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Blake Griffin a bargaining tool in Clippers' pursuit of LeBron James

During their meeting with James, the Clippers pitch the idea that Griffin would be a good complement to the coveted free agent.

July 02, 2010|By Lisa Dillman

Undoubtedly, one reason the Clippers found themselves pitching LeBron James and his management team on Friday afternoon in Cleveland had to do with a certain power forward from Oklahoma.

Perhaps it's too early to add the words 'miracle worker' to Blake Griffin's resume. Grabbing rebounds in a regular-season NBA game will suffice.

But Griffin is the X-factor in the Clippers' courtship of the coveted free-agent James. Remember when James made his way down the court and ended up in front of the Clippers bench in January at Staples Center and hugged the injured Griffin?

Griffin, really, is almost like the free agent who has already been signed. A wingman in place.

"That's what I told Bron in the meeting," said Clippers' General Manager Neil Olshey in a telephone interview from Cleveland. "I don't have to sit here and tell you that you need to bring someone with you. Or that we need to go out and get someone else.

"I have the guy."

That would be Griffin.

Olshey had a good line after the meeting in Cleveland, passed along by Brian Windhorst of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, saying: "Now I can absolutely, unequivocally say that Blake Griffin is as good a Robin to his Batman as there is available in the league."

The Clippers' presentation — from Olshey and team president Andy Roeser — lasted about an hour, and followed a long pitch session from Heat officials, and they teased Miami Team President Pat Riley about going overtime.

New Jersey and the Knicks presented their case to James on Thursday, and the final two slots, both on Saturday, go to Cleveland and the Bulls.

James asked about the Clippers' coaching situation. It is down to current Mavericks assistant Dwane Casey and former Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro and expected to be resolved next week.

The Clippers, with the help of their TV partners at Fox, produced a DVD for James hitting the highlights of Los Angeles. But it went beyond the usual vision of L.A., also showing the Clippers' training facility in Playa Vista and had action footage of Griffin and Baron Davis and Clippers teammates.

"We felt if we couldn't bring LeBron to L.A., we'd bring L.A. to LeBron," Olshey said.

lisa.dillman@latimes.com

twitter.com/reallisa

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