Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Vinny Del Negro doesn't foresee trade
By Arash Markazi
PLAYA VISTA, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Clippers do not expect to make any deals before Thursday's NBA trade deadline, coach Vinny Del Negro said Wednesday.
"We feel good with our team right now," Del Negro said. "Nothing's changed from that aspect. Nothing has been presented to any of us that makes sense to do anything different right now. We're always available and always looking to make our team as strong as possible, but right now we feel comfortable with our team."
Del Negro said he has been in constant communication with Clippers vice president of basketball operations Gary Sacks, and the team is not seriously pursuing any trades at the moment.
"We talk every day," Del Negro said of Sacks. "There hasn't been anything where either one of us has said that makes sense. We're just sitting back and we're happy with our team. We're always looking to improve, there's no question about that, but there's been nothing that Gary has brought me that I feel or he feels comfortable doing at all and there really hasn't been anything."
There had been talk of the Clippers possibly trading Eric Bledsoe and DeAndre Jordan for the Boston Celtics' Kevin Garnett, or Bledsoe and Caron Butler for Paul Millsap of the Utah Jazz. However, those talks have waned as the Clippers appear focused on keeping their current roster intact.
Most of the Clippers' major moves have revolved around keeping Chris Paul happy so he signs a long-term extension in the offseason. On Wednesday, Paul said he didn't want to see the Clippers make any major moves that would shake up their current roster.
"No, I like where we are," Paul said. "Nothing is necessary."
The one constant in every proposed trade has been Bledsoe, who has been Paul's understudy the past two seasons. Paul said he has talked with Bledsoe about the various rumors and dealing with trade talks.
"I've talked to Bled a little bit," Paul said. "But one thing about Bled is that he understands. He understands this is a business, and at the end of the day he understands how much he means to this team. If you would have seen the last two days of practice, he's been hooping. I pulled him to the side at the end of this one and told him, 'I can't guard you. In practice, I can't stay in front of you, so that's why I stay on you during the games, because if you stay on me like this in practice, I want you to do the opponents like that.' "
Del Negro believes the Clippers have the pieces in place for a championship team and would like to see what the team can do now that it's fully healthy.
"We have an opportunity for the first time during the season to get healthy," he said. "There are a lot of things out and a lot of them aren't very accurate, but that's part of this time of the season. ... Different names are going to float out there, different scenarios that people talk about and a lot of them can't even work. You just deal with it and if it's an issue, we'll address it, but we had good practice yesterday and a good practice today."
Paul also likes the Clippers' position heading into the home stretch as he, Chauncey Billups, Blake Griffin and Jamal Crawford returned from injuries prior to the All-Star break.
"I think our team has been outstanding," Paul said. "I think our team chemistry has been outstanding. The way we've been playing has been great. We're No. 3 in the West. Unfortunately, we've had a few injuries and stuff like that, but we're still in a good place."