Doc Rivers: Not focused on big man
PLAYA VISTA, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Clippers continued to make roster tweaks Tuesday in the wake of star guard Chris Paul's shoulder injury, but coach Doc Rivers has stopped short of saying he'll be at the front of the line for Andrew Bynum once the enigmatic center clears waivers later this week.
After confirming the widely expected release of swingman Stephen Jackson, Rivers said Tuesday that he and team officials have not yet discussed adding a big man.
"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."
Bynum will become a free agent Thursday when he clear waivers, as expected, in the wake of the trade that sent him from Cleveland to Chicago. The Bulls released the former Lakers center Tuesday to prevent the remaining $6 million on Bynum's contract this season from becoming guaranteed.
But the Clippers' roster focus in recent days has been point guard and wing. ESPN.com reported Monday that L.A. is taking a hard look at veteran free agents Sasha Vujacic and playmaking forward Hedo Turkoglu, but sources say Rivers -- in his dual role of coach and senior vice president of basketball operations -- has decided to bring back little-used Maalik Wayns on a 10-day deal after Wayns clears waivers later Tuesday.
The Clippers also signed former Los Angeles Lakers point guard Darius Morris to a 10-day contract on Monday. Rivers said he was more interested in signing perimeter players to 10-day contracts than making any drastic changes to his roster.
"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."
Wayns was released Sunday for the same reason Jackson was waived Tuesday. In both cases, their contracts would have been guaranteed for the rest of the season if either player had survived on the roster beyond 5 p.m. ET on Tuesday.
Rivers made it a point to stress that Jackson's release had more to do with the Clippers' need to add point guards with Paul sidelined for up to six weeks than with anything Jackson did wrong.
"He was great. He was really, really great," Rivers said of Jackson. "It was more when Chris went down we needed guards and in my opinion multiple guards. We already signed one, and we'll probably sign another in the next day. It's just what we had to do, but Stephen was everything I needed him to be. Great attitude and great in the locker, which is something I needed from a veteran player."