SAN DIEGO — The Clippers will play the first of seven exhibition games at 7 tonight, meeting the Seattle SuperSonics at the San Diego Sports Arena, their home before moving to Los Angeles six seasons ago.
Coach Don Casey doesn't figure to have any surprises in the starting lineup, with Gary Grant and Reggie Williams at guards, Charles Smith and Ken Norman at forwards and Joe Wolf, normally a forward, at center in place of holdout Benoit Benjamin.
Rookie Jeff Martin has made a good impression in the early days of training camp, but Williams, as the lone veteran shooting guard, gets the start. The cushion is shrinking, though.
Jay Edwards, the other second-round draft choice at the position, has missed the last five days because of a flare-up of tendinitis in his left knee. The Big Ten player of the year from Indiana won't play tonight and remains day-to-day with the aggravation of an old injury.
The Clippers spent six seasons in San Diego, after the franchise moved from Buffalo, N.Y., and before it went to Los Angeles.
This also represents a return for Casey, an El Cajon resident who lives in the Los Angeles area during the season.
Benoit Benjamin and his advisers have rejected the Clippers' offer of $1.25 million for this season and an option on 1990-91, and also sent a counterproposal to General Counsel Alan Rothenberg.
Benjamin's agent, Henry Holmes, asked for a one-year deal with additional incentives based on performance, not on whether the holdout center stays under 255 pounds, as the Clippers wanted.
"If you're performing to a level, who cares how much you weigh, how you look or even how you tie your shoes?" Holmes said.
While declining to discuss monetary specifics of the deal, Holmes said Benjamin would accept the weight-clause stipulation if the Clippers insist on it but added that any bonuses from holding under 255 would be given to charity.