Clippers are far from done dealing

June, 18, 2013
6/18/13
12:15
PM PT
For the past five days the Los Angeles Clippers have been the talk of the NBA. They obscured news that Kobe Bryant intends to play at least two more years. They upstaged the NBA Finals.

But now that the proposed trade that would have brought Boston's Kevin Garnett and coach Doc Rivers to the Clippers has faded, the real work begins.

It's easy to make a splash. You just cannonball off the high dive and water kicks up everywhere over everyone, regardless of whether you nail the landing.

What the Clippers' willingness to walk away from the Boston legends proved, though, is that they are committed to the landing, too. This franchise is serious about making the right moves, not simply the fancy ones, to get out of the first and second rounds of the playoffs and contend for titles.

Whether walking away from the talks was foolish, only time will tell. Perhaps in a few months, they'll regret not giving up that extra first-round pick for Rivers. But when director of basketball operations Gary Sacks called up Boston's Danny Ainge on Tuesday morning to say the price was simply too steep and the Clippers were walking away, he effectively said to Clippers fans that he thinks something better is around the corner.

You don't pull out of a deal this massive because you are giving up too much. You pull out because you've analyzed hundreds of other scenarios that will also improve your team now and in the future.

Those options may not be as big and flashy as acquiring the Boston legends, but in the end, they might have a more lasting impact.

The Clippers have had preliminary talks with Orlando about bringing former UCLA star Arron Afflalo to L.A. Afflalo isn't the kind of star Garnett or Paul Pierce are, but he'd bring perimeter defense, 3-point shooting and athleticism that the Clippers lacked the past two seasons.

Similarly, Indiana has signaled that it wants to hold on to forward Danny Granger, according to league sources, but will the Pacers really be able to after signing budding star Paul George to a lucrative extension?

Last week, ESPN reported that the Clippers were determined to be "very aggressive" and "shake every tree" to improve their roster this season.

After involving DeAndre Jordan in the talks with Boston, the rest of the league will now be calling with their own proposals for the tantalizing young center, who hasn't put it all together yet but reminds people of a young Tyson Chandler.

Bledsoe will also likely be moved before February's trade deadline, as he's in line for a lucrative contract extension, and the Clippers risk losing him for nothing if they let him hit restricted free agency.

In other words, one deal may have died on Tuesday, but the Clippers are far from done.

For this week, the Clippers will focus on hiring a coach from the ranks of Lionel Hollins -- who is said to have wowed owner Donald Sterling in his interviews last week -- and two men with deep Lakers ties, Byron Scott and Brian Shaw.

Scott and Shaw are scheduled to meet with Sterling on Tuesday and Wednesday. Shaw is seen as the favorite among the Clippers players and front office.

It's impossible to predict which man Sterling will ultimately hire, and yes, he does have the final say on such things.

None of the three candidates can match Rivers' star power. Bringing him to L.A. would've created a huge splash. But there comes a point when you stop cannonballing off the high dive.

Now the Clippers need to find other ways to get everyone's attention.

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