It may have been three years after the fact, but David J. Stern, commissioner of the National Basketball Assn., officially welcomed the Clippers to Los Angeles Wednesday.
The Clippers moved here from San Diego in 1984 without NBA approval. The league sued to force the team back and the suit was scheduled to go to trial in San Diego federal court Tuesday. However, the NBA reached an out-of-court settlement with the Clippers last week. The Clippers will pay the league $6 million under the terms of the settlement, and the $6 million will be distributed evenly among the remaining 22 teams.
The occasion for Stern's welcome was a Clipper season kickoff party at team owner Donald T. Sterling's Beverly Hills home.
"Now that the Clippers are here by the vote and authorization of the NBA Board of Governors, I'm here to welcome them to Los Angeles and wish them well," Stern said. "This was a family dispute that was settled within the family. They've paid for the right to occupy Los Angeles."
Clipper Notes The Clippers open training camp under new Coach Gene Shue Friday at Cal Poly Pomona with their top three draft choices and five veteran free agents unsigned. The Clippers weren't allowed to negotiate with the rookies until last Thursday because of a league-wide moratorium . . . The three draft choices are forward/guard Reggie Williams of Georgetown, forward/center Joe Wolf of North Carolina and forward Ken Norman of Illinois. The five veteran free agents are forwards Michael Cage, Kenny Fields, Earl Cureton, Steffond Johnson and center/forward Tim Kempton. . . . guard Quintin Dailey said he's lost 25 pounds since the end of the season. "You can't say I'm fat anymore," Dailey said. "I weigh 203 pounds and by the end of camp I'll weigh 190." Other players attending the party were center Benoit Benjamin, and guards Norm Nixon, Mike Woodson and Larry Drew . . . The Clippers invited 10 players, who took part in their rookie/free agent camp, to training camp. Invited were forwards David Thirdkill, Tod Murphy and Leroy Combs and centers Jim Lampley and Steve Ladesma. The rookies invited to camp were forwards Henry Carr, Norris Coleman and Chad Kessler, guard Tim McCalister and center Martin Nesley. Combs later decided to go to the New Jersey Nets' camp.