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Clippers Sign Cage to 4-Year Deal; He'll Play Tonight

November 07, 1987|CHRIS BAKER | Times Staff Writer

DENVER — Clipper forward Michael Cage, who agreed to terms with the club late Thursday night, signed a four-year contract Friday for a reported $800,000 a season.

Cage, who wasn't in uniform for Friday night's season opener against the Denver Nuggets, will make his 1987-88 debut tonight when the Clippers open their home season against the Portland Trail Blazers at the Sports Arena.

Shortly after Cage signed, another team reportedly offered $1 million and several draft choices if the Clippers would trade him. Clipper officials wouldn't reveal the team that made the offer, but the Detroit Pistons, who had given Cage an offer sheet earlier this week, were known to be interested in him.

However, the Clippers rejected the deal.

"I don't know who is saying these things," Clipper General Manager Elgin Baylor said of the trade report. "The only thing that's important is that Michael is here."

Cage, the sixth-leading rebounder in the National Basketball Assn. last season, missed the Clippers' training camp due to his holdout. However, he signed with the club after a meeting with Baylor and general counsel Arn Tellem Thursday night.

"A lot of the credit for signing him belongs to Elgin," Tellem said. "Elgin is one of Michael's biggest fans, and so is (Coach) Gene Shue."

Shue said he'll work Cage into the lineup slowly. Cage will practice with the team for the first time today.

"I'm very, very pleased that we signed him," Shue said. "I think it's obvious that he's going to help our rebounding."

With the addition of Cage, the Clippers have 13 players on their active roster, one over the NBA limit. It's likely that rookie forward Tod Murphy from UC Irvine will be cut to make room for Cage.

Meanwhile, the Clippers are still trying to sign veteran forward Scott Wedman, who played for the Boston Celtics last season. He had a tryout with the Clippers earlier this week.

"We made our final offer to him, and his agent said he'll get back to us if it's acceptable with Scott," Baylor said.

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