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Clippers' Chris Kaman warns players must prepare for potential lockout

CLIPPERS FYI

Amid negotiations and the commissioner's statement on cutting player income, the center says he is saving money and following what's happening. News comes in midst of long practice session.

October 21, 2010|By Lisa Dillman

And so, the NBA's work schedule is only days away from officially starting and the chief starts talking about future wage cuts.

Not just by 10%, either. How about in the neighborhood of 35% to 38%?

That was, more or less, what happened Thursday in the NBA. Commissioner David Stern told reporters that the league would be seeking a cut in player income anywhere from $750 million to $800 million. This was after an owners meeting in New York.

"There's a lot of negotiations that are going on, and I don't really know how it's going to end up," the Clippers' Chris Kaman said Thursday. "They're saying lockout. You just never know. You've just got to be ready and prepare yourself for that, moneywise.

"I've been saving a lot — looking out."

Stern's comments came out when the Clippers were in the midst of an extremely long practice session, lasting nearly three hours. That was to be expected after a day off and a 1-7 exhibition season record. Even one of the players' wives tweeted, annoyed, that practice was lasting so long.

Of course there may not be any practices at this time next season if there is indeed a lockout.

"I think it's bad for the league when that happens, any league," Kaman said. "It hurts your product. I don't think either side wants that. But I think the owners are a little frustrated, losing money the last few years. And I think the players aren't going to back down."

Injury update

Meanwhile, there was some good news for the Clippers on the Blake Griffin front.

The power forward, who missed the final two games of the exhibition season because of a sprained left ankle, took part in the long practice session.

Not able to take part Thursday were shooting guard Eric Gordon (sprained right ankle) and forward Craig Smith (back). Gordon hurt his ankle in the final preseason game, against Sacramento on Tuesday night.

Though Gordon was limping after the Kings' game, he optimistically predicted he would practice on Thursday. Swelling in the ankle, unfortunately, prevented that from happening.

"Craig will be out a few days with his back," said Clippers' Coach Vinny Del Negro, who added that Smith had an MRI exam.

"Eric hopefully will be back tomorrow. We've got some minor things guys are fighting through. These are real important practices the next four or five days.

"Just wanted to give him [Gordon] a little more rest. He still has some swelling in the ankle."

Said Gordon: "The swelling is going down, just a little bit of pain. I'll be fine."

Etc.

About the only question lingering in camp has to do with center Jarron Collins, who is here on a non-guaranteed contract. It looks as though his future with the Clippers may not be determined for a few more days, based on what happens elsewhere in the league.

"You tell me," said Collins, smiling, when asked whether he knew anything. "You'll have to ask them.… I've been in this position before."

That was his first year in the NBA, in Utah. Collins said he found out he made the team two days before the regular season started.

"Nine years later, I'm still here," he said.

lisa.dillman@latiimes.com

twitter.com/reallisa

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