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Clippers trade Quentin Richardson for Timberwolves trio

L.A. deals away the just-acquired swingman for Minnesota's Craig Smith, Sebastian Telfair and ex-Laker Mark Madsen.

July 21, 2009|LISA DILLMAN

The last few weeks featured a couple of deft maneuvers by the Clippers, enabling them to get out from under a big contract and acquire some necessary bench strength.

There was a link between the deals.

The first shed them Zach Randolph money. The Clippers traded him to Memphis for Quentin Richardson and then dealt Richardson Monday to Minnesota for three players -- forward Craig Smith, former Laker Mark Madsen and much-traveled point guard Sebastian Telfair.

It was like flipping a house for sale. Only faster.

Starting with the NBA draft on June 25, Richardson has been with four teams -- New York, Memphis, the Clippers and now Minnesota -- in less than a month.

The Randolph-Richardson trade became official only Friday -- it was held up by accounting issues and the waiver period for another unrelated deal -- "If you blinked, you missed it," Clippers General Manager and Coach Mike Dunleavy joked about his team's Richardson era.

It was not out of the question that the Timberwolves could move him again.

Monday's trade doesn't close the door on other potential future Clippers moves -- whether it's the Ramon Sessions path or Allen Iverson route.

There are hurdles with both scenarios.

Sessions, the Milwaukee Bucks' point guard, is a restricted free agent. And while there are reports that the Knicks are poised to present Sessions an offer sheet using their $5.8-million mid-level exception, the Bucks would have a week to match the any offer from New York, the Clippers or anyone else.

Iverson remains a polarizing figure. The free-agent guard is expected to meet with Dunleavy late this week, with the main issue being whether Iverson would accept a secondary role and come off the bench.

That, famously, was a major point of contention in Iverson's combustible tour of duty with the Detroit Pistons last season.

And so, a smaller move involving a guard unfolded with the Timberwolves deal, as the Clippers addressed their lack of depth at point guard.

Telfair "is a real play-making point guard, and Craig Smith averaged 10 points in under 20 minutes. He can put points on the board," Dunleavy said. "And Mark Madsen is a great hustle guy, great chemistry guy."

Smith, 25, played mostly power forward for Minnesota last season but can play both forward positions. Madsen and Smith have expiring contracts, as does Richardson. Telfair, who recently turned 24, has two years left -- at $2.5 million this year and $2.7 million for the 2010-11 season.

The Timberwolves were eager to clear cap room for 2010-11, and General Manager David Kahn was asked how much this had to do with Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio, the No. 5 overall pick in the NBA draft.

"This isn't a precursor of any sort," Kahn said on a conference call from an airport in New York, en route to Spain to negotiate with officials from Rubio's team.

Madsen, who returns to the city where he started his NBA career, received the news from his agent while he was at the airport in Minnesota.

Madsen, 33, was a hugely popular figure with the Lakers, especially with his well-known victory dance and speech at the team's championship parades.

"Of all the cities, I get to go there," Madsen told the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

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lisa.dillman@latimes.com

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