Blake Griffin: Clips no longer a joke

Updated: December 15, 2011, 8:47 PM ET
By Ramona Shelburne | ESPNLosAngeles.com

PLAYA VISTA, Calif. -- Blake Griffin would have you believe that all he did Wednesday night after learning the Los Angeles Clippers had acquired All-Star point guard Chris Paul was do laundry, have dinner with teammate DeAndre Jordan, and watch a couple college basketball games.

That he slept soundly while basketball fans across the land dreamed of alley-oops from the masterful young point guard to the NBA's reigning slam dunk champion.

Far-fetched, sure. But Griffin wasn't about to get too far ahead of himself.

"I'm not going to sit here and promise that we're going to win this amount of games or that we're going to go this far in the playoffs," he said. "There's going to be none of that.

"The only thing I'm going to promise is that you're going to get our best every night and when you hear the Clippers, it's not going to be a joke anymore. I can guarantee you that."

The Clippers may have shocked the NBA world by pulling off a trade for Paul after their cross town rivals, the Los Angeles Lakers, had a proposed trade with the Hornets vetoed by the league office, which is acting as the Hornets owner.

Heck, they may have even shocked themselves.

But the team five miles down Sepulveda Boulevard has still won exactly 16 more NBA titles than Griffin's Clippers.

Comparing and contrasting them is fun for fans right now, but Griffin's having none of it.

"I'm not here to compete with the Lakers," Griffin said. "As much as everybody wants to talk about the Lakers and how we're the other team across town, I could care less. I'm worried about our team."

Paul took an early-morning flight from New Orleans and arrived at the Clippers practice facility while the team was practicing. He was scheduled to be introduced at a news conference later Thursday afternoon.

Veteran guard Chauncey Billups, whom the team claimed off waivers from the New York Knicks, did not practice as expected, but was at the Clippers training facility.

The Clippers are still giving Billups space to adjust to his new situation -- he'd publicly warned teams against claiming him off waivers and threatened to retire if the wrong team did -- and now, his new role. Team executives and coaches had sold him on the idea of being the veteran leader and starting point guard for the Clippers.

After the acquisition of Paul, however, he'll have to slide over to the shooting guard position.

"We have enough time to let him work his way through it," a Clippers source told ESPNLosAngeles.com late Wednesday night. "We're going to have work through some things. hopefully we can make it work."

Billups was not made available to the media Thursday.

Griffin sounded confident the team would eventually come together, but said it was hard to envision yet just how good the Clippers will be when he hasn't even practiced with Paul or Billups yet.

"Once we get on the court I'll probably be able to tell you a little better of how well we work together and what areas we look for each other," he said. "But right now it's just a matter of me feeling out a new point guard and the rest of the team feeling out a new point guard."

The Lakers sounded far more enthusiastic about the addition and the prospect of a real rivalry between the Staples Center co-tenants.

"I'd definitely go watch them," star Kobe Bryant said. "Blake Griffin has like a 60-inch vertical. Chris is vastly entertaining. I'd definitely check them out. They're a team with a high motor, they're young and they run up and down the floor.

"But I'm not concerned about that. I'd rather look at the jewelry. I don't get into all that stuff. I like winning. At this stage of our careers, if we're the boring team then we're the boring team. As long as we get results. San Antonio has been a boring team for over a decade."

Ramona Shelburne is a columnist and reporter for ESPNLosAngeles.com. ESPNLA.com's Beto Duran contributed to this report.

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