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CLIPPER REPORT

Brand Is High on Signing Rice

October 09, 2003|Jerry Crowe | Times Staff Writer

Elton Brand would welcome a veteran presence on the Clippers, who figure to be one of the NBA's youngest teams this season.

Say, Glen Rice?

"It is something we could use -- a shooting threat," Brand said of Rice, a free agent who has piqued the Clippers' interest. "I'm sure he still has it. I know last year he lit us up for about 14 or 16 [points] in a quarter."

Rice, who scored a season-high 25 points last March in a Houston Rocket victory over the Clippers, cleared waivers Wednesday and was thought to be weighing his options. The three-time All-Star was traded last week from the Rockets to the Utah Jazz in a salary dump before reaching agreement with the Jazz on a contract buyout that made him a free agent. The Jazz waived him Monday.

The team that eventually signs the 36-year-old swingman could get him for as little as the $1-million veterans' minimum, of which the NBA would pay half, but that's not the only reason the 6-foot-8 Rice is intriguing to the Clippers.

"I think there's some interest, obviously, because the guy has been a great shooter," Coach Mike Dunleavy said. "He's got a great stroke, he's got good size. It's something that this team might be lacking....

"You've got to be able to stretch a defense and create some space for guys to drive to the basket. We don't have a very big team, really....

"So, for the most part, we're probably going to be playing with an undersized team and if you're going to do that you've got to find a different way. You've got to be able to shoot the ball and move the ball and attack."

Though his productivity has fallen off sharply over the last three seasons, Rice ranks among the top 50 scorers in NBA history and has averaged 18.6 points and 4.4 rebounds over a 14-year career while making 40.2% of his three-point shots.

He impressed the Clippers in a workout Sunday and also reportedly has drawn interest from the New Jersey Nets. Net President Rod Thorn, however, told reporters that he would like to evaluate his roster through a few more exhibition games before seeking outside help, so the situation remains fluid.

*

Because of various injuries, centers Predrag Drobnjak, Olden Polynice, Wang Zhizhi and rookie Chris Kaman were sidelined for most of Wednesday's practice at Staples Center.... Corey Maggette and rookies Marcus Hatten and Quinton Ross, who combined to make only one of 16 shots in Tuesday night's 101-82 exhibition loss to the Sacramento Kings, stayed after practice for extra shooting.... The Clippers' scrimmage tonight at 6 at Staples Center is open to the public. Admission is free, as is parking in Lot 3. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.

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