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Mike Dunleavy says Clippers' deals add depth

The team acquired point guard Sebastian Telfair, forward Craig Smith and former Laker Mark Madsen from Minnesota, but the deal-making could continue.

July 24, 2009|Mark Medina

Three times, Mike Dunleavy stood side by side Thursday with a newly acquired player from the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The cameras clicked while point guard Sebastian Telfair, forward Craig Smith and former Laker Mark Madsen separately displayed their new Clippers jerseys beside the coach and general manager.

On Monday the trio became Clippers when the team dealt guard Quentin Richardson to Minnesota.

It's already been a busy off-season for the Clippers, but the deal-making might continue.

The Clippers have acknowledged interest in free-agent guard Allen Iverson, assuming he would accept a bench role -- something the 34-year-old star complained about last season with the Detroit Pistons. The Clippers and the New York Knicks reportedly also are seeking a deal with restricted free-agent guard Ramon Sessions, though the Milwaukee Bucks would have a week to match any offer.

Dunleavy also said Thursday he doesn't expect No. 1 draft pick Blake Griffin's strained right shoulder to cause him any significant problems. Doctors said Wednesday Griffin would be sidelined three to four weeks and would miss USA Basketball's mini-camp in Las Vegas.

"The good news is they never mentioned surgery in any kind of the deal," Dunleavy said of Griffin, who was named the most outstanding player in the NBA's Summer League for averaging 19.2 points and 10.8 rebounds in five games. "I'm disappointed to hear anything that will put him on the shelf, because of his great work ethic. He had improved so much in the short period of time he was with us prior to going to summer league. But I don't think it's going to be a major setback for him at all."

The roster is far from complete, but Dunleavy said the Clippers' latest moves "add a lot of depth on our team."

Telfair acknowledged being frustrated at being on his fourth team in six years but said he thinks he can fit in by providing a leadership role as Baron Davis' backup. "I can bring leadership in the locker room," said Telfair, 24, who averaged a career-best 9.8 points and 4.6 assists with the Timberwolves last season.

Meanwhile, Smith, 25, the Inglewood native and former Fairfax High star, said he has received more than 150 text messages and phone calls from friends and family asking for tickets since the Clippers trade.

"I know how to use my body to be able to score pretty much quicker than a lot of the bigger guys," said Smith, a 6-7, 250-pound forward who averaged 10.1 points per game in about 20 minutes per game for Minnesota last season.

And there was Madsen, whose limited role in his nine-year career didn't stop fans from remembering him for his victory dance and speech at the Lakers' championship parades.

"I actually need to get a professional dance consultant if that does happen this season," Madsen said. "I'm excited to hopefully make the playoffs this year."


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