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Davis signs; Clippers talk to Josh Smith

July 10, 2008|Jonathan Abrams
  • Atlanta's Josh Smith drives to the basket against Boston's Paul Pierce during the first round of the NBA playoffs in April. Smith, a free-agent, is being considered by the Clippers as a possible replacement for Elton Brand.
Atlanta's Josh Smith drives to the basket against Boston's… (C.J. Gunther / EPA )

How quickly they move on.

Point guard Baron Davis signed his five-year, $65-million contract with the Clippers on Wednesday night, the same day the Philadelphia 76ers officially announced their union with Elton Brand.

Davis, a two-time All-Star, gives the team what it needed heading into the off-season, a proven point guard. Now, they turn to fill the void left by Brand at power forward.

To that end, Clippers Coach Mike Dunleavy went to dinner with Atlanta Hawks restricted free-agent forward Josh Smith and Brian Dyke, one of his agents.

The 6-foot-9 Smith, 22, averaged 17.2 points and 2.8 blocks last season. He quickly ascends to the top of the Clippers' wish list of players to replace Brand.

The Hawks, however, can match any offer made to him, therefore retaining his services.

The Clippers have also made preliminary contact with Charlotte Bobcats forward Emeka Okafor, who is also a restricted free agent, according to NBA sources who requested anonymity because they are not authorized to talk about player movements.

Okafor averaged 13.8 points and 10.7 rebounds last season.

To clear salary cap space, the Clippers renounced their rights to point guards Shaun Livingston, Smush Parker and Dan Dickau and former Clippers Boniface Ndong and James Singleton.

The moves do not mean that the players cannot be re-signed.

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