- Arash Markazi, ESPN Staff Writer
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LOS ANGELES -- Doc Rivers is happy with his team.
He made that clear as he spoke to reporters Tuesday at the Los Angeles Clippers training facility.
"You want to see who's out there and if anyone can ever help your team," Rivers said. "But I like my team. It's not like I'm out trying to change my team. I don't need to. I like our team. Our team's key is growth, not change. Obviously if there was a change that you can make to help your team you would do it, but I like our team.”
Rivers made his comments about 12 hours after the team signed Darius Morris to a 10-day contract, about 12 minutes after Stephen Jackson was waived and about 12 hours before the team signed Maalik Wayns to a 10-day contract. The same Wayns, by the way, who had been waived on Sunday.
Now, these aren’t season altering moves. These end-of-the-roster transactions were made before any of these contracts were guaranteed for the season. In the case of Jackson and Wayns, their contracts would have been guaranteed for the rest of the season if either player had survived on the roster beyond Tuesday night.
A big reason why these moves were made and why Morris and Wayns are currently on the roster is the Clippers are in need of point guards with Chris Paul sidelined for six weeks with a separated right shoulder. Rivers said Tuesday he is going to look at multiple point guards while Paul is out and could bring in several players on 10-day contracts.
When Paul returns next month, the Clippers will have two extra roster spots to play with. In fact, one will probably open up before he returns as there’s no need to have four point guards on the roster.
So what should the Clippers do with the final two spots? Rivers has publicly expressed interest in Sasha Vujacic and Hedo Turkoglu. Of course, Andrew Bynum is also now available. Let’s see what each one could bring to the table.
Bynum would make a lot of sense for the Clippers. They’re razor thin on the front line and have to lean on Ryan Hollins and Antawn Jamison, with Byron Mullens completely out of the rotation and a non-factor this season. The problem is Rivers doesn’t seem to be that interested. At least not right now.
"I honestly haven't given it a lot of thought, I can tell you that," Rivers said. "We've had very few discussions about anyone big right now. We're far more focused on the perimeter part of our team."
Rivers knows he could use some depth up front. Chances are he’s also called around the league to ask about Bynum and if he thinks his presence could disrupt the locker room, his possible contributions on the court might not be enough to overcome his baggage off the court.
If Bynum is healthy and motivated, there’s no doubt he would be a huge addition. Just two years ago he was an all-star, averaging 18.7 points and 11.8 rebounds a game. Even more importantly for the Clippers, he was averaging over 76.2 percent from the free-throw line this season. He would be the perfect replacement for DeAndre Jordan, who is averaging 40 percent, late in games.
Vujacic is currently living and training in Manhattan Beach, Calif., not far from the Clippers’ training facility. Rivers likes Vujacic and thinks his outside shooting might help the team.
Vujacic hasn’t played in the NBA since 2011 when he averaged 11.4 points with the Nets before leaving during the NBA lockout and playing the most recently with Anadolu Efes of the Turkish Basketball League. He averaged 11 points per game there and shot over 35 percent from beyond the arc.
Jordan Farmar’s ability this season to adjust from playing overseas for a couple of seasons to returning to the NBA is an example that it might not be that hard for Vujacic, who said he’s in the best shape of his career and looking to join a contender for the stretch run. Vujecic has always been a good locker room guy and would give the Clippers someone on the roster who has won a championship, which they currently don’t have.
Turkoglu is turning 35 in March and hasn’t played a game in the NBA since Feb. 4, 2013. He was told to stay away from the Orlando Magic this season and played for Orlando in only 11 games last season because of injuries and a 20-game suspension for use of performance-enhancing drugs.
Rivers said he’s looking for a playmaking forward like Turkoglu and wanted to take a look at him after Turkoglu was released by Orlando last week.
"I just like him,” Rivers said. “He's out there and we should look at him. I've always liked him. He can shoot and play [small forward and power forward].”
The one common thread amongst these three players is they haven’t played many NBA games over the past two seasons. In fact the three of them have played in just 35 combined NBA games the last two seasons with Vujacic playing in none, Bynum playing in 24 this season after missing all of last season and Turkoglu playing in just 11 games last season and being out this season.
How much any of them can actually bring to the table is a question Rivers will try to answer in the coming days with a good chance that one them will be on the Clippers’ roster for the stretch run this season.
3dMarc Stein and Tim MacMahon