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A meet, greet for Clippers

September 30, 2008|Lisa Dillman | Times Staff Writer

It seemed more like Orientation Day than Media Day at the Clippers' bright new home in Playa Vista, one part sound and vision check and another test of the temperature.

Vision? There was the homecoming king, point guard Baron Davis, holding court back in his native L.A. on Monday and talking about how there is a little less of him (19 pounds), by virtue of his Jenny Craig diet.

"It's like the 'after' picture," Davis said.

With training camp starting today, he could have been talking about this season's team photo, as there are 13 new faces on the 18-player camp roster. If only assimilation were as easy as dropping weight, and Davis acknowledged the early ride could be tough.

"Our possibilities are endless," Davis said. "We have great fans. We're the underdog in the city, so a lot of people are going to be rooting for us. It's just a matter of us coming together at the right time.

"It's going to be bumpy in the beginning."

At least he won't have to jockey for position in the weight room and on the court. Davis, who left the Golden State Warriors for the Clippers, was asked about the Clippers' reputation around the league before they moved into the Playa Vista training facility.

"They practice at a health club. They practice at a sports club. You can be working out and trying to get a workout in and somebody right next to you is talking your ear off about the games," said Davis, smiling. "Asking for tickets and everything. It was like a community place."

Then there was the taking of the temperature, in terms of mood.

The second-highest-profile summer acquisition, behind Davis, would be an unhappy Marcus Camby. Camby, who was traded to the Clippers by the Denver Nuggets in July for a second-round pick in 2010, acknowledged the chip remained on his shoulder even as he tries to move forward.

"If I never knew the NBA was about business, I found out that day," he said. "Because there you have a player who spent the last six years putting his heart and soul . . . and then you have money. I pretty much got traded for money and that pretty much hit home it was all about business."

Naturally, the dates of the Denver games are circled on his calendar even as he received phone calls from his former Nuggets teammates, who, apparently, are going through Camby withdrawal.

"I really can't hold grudges," he said. "If that were the case, I'd hold a grudge against Toronto and New York and all the other teams that I played on."

If Camby was still simmering, then center Chris Kaman remained mystified about Elton Brand's decision to leave for Philadelphia. Kaman said he speaks to Brand regularly and praised him despite being blindsided.

"I don't know how it went down," Kaman said. "I don't think anybody will ever know.

"He did the best decision for himself. It maybe wasn't the greatest decision."

But Kaman said he couldn't stay mad at Brand. "I said, 'Man, what did you do to me?' " Kaman said. "And he was, 'It didn't work out the way I wanted.' "

In keeping with the ex-Clippers theme of the day, the potential next destination of free-agent point guard Shaun Livingston was a topic of interest.

Coach Mike Dunleavy said that the Clippers had offered him a two-year deal, the first guaranteed and the second year at Livingston's option. Portland apparently passed and Minnesota executive Kevin McHale told reporters Monday that Livingston was headed to the Miami Heat, not the Timberwolves.

Despite Friday's surprise retirement of point guard Jason Williams, the Clippers will not be making another run at Livingston, who is trying to come back from a horrific knee injury suffered early in 2007.

Dunleavy watched him work out this summer.

"He looked good," Dunleavy said. "That's not the issue. What you don't know is how he'll hold up."

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lisa.dillman@latimes.com

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