Reporting from East Rutherford, N.J. — What can Brown do for you?
The Clippers could find out as soon as tonight after acquiring point guard Bobby Brown on Tuesday from the New Orleans Hornets for a conditional second-round draft pick, a move they hope will bolster their depleted backcourt.
The Clippers pounced on the opportunity to add the former Westchester High and Cal State Fullerton player after recent injuries to guards Sebastian Telfair and Eric Gordon forced them to sign JamesOn Curry from the Development League. Telfair will be sidelined at least a month because of a groin injury and Gordon has missed three consecutive games because of a sprained big toe on his left foot.
The 6-foot-2 Brown gives the Clippers an element they had been missing: a small, quick guard who can defend similarly skilled counterparts.
"It's a great pickup for us," Clippers General Manager and Coach Mike Dunleavy said. "He's a guy who can score and has great quickness. Offensively, I know he's fast and he can shoot the ball, which are two good qualities for us."
Brown also probably won't cost the Clippers anything. New Orleans will more than cover his $736,420 salary in payments to the Clippers while shedding that salary from its payroll to move under the NBA's luxury-tax threshold. The Clippers will have to forfeit a draft pick in 2014 only if they finish among the NBA's top five teams that season.
Brown was scheduled to join the Clippers on Tuesday night and could make his debut in tonight's game against New Jersey. The Clippers released Curry, whom they had recently signed to a 10-day contract, to create a roster spot for Brown.
Brown, 25, was averaging 6.6 points and 2.1 assists this season in 22 games for the Hornets. But his playing time had been curtailed this month after being supplanted by Darren Collison as Chris Paul's primary backup.
Undrafted out of Fullerton, where he was the Titans' all-time leading scorer, Brown helped Alba Berlin win the German League title in 2007-08 before signing with Sacramento as a free agent. He played in 68 games as an NBA rookie last season with the Kings and Minnesota Timberwolves, averaging 5.3 points.
"When he's played consistent minutes like he did in Sacramento, he's produced," said Clippers assistant general manager Neil Olshey, who got a close look at Brown a few years ago when he helped conduct summer workouts for local college players.
If the Clippers like the way Brown performs, they can extend him a qualifying offer next summer that would make him a restricted free agent.
Olshey said the Brown deal was not an indication that Gordon's injury was more serious than initially feared. The second-year guard continues to be listed as day to day. But the Clippers also can't escape the fact their depth at point guard does not extend beyond Baron Davis and Mardy Collins.
"We have one more injury," Olshey said, "and we're down to one point guard."