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THE INSIDE TRACK | PAGE TWO / RANDY HARVEY

Clipper Draft Isn't Barren, Thanks to Odom's Presence

July 01, 1999|RANDY HARVEY

If Chicago Bull General Manager Jerry Krause were as smart as he thinks he is, the Clippers would have gotten the man they wanted in Baron Davis.

Instead, the Bulls passed Wednesday on the best player in the NBA draft. In Krause's defense, so did the Vancouver Grizzlies and Charlotte Hornets. That gift-wrapped Lamar Odom for the Clippers, a player even better than Davis, even better than Elton Brand, even better than Steve Francis.

Elgin Baylor scores. Again.

The Clippers' general manager wouldn't have complained if Davis had been available at No. 4 instead of Odom.

The UCLA point guard plays a position the Clippers haven't been able to fill since Ron Harper left and probably will develop into an all-star as he matures and his surgically repaired knee returns to 100%. As significant as any of that for the Clippers, he actually wanted to play for them.

He sent that message to the Hornets, but they said they would take him anyway. (They meant if Francis, the guard they really wanted, wasn't available.) By the time Davis visited with them en route to the draft in Washington, he was fine with it.

"Bob Bass [Charlotte general manager] said they wanted to take me at three, which made me feel good," Davis said.

So everyone presumably is happy.

That, of course, will change if Odom doesn't display more maturity than he has in recent weeks. But if he is "a very good kid," as he claims--in this league, that means at least as good as Latrell Sprewell--the lottery could become a distant memory for the Clippers.

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Devean George is the type of player that other general managers like to think they would be bold enough to take if they had the 23rd pick but probably wouldn't be . . .

The Lakers, even before Jerry West was calling the shots, have a history of this sort of thing: Norm Nixon 22nd in 1977, Michael Cooper 60th in '78, A.C. Green 25th in '85, Vlade Divac 26th in '89, Elden Campbell 27th in '90, Nick Van Exel 37th in '93 and Derek Fisher 24th in '96.

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Most people I know in Houston are hoping the Rockets will trade Scottie Pippen to the Lakers. That's not because they're Laker fans. . . .

Davis had other reasons for not wanting to go to Charlotte besides the fact he's a West Coast guy. . . .

According to SportsBusiness Journal, Eddie Jones lost $300,000 in salary ($950,000 to $650,000) and $100,000 in guaranteed royalty payments ($250,000 to $150,000) from Nike when traded from the Lakers to the Hornets. . . .

That's because Nike considers Charlotte a "Group C" team. . . .

The Mighty Ducks might not be better than they were two years ago, but they are smarter. . . .

The announcement that they had signed Paul Kariya enabled Disney to forget about its woeful Angels for at least one day. . . .

Sure it did. . . .

It's time for another "Turn Ahead the Clock Night" at Edison Field. . . .

The year that the Angels should target now is 2000. This season is history. . . .

You can probably say the same thing for Chuck Finley's career as an Angel. . . .

If he can get to a World Series with another team, such as the Indians, and the Angels can acquire a prospect or two in return, that would be best for everyone. . . .

Art Mazmanian is retiring after 31 seasons as Mt. San Antonio College's baseball coach. . . .

He also spent 17 of his summer vacations as a minor league manager. Jack Clark, who played for him at Great Falls, Mont., in the Pioneer League in 1973, once said he never played for a better manager. . . .

Michelle Kwan headlines the 16th annual July 4 weekend show at Blue Jay's Ice Castle on Saturday night. . . .

If Marion Jones gets her wish to run for the U.S. 1,600-meter relay team at the World Championships next month, the 400-meter team probably will include Inger Miller, Angela Williams, Terri Edwards and Gail Devers. . . .

They also will be known as Three Trojans and a Bruin. . . .

Media credential requests for the Women's World Cup have surpassed 2,000. . . .

When the U.S. players returned from their triumph at the first women's world championship in 1991 in China, one reporter greeted them at the airport. . . .

WWC spokesman Steve Vanderpool says, "We're the only sporting event that can average more than 31,000 fans and sell out Giants Stadium and Soldier Field and have longer lines for ice cream than beer."

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While wondering when the mainstream media will have to start taking the X Games seriously, I was thinking: Tony Hawk is sick, you knew Jerry Krause would like a guy with no neck, don't worry about the Dodgers--it's only July.

Randy Harvey can be reached at his e-mail address: randy.harvey@latimes.com

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