YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections


Drobnjak Is Acquired in a Sign-and-Trade Deal

September 29, 2003|Jerry Crowe | Times Staff Writer

The Clippers welcomed a potential new starter Sunday, completing a sign-and-trade with the Seattle SuperSonics in time for Predrag Drobnjak to participate in a three-hour workout at L.A. Southwest College.

Avoiding a 15-day limbo that would have resulted from signing the restricted free agent to an offer sheet, the Clippers gave up a conditional second-round draft pick to acquire the 6-foot-11 center, who last season started 69 games for the SuperSonics and averaged 9.4 points and 3.9 rebounds.

If by virtue of their record this season the Clippers land one of the top 15 picks in the second round next year, their pick will fall to the SuperSonics. If not, their second-round pick in 2005 will go to the SuperSonics.

"You won't find a guy like this in the second round," Clipper Coach Mike Dunleavy, who had lobbied management to pursue Drobnjak, said of the Serb.

Dunleavy, two training-camp days into his Clipper tenure, was relieved to have the deal done and not have to wait more than two weeks while Drobnjak, 27, sat idle and the SuperSonics considered matching the Clippers' four-year, $10-million offer.

"I'm glad to have him in, start learning the plays," Dunleavy said. "He's in pretty good condition, so that was good. The main thing is, I think he's a pretty skilled player and shoots the ball well from the outside, which will help us stretch defenses and complement some of our other players."

Drobnjak, who has played two NBA seasons and in April scored a career-high 26 points against the Clippers, said he was convinced he should leave the SuperSonics after a summer in which the team never made him a serious offer.

Conversations with Dunleavy, he said, sold him on the Clippers.

"It was just about playing time, how we're going to play, how he's going to use me," Drobnjak said of the talks. "That's it....

"I decide to move. Clippers was best offer and now I'm here."


Only players with fewer than four years' experience are permitted to practice during the first three days of camp this year, because of an amendment in the collective bargaining agreement. An exception was made for Olden Polynice because the 38-year-old Clipper center did not play in the league the last two seasons.

Dunleavy, however, deferred to the 14-year veteran, telling Polynice he did not have to report until Tuesday, when camp shifts to Palm Desert.

"I gave him the choice," Dunleavy said. "From what I can see he's in decent shape already. It's kind of like, 'Hey, you can come in early if you want. Just know that Tuesday is going to be a hard practice.' "

Polynice, who played 81 games for the Utah Jazz in the 2000-01 season and was cut by the Philadelphia 76ers last fall, told Dunleavy he probably would practice this morning at Staples Center before the Clippers head to the desert.


Point guard Marko Jaric sat out the last hour of practice because of inflammation in his left foot. "I want to be ready for the real training camp over there in Palm Springs," he said, labeling the injury not serious.... Dunleavy said he was "pleasantly surprised" by the progress of rookie Chris Kaman, who has participated fully in most drills but has been kept out of contact work because of a back injury.... To make room for Drobnjak, the Clippers cut Fadi El Khatib, a 6-6 forward from Lebanon.

Los Angeles Times Articles