Tag: Los Angeles Clippers

Portland Trail Blazers v New Jersey Nets

How a Spurs assistant forced his way onto LaMarcus Aldridge’s plane and persuaded him to sign


For a while, it seemed the Clippers were holding DeAndre Jordan hostage until he spurned the Mavericks and re-signed with Los Angeles.

Turns out, everything was pretty relaxed at Jordan’s house.

The real dramatic meeting between a free agent and pushy team rep involved LaMarcus Aldridge.

Aldridge met with teams in Los Angeles, and then he touched base with Ime Udoka, a Spurs assistant and former teammate of Aldridge.

Aldridge, in a Q&A with Sam Amick of USA Today:


Q: Did I hear it right that he flew back to Dallas with you after your LA meetings were over?

A: “It (the meeting process) was done. I was down to two teams, Phoenix and the Spurs. I thought (Udoka) was staying in San Antonio for the summer, so I was like, ‘Hey, I’ve got a jet going to Dallas. You could get a flight from Dallas to San Antonio (to head home).’ So he was like, ‘Cool.’ So he gets on the jet, and I’m like, ‘We’re leaving. You should buy your flight (to San Antonio from Dallas) on the plane. Go buy your flight.’ He was like, ‘I ain’t buying no flight.’ I was like, ‘What do you mean?’ He’s like, ‘I live here (in Los Angeles) right now. I’m flying just to answer any questions that you have.’ I was like, ‘Man, you’re crazy.’ I said, ‘Get off the plane.’ He said, ‘No, I’m going to answer any question that you have.’ So I’m like, ‘You don’t have to do this. Don’t do this.’ He’s like, ‘Nah, I’m not getting off.’

“So we rode – and I had my kids with me and my mom – so they sat in the front of the plane and him and I went to the back of the plane and talked the whole flight. It was just conversation, about the system, about me. It wasn’t really a lot of questions. It was just him telling me how I’m going to fit in. Everybody was making this big fuss about how I’m not going to be able to take shots anymore, or be the scorer that I am, and he was just telling me, ‘We need a guy to score down there. Tim (Duncan) is older, and we need a guy to command a double team down there.’ So I was like, ‘Maybe I’m not a Spur, because I’ve been averaging 23 (points per game) for the last three to four years, and maybe I don’t fit into y’all’s system of let’s all average 17 (points per game).’ And he was like, ‘No, we’re not trying to change who you are and make you average 16 or 17. We want you to be you, because you’re going to help us be better and vice versa.’ He kind of reaffirmed that they didn’t want to change me, and that who I am is ok.”

Aldridge obviously had a preexisting respect for Udoka. Otherwise, that could have come across as more intrusive than helpful.

Likewise, Aldridge clearly had a preexisting respect for the Spurs. He’d been linked to them long before free agency and any meetings.

So, I think he would have chosen San Antonio regardless.

But the Suns made a compelling pitch, and it’s a darn good thing for the Spurs Udoka made this final push — just in case.

Friday night video fun: Best blocks of 2014-15 season

Tristan Thompson, Iman Shumpert, Mike Scott
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It’s Friday night, you can either go to a bar and watch guys get rejected by the cute redhead and her friends, or you can just watch the best rejections of the last NBA season right here. Take your pick.

Nerlens Noel and DeAndre Jordan, of course, have a couple good ones, but my favorites belong to Kemba Walker and Blake Griffin.

Glen Davis: Clippers would have beaten Warriors in Western Conference finals

Los Angeles Clippers v Golden State Warriors

In reality, the Clippers blew a 3-1 series lead to the Rockets in the second round of last year’s playoffs. Houston lost in five games in the Western Conference finals to the Warriors, who won the NBA championship.

In an alternate reality – where the Clippers didn’t blow it against the Rockets – what would have happened in the Western Conference finals?

Glen Davis, who played for the Clippers last season, on CBS Sports Network (hat tip: James Herbert of CBSSports.com):

We would’ve beat Golden State. We would’ve beat Golden State. And I think the reason why is because Blake Griffin. Who’s going to guard Blake Griffin? You got these little 4s, range-shooting 4s. Blake’s 6-9. He’s a true power forward. And then also, he can play around the perimeter. It’s hard to stop that when you’re playing small ball.

I mean, maybe.

But probably not.

The Warriors, an all-time great team, were definitely better than the Clippers. The Clippers were good enough to beat any team in a playoff series with the right breaks, but so what? So are several teams every year. That’s why upsets happen. It doesn’t suddenly make an upset likely.

The Clippers didn’t present a particular matchup problem for Golden State, either. The Warriors won three of four regular-season games between the teams.

Griffin didn’t even present a particular individual matchup problem. Draymond Green is one of the NBA’s best defenders, and he could have guarded Griffin as well as anybody can. Yes, Griffin scored 40 points in a regular-season game against Golden State – but Green didn’t play. Griffin shot just 33% while Green was on the court last season (63% against the Warriors without Green playing). Yes, the 6-foot-7 Green is smaller than the 6-foot-10 Griffin. Yes, Green shoots 3-pointers. But Green is perfectly capable of defending big men. Griffin wouldn’t have intimidated him.

And the Clippers lost to Houston in part because they ran out of gas. The Clippers had a weak bench and had to rely too much on their starters. Even if they avoided a total collapse against the Rockets and won one of the series’ final three games, the Clippers would have faced the same fatigue issue in the next round. In fact, it likely would have been worse.

So why would Davis say this? Well, he’s a still a free agent and probably wants the Clippers to re-sign him. Flattering a would-be employer might help.

That, at least, is logical.