PLAYA VISTA, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Clippers, a team accustomed to making lottery selections on draft day, waited until late in the second round to make their lone selection of the 2012 NBA draft.
With the 53rd overall pick in the draft, the Clippers selected Furkan Aldemir, a 6-foot-10, 230-pound forward from Konak, Turkey. Aldemir, 21, recently completed his fifth season in the Turkish League and first with Galatasaray Medical Park where he averaged 8.3 points, 6.7 rebounds and 0.9 blocks in 20.1 minutes in 30 games.
After making the selection, Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro laughed when he was asked to spell Aldemir’s name after asking someone the proper way to pronounce his name.
“He’s long, he’s a young kid, he’s good around the basket, he ran good, he’s got some upside to him,” Del Negro said. “You want to pick the best guy possible at that position and that was the position we were in at that time.”
If Del Negro sounded vague when talking about Aldemir, it’s because there is good possibility the Clippers could trade him and even if they keep him for the time being, there’s a good chance he could stay in Turkey for at least another year to develop his game.
“There are a lot of possibilities going on right now,” Del Negro said. “There are a lot of things that we’re working on, so we’ll see how it all comes together here in the next week or so. We’re just trying to put the best team together.”
Perhaps the biggest move the Clippers were working on during the draft had nothing to do with any draft picks and may not be made official until Friday or Saturday. It appears the Clippers are on the verge of completing a three-team deal that would see Clippers guard Mo Williams going to the Utah Jazz, Dallas Mavericks forward Lamar Odom coming to the Clippers and a trade exception going to Dallas.
The trade would be a homecoming of sorts for Odom and Williams, who started their careers with the Clippers and Jazz, respectively.
Del Negro smiled when he was asked about Odom and the trade but was not able to speak on the record until the deal was completed.
“I can’t talk about other team’s players,” Del Negro said. “But you know what a player of his caliber has done in this league.”
The trade is contingent on Williams agreeing to invoke his $8.5 million player option for next season by Saturday's deadline.
“We’ll figure all that out tomorrow,” Del Negro said. “Hopefully we can finish out the things that we’ve been working on and move the team in the right direction for what’s best for everyone. There’s still la lot of work to be done and we’ll move forward in that direction. Obviously tomorrow is a very important day.”
All indications are that Williams will opt in to the final year of his deal and the trade to go down Friday or Saturday.
“I expect him to opt in and work from there,” Del Negro said. “That’s the impression I’ve gotten.”