The answer to the question in the title is one month. September 29th, 2009. That's when the Clippers open training camp. I would also have accepted "Not soon enough."
It feels like this summer has been particularly long, doesn't it? Well, it hasn't. It's just how it goes. We're basketball fans, and most of us just aren't that interested in the Dodgers or the Angels or pre-season football. (I guess some freshman has won the starting QB job at USC. Yippee.)
And is it my imagination, or has the recent NBA news been particularly distressing and depressing? Beasley's in rehab, JRich and J.R. Smith suspended, Renaldo Balkman arrested for DUI, former MVP Iverson reduced to table scraps from the Grizzlies, former MVP Shaq reduced to doing stupid stuff on TV. I don't know. Most summers I find plenty of flotsam and jetsam to blog about - this summer I just kind of want to stay away from these stories.
Even though the Clippers tend to finish the NBA season around tax day (unfortunately), there's still plenty of basketball and plenty to talk about for a while. The NBA playoffs and the draft carry us all the way through the end of June. Then, July is NBA Summer League and the start of free agency - and usually, if anything is really going to happen, it happens in the first couple of weeks in July. And then it grinds to a halt. The big names have all signed. The rosters are more or less full. It's late July, there are still 10 weeks until training camp, and there's just nothing happening.Some summers we have international basketball to talk about - every other year, there's either the Olympics or the Worlds. Sometimes the US is forced to qualify in an off-year tournament. But this year we're really reduced to some fringe stuff, and I can't get worked up over the FIBA Americas tournament (Canada 95-Mexico 40). When EuroBasket starts in Poland in a couple weeks, that will have a little more interest. But still. (Quick aside - can anyone dig up anything on an apparent injury to MBFGC during a tuneup game between Greece and Lithuania on Wednesday? I've seen two cryptic references, but I have no idea how serious it is. Man, if Sofo is out of that tournament, it will be one more reason to sleep through September hoops.)
So, in that sense, it's not surprising that I've found myself writing seven separate front page posts focused on Ramon Sessions since July 23. Not to mention multiple posts about blogging and twitter, and one about grammar. The irony about all those Sessions posts is that if you go back to the very first one, it's still relatively current. Not much has changed, despite all the talk.
(Dammit, I do want to add one thought on the Sessions situation. Citizen John R made a good point about Bird Rights in the comments of my last post - it is one more factor that MIGHT make a sign and trade attractive to Sessions, which would in turn make a team who could facilitate the S&T more attractive. Nonetheless, there are really three parties who need to tango to get the S&T done, and I remain unconvinced that it will happen, or is even being seriously discussed. If higher raises and preserved Bird rights are a lure for Sessions - and yes, those higher raises and Bird rights are only available through the Bucks, meaning S&T - well, wouldn't a higher starting salary with lower raises and more years be even more attractive? And wouldn't the Clippers be willing to do those things, and NOT have to give up a draft pick or some other asset in an S&T? And let's face it, Sessions will have those Bird rights after three years in on a new club, so unless he's specifically looking for a contract shorter than three years, which seems unlikely, I still don't see much logic in the S&T. It helps that the reports from the Clippers front office indicate that those stories were news to them.)
What's interesting is that compared to most off-seasons, this summer has been chock full of activity. It doesn't seem like it, probably because 2008 was a 100 year storm. But this off-season has in fact been one of the busiest off all time for the Clippers. After all - they've traded away one starter, and acquired four players who figure prominently into the rotation - and then of course there's that little matter of the first overall pick. It goes without saying that last off-season was more eventful, but I think we can all also agree that we never want to see another summer quite like last summer. Other than that, what was bigger? 2005 with Cassell and Mobley? Maybe, given that they were both key starters. The Clippers also added Rebraca, Singleton, Ewing and Korolev that summer, so it may have been more active. You might think that 2001, the summer that the Clippers traded for Elton Brand, was more active. But you'd be wrong. That's pretty much all the team did, all summer. The team completed not a single transaction in the month of July. Not one (though they did sign Harold Jamison in August).
My point is, this is a slow time, and that's how it is, and it's OK. It just means we'll be really, really pumped for when the season finally starts. Enthusiasm for the team is at a level I wouldn't have thought possible back in April. I mean, citizen eastie Rich actually renewed his season tickets for FSM's sake. Who would have thought that possible?
Of course, who would have thought it possible that the Clippers would get Blake Griffin? And who would have thought it possible that they'd be able to parlay Zach Randolph into four rotation players and added financial flexibility?
Now if we can just resolve this whole Ramon Sessions thing we'll be all set. September 29 can't get here soon enough.