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It could be a low-key summer for Clippers

Team is unlikely to make a major play in free-agent market, Coach Mike Dunleavy says. Forward Steve Novak is given qualifying offer; guard Ricky Davis exercises contract option.

July 01, 2009|Baxter Holmes

Free agency started Tuesday night, and for the Clippers, it was a leisurely day, the majority of their dealings done by lunchtime.

The team extended a qualifying offer to forward Steve Novak, making the first-year Clipper a restricted free agent. Novak averaged 6.9 points and 16.4 minutes last season, and made about $1 million.

"We like Steve's ability to shoot the ball and what he brought to us. He gave us some good minutes last year," said Mike Dunleavy, the team's coach and general manager.

Under league rules, the Clippers had until Tuesday to make an offer to Novak. Now a restricted free agent, he can sign an offer sheet with any team, which the Clippers can match.

In other moves, guard Ricky Davis ($2.4 million) exercised his contract option for 2009-10, and forward Brian Skinner ($1.3 million) decided not to exercise his option for next season, making him an unrestricted free agent.

The team also decided not to exercise its team option on guard Alex Acker ($800,000).

Losing Skinner would loosen a big man-heavy roster, which just added 6-foot-10 Blake Griffin, the top pick in Thursday's NBA draft. Three centers remain on the roster -- Chris Kaman, Marcus Camby and DeAndre Jordan -- along with power forward Zach Randolph.

Dunleavy again said the team had made no final decisions on that roster area.

"We're taking our time," he said. "We had a bunch of injuries last year. We'll see how things go."

But, Dunleavy added, the Clippers probably won't be too active on the signing front this summer.

"We probably won't be an immediate player in the free-agent market," he said.

"There'll be some players that are taken quickly . . . [but] then the market will settle and you'll be able to sit back and make some decisions."


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