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That can mean a variety of things, but in this instance it means frustrating.
Sometimes it feels as if the other NBA teams are out on the track while the Clippers are on a treadmill.
An NBA source said Tuesday that the Clippers were close to an agreement with Cuttino Mobley. This the week after Bobby Simmons left for the Milwaukee Bucks.
Let's see: Mobley averaged 17.2 points a game for the Orlando Magic and Sacramento Kings last season, Simmons 16.4 a game, giving the Clippers a net gain of 0.8 of a point.
Well, technically that's progress. It's just not very inspiring.
The Clippers: Movin' toward the playoffs, tenth by tenth.
Mobley will provide outside shooting and defense at the shooting guard position and give the Clippers a solid starting lineup along with Elton Brand, Corey Maggette, Chris Kaman and Shaun Livingston.
All of those guys can play, but not one of them demands a double-team. None gives the Clippers an automatic matchup edge, game in and game out.
This makes two consecutive summers that the Clippers actually did things the right way, came correct with the cash ... and came away with little to show for it. Last year, they threw money at the feet of Kobe Bryant, but he stayed with the Lakers.
This year they tried for Seattle's Ray Allen (the best player on the market) and Michael Redd (the best shooter), but both took the most money they could get and re-signed with their teams at prices beyond what the collective bargaining agreement would allow the Clippers to offer.
And Simmons left for a surprising $9 million a year, a figure the Clippers never imagined they'd hear and weren't prepared to spend on a borderline starter.
It seems as if every imaginable force works against the Clippers.
There's the inertia of their losing ways � 12 years and counting since their last winning season � that prevents them from signing a veteran looking to play for a winner at a discount.
There's the law of supply and demand. With Allen, Redd and then Larry Hughes gone, the Clippers were forced to spend a premium on Mobley. You've all felt it at your fantasy league auctions, that time when there's only one guy left at a position, and other teams need him just as badly as you do.
They still have shopping left to do, but the big-time free agents are gone.
If the Clippers were unfortunate in free agency, though, they were unwise on draft day.
They selected Russian Yaroslav Korolev at No. 12, when Danny Granger of New Mexico and Gerald Green of Gulf Shore Academy were available.
Granger was one of the most polished players in the draft, and Green one of the most talented.
The Clippers must have some quota on high school players. After selecting Darius Miles out of East St. Louis High with the third pick in the 2000 draft, they sent the rights to Dominguez's Tyson Chandler to Chicago for Elton Brand in 2001. I loved that trade then, and still do.
It wasn't about being the team everyone loved, it was about beating the teams everyone else loved.
Division Champions 1955, 1956, 1988, 1989, 1990, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008
Conference Champions 1955, 1956, 1988, 2005
NBA Champions 1989, 1990, 2004
Veteran shooting guard is expected to sign a five-year, $42-million contract to bring his outside shot to Los Angeles.
By Jerry Crowe, Times Staff Writer
The Clippers may have finally addressed their long-range needs.
One year after trading for Kerry Kittles, who showed up with a bum knee and never panned out, they reached an agreement Wednesday with unrestricted free agent Cuttino Mobley on terms of a multiyear deal, Mobley's agent said.
Andy Miller, who represents the veteran shooting guard, declined to reveal terms, but it is believed to be a five-year deal worth $42 million.
Though offers made to Kobe Bryant and Gilbert Arenas in recent years and to Ray Allen this month were more lucrative, this will be by far the richest contract the Clippers have ever awarded a free agent from outside the organization.
Only Elton Brand, who as a restricted free agent two years ago signed an $82-million offer sheet with the Miami Heat before the Clippers reeled him back by matching it, has ever wrung more cash out of owner Donald T. Sterling.
But the Clippers, who last season finished last in the NBA in three-point shots made and attempted, were eager to add a long-range shooter and to erase the sting of losing Bobby Simmons, who last week accepted a five-year, $47-million offer from the Milwaukee Bucks.
For an average of $8.4 million annually, $1 million a year less than they would have had to pay Simmons to match the Bucks' offer, the Clippers landed a player they believe fits better in their starting lineup, fills their most pressing need — he ranked third in the NBA in three-point shooting accuracy last season — and gives them more flexibility to continue scouring the free-agent market.
Looking to bolster their bench, they'll continue talking to Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Marko Jaric and Zeljko Rebraca, and also are interested in pursuing another veteran shooting guard, Bonzi Wells. The Memphis Grizzlies hold an option on Wells' contract but are expected to release him this month, making him a free agent. Contracts cannot be signed before July 22.
Mobley, who will turn 30 on Sept. 1, is expected to move into the starting lineup alongside Brand, Corey Maggette, Chris Kaman and Shaun Livingston, enabling Maggette to move back to small forward, his more natural position.
"We're very excited about the opportunity," said Miller, Mobley's agent. "The Clippers have been very diligent and aggressive in pursuing Cuttino and we're extremely pleased with this deal ... and the opportunity that lies in front of us."
A 6-foot-4 left-hander, Mobley has averaged 17.1 points in seven NBA seasons, the first six with the Houston Rockets, while making 43.3% of his shots, 38.3% from beyond the arc.
He was traded twice in the last 13 months, last summer to the Orlando Magic and in January to the Sacramento Kings.
He averaged 17.2 points last season, then opted out of a contract that would have paid him $6.4 million next season.
Asked how Mobley would fit with the Clippers, Miller said, "Perfectly — on many levels: in terms of his role, his personality, his experience. They're right on the cusp of being a playoff team, and I think adding him into the mix will only enhance the situation. He's infatuated with L.A., thinks it's a great opportunity for him, really likes the environment there, the climate, all the variables that go into living in the L.A. region. So, it fits on a business, professional and personal level."
Miller said other teams were interested — Sacramento had hoped to put together a sign-and-trade deal — but the Clippers made the most sense.
"As we sifted through it," he said, "they're a young team, they have a good nucleus, a very, very good coach. They're very aggressive with everything, laid out a very specific plan, stuck to that plan.
"And for Cuttino and where he is in his life and his career, he felt that this was the opportunity that he'd been looking for for quite some time."