him.

Before reading this interview, I was of the opinion that the most likely scenario was a sign and trade for a proven guard.  And no doubt the Clippers will explore possibilities with Gilbert Arenas (likely to opt out) and Michael Redd (the Bucks are ready for big changes).  But that sort of home run seems unlikely to say the least.  So maybe MDsr is right, and he'll be here next season.  But, me, I still wouldn't bet on it.