Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Brand New Era For The Clippers?

Tomorrow is the fateful day when we will find out if I will watch any NBA next season. With the Clippers being led by Corey Maggette and Dan Dickau last year, it was a little tough to handle, even with Chris Kaman and Al Thornton playing well. But last week there was this momentous day when it was revealed that the Clippers had come to terms with Baron Davis and Elton Brand had opted out of his contract so that he could sign back for less, allowing the Davis deal to happen.

It was huge news in Los Angeles. It wasn't the Lakers signing Ron Artest, but it was huge news. Both major sports talk stations did seemingly 24-hours of Baron Davis-talk. How good would the Clippers be? Clearly they'd be a playoff team, but what seed? 7? 6? 5? Might they even host a playoff series? One station even went so far as to recreate Ozzie Osbourne's "Mama, I'm Coming Home," inserting Baron Davis returning to L.A. as the theme - "Baron is coming hoooo-oooo-oooome..." They called it "Baron Davis Day" on ESPN radio.

We only had to wait till July 9 before teams could officially announce any deals and then it would be all sunshine and happiness until next June.

Then the next day the Warriors offered Elton Brand a max-contract. No. That couldn't happen right? Why leave LA (a dismal franchise with a suddenly bright immediate future) for Golden State (a dismal franchise)? Could the money be that worth it? Doesn't he love it here and have movie-industry aspirations? No, Elton was staying.

But little by little, as the week has worn on, more teams have come out and made huge offers to Brand. Could you turn down $100 million dollars? I mean are the Clippers really title contenders? It is not like Brand-Davis-Thornton are Garnett-Allen-Pierce, right? ESPN's Marc Stein wrote Monday night, "the Philadelphia 76ers are again 'actively involved' in the Brand hunt -- and now are a very serious threat to tempt him away from L.A." I can already see the headlines with "Elton" and "Philadelphia Freedom" references galore.

As I write this, there are about 8 hours until July 9th and I am not quite as confident about that 4-seed as I was last week...to say nothing of the fact that even with Davis and Brand, we Clipper fans will be relying on the near miraculous recoveries of about half of the team, bolstered by the signing of a guy who makes Grant Hill look like Cal Ripken Jr., on a franchise that has seen devastating injuries to perhaps its two greatest new additions, Danny Manning and Ron Harper.

Laker fans are mad because the team came up 39 points short of Game 7 of the NBA Finals. The Clippers were about 39 games short of Game 7 of the NBA finals! So the good news is that whatever happens tomorrow, rooting for the Clippers is nice because it doesn't hurt all that much when they lose and if they finish a season .500 it feels like they won the Finals, Super Bowl, and World Series!

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