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MIKE DOWNEY

Bait a Pair of Hooks, Throw in Lines, Catch Worm, Webber

November 16, 1994|MIKE DOWNEY

Chris Webber's agent has been quoted extensively as to why the Clippers should make a big-money offer to Chris Webber. Duh, I wonder why Chris Webber's agent would want more money for Chris Webber.

Nevertheless . . .

Make him the offer.

Make him an offer he can't refuse, Donald Sterling, Andy Roeser, Elgin Baylor and all you crazy cats over at Clipper Central, because ask yourself the age-old Clipper question: "What have we got to lose?"

Webber would immediately turn the Clippers from the Fab None into the Fab One.

As currently constructed, the Clippers will become a playoff contender by: (a) 1996, if they sign their 1995 lotto pick, whoever he shall be; (b) 1998, if they sign their next three picks, or (c) 2001, if a comet crashes into the planet Jupiter, thereby eliminating the winner of the NBA's Interplanetary Division.

With Webber, however, things accelerate.

Overnight: (a) Five-figure crowds start coming to the Sports Arena again; (b) The Clippers can begin advertising their own players rather than their opponents', and (c) Webber can be a big help to Coach Bill Fitch in calling timeouts.

(Provided, of course, Webber can beat out Tony Massenburg or Matt Fish for playing time--a big, big if.)

The Clippers need help. It is available in two forms--one, Webber might be had for a price, or two, Dennis Rodman might be available if anyone in San Antonio can find him.

Now, I don't happen to believe that Rodman would be a smart acquisition for the Clippers in a trade, namely because:

(a) First thing you know, those navel and nipple earrings get infected and Dennis has to be benched; (b) Madonna starts showing up and causes a ruckus by dating all 11 other Clippers, and (c) Rodman averages around 0 points a game, and there are already enough Clippers averaging 0 points a game.

On the other hand, let's talk Lakers. There isn't a player alive that the Lakers could use more right now than Dennis Rodman. Fact is, the Lakers can't rebound to save their lives. If they could, they would have playoff potential and I mean right now. And maybe Magic Johnson could find the Worm's number on his Apple computer and persuade him to show up for practice once or twice a week.

Trouble is, San Antonio isn't likely to aid a club in its conference, no matter how nutty Rodman is. Same way Golden State isn't likely to let Webber come to terms with either Los Angeles club, no matter how high the offer.

But why not try?

Come on, Clippers, see what Webber wants. He is 6 feet 10, 250 pounds, and, unlike any other Clipper, he could start for any team in the league. Webber's presence would keep the Clippers from: (a) challenging the NBA's worst record of all time; (b) drawing 4,000 fans and announcing it as 8,000, and (c) I don't know what (c) is exactly but I'll bet it's bad.

Oh, yeah:

(c) We wouldn't have to drive all the way to The Pond just to see a player named Fish.

No other NBA team has a $3.5-million annual salary slot open, as the Clippers do. We are all aware that Webber, who majored at Michigan in greed, would demand payment of $3.5 million a year for, oh, around 40 years. But, my friends, Chris Webber would also become the greatest Clipper in Clipper history. Instantly. Now. Today. The best. Ever.

Up there in Oakland, young Chris has all but filed for a divorce from Warrior Coach Don Nelson on the grounds of incompatibility. He says he would gladly go to the Washington Bullets (first time anyone has ever made that statement) to be reunited with Michigan chum Juwan Howard, who sat beside Webber in their Greed 101 class.

The Warriors can keep Webber by matching any offer. But will they want to? That is the multimillion-dollar question, because Webber could be demanding as much as one-tenth of a billion dollars.

Pay this much to a player who publicly dissed and embarrassed you? Yes, the Warriors probably would. Then again, maybe they wouldn't.

All I wonder is: (a) Do Sterling, Roeser and Baylor intend to sit back and watch their current team go 8-74? (b) Wouldn't Webber be better than whoever next year's lottery pick is? and (c) Come to think of it, wouldn't a place called The Pond be a nice place for a Webber?

More Mike Downey

* For a collection of recent columns by Mike Downey, sign on to the TimesLink online service and "jump" to keyword "Mike Downey."

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