View Full Version : LA Daily News view of Clippers draft day machinations

07-05-2002, 04:56 PM
Los Angeles, CA | Friday, July 05, 2002

Published: Thursday, June 27, 2002

Clippers' offers for Miller and Davis rejected

By Joe Stevens
Staff Writer

A whirlwind day of trade offers and phone calls ended with no takers for Lamar Odom
and a head-scratching outcome.

The Clippers made no trades on draft day and selected a pair of power forwards in
Maryland's Chris Wilcox at No. 8 and Fresno State's Melvin Ely at No. 12. Barring a
future deal, the two will try to play in a crowded frontcourt anchored by All-Star power
forward Elton Brand.

The Clippers' desire was to get someone to be their leader at point guard. But two
deals fell apart within hours, according to sources.

The first would have sent Odom and the Clippers' eighth pick to the Cleveland Cavaliers
for point guard Andre Miller and the Cavs' sixth pick.

That deal possibility came after the Cavaliers already turned down the same offer with
Corey Maggette as trade bait. The Odom deal fell through at mid-morning Wednesday.

"We talked and it just didn't work out," said Clippers general manager Elgin Baylor. "We
tried to talk and we just couldn't come to an agreement about which players would be

After that, Baylor dialed up New Orleans in hopes of landing Baron Davis. In that deal,
the Clippers would send Odom and their eighth and 12th picks to the Hornets for Davis.
The Hornets deliberated for several hours before deciding not to deal.

So the Clippers went ahead with the plan to pick the best two players available.

Things became even more perplexing when Cleveland, after deciding to keep Miller,
chose Dajuan Wagner with the sixth pick. Wagner is a point guard the Clippers would
likely have taken, if a trade for Miller or Davis didn't happen.

"It would be great to have a great point guard," Clippers coach Alvin Gentry said. "But
everything is not over. I still think that there is a possibility."

The coach explained Keyon Dooling or Marko Jaric, a 2000 pick who is expected to sign
with the Clippers this summer, are quality players who could perform well for his team
at point guard.

A deal for Miller is not dead, but Clippers owner Donald T. Sterling will have to change
what he's offering. Reportedly, the Cavs nixed the deal because they felt Odom, who
missed 53 games this season with injuries and a drug suspension, was too high-risk.

Cleveland's hope was to get Darius Miles and both of the Clippers' picks. But Sterling
made Miles and Quentin Richardson untouchable.

Baylor was vague in his comments about the failed trade and didn't talk specifics. If
Baylor had full control, it is believed he definitely would have sent Miles to Cleveland for

"There will be more talk, I'm sure," Baylor said of dealing with the Cavaliers. "And we're
going to keep the lines open."

Wilcox and Ely both spoke via telephone about coming to the Clippers. Many of the
questions centered on whether each thought he would be in Los Angeles at the start of
the season. Wilcox, 19, never even had a pre-draft workout with the Clippers.

"Yeah, I feel like I'm going to be there," Wilcox said. "But if not, whatever happens

Ely, 24, was the first player selected in the draft who is a senior. Ely said he lives in
Marina del Rey and was pleased to be taken 12th.

"I had the workout in L.A., and it was kind of so-so," Ely said. "I didn't do bad, but I really
thought I was going to Milwaukee or Indiana or Orlando, somewhere like that. When
they picked me, I was playing with my son and I thought somebody was playing.' "

Right now, the Clippers have a logjam at both small forward and power forward.

A trade might appear imminent, but that it is no certainty.

Wilcox said, "The NBA's kind of funny, so anything can happen."

!arrow!Notes:!off! With their second-round pick, the Clippers took little-known Croatian
center Mario Kasun. The Clippers then dealt Kasun's rights to Orlando for future
considerations. ... The Clippers are expected to sign Jaric this week, perhaps as early
as today. ... In a formality, the Clippers tendered Michael Olowokandi and Tremaine
Fowlkes qualifying offers. The two officially became restricted free agents and
negotiations with them can begin July 1.

Copyright 2002 Los Angeles Daily News
Los Angeles Newspaper Group