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Clippers get holiday start; Caron Butler, Chris Paul talk in mix

They will play Golden State on Christmas in nationally televised game to start abbreviated season. Free agent Butler visits for second day as rumors about team's being in running for Paul intensify.

December 06, 2011|By Broderick Turner
  • New Orleans point guard Chris Paul speaks with the media following a workout session on Thursday. The Clippers are supposedly one of several teams interested in acquiring Paul.
New Orleans point guard Chris Paul speaks with the media following a workout… (Gerald Herbert / Associated…)

As the Clippers learned their 66-game schedule Tuesday, free agent Caron Butler visited for the second straight day and rumors intensified the team is one of several trying to acquire New Orleans point guard Chris Paul.

With Blake Griffin becoming must-see TV, the Clippers are one of 10 teams opening the regular season on Christmas, according to the schedule announced by the NBA.

They play at the Golden State Warriors on Christmas night in a nationally televised game on ESPN, which will be one of 22 times the Clippers will be on national television.

After playing their first two games on the road — the other is at San Antonio on Dec. 28 — the Clippers open at Staples Center against league most valuable player Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls on Dec. 30.

The Clippers will play two sets of back-to-back-to-back games. They will play host to New Jersey on Jan. 16 at Staples Center, travel to Utah on Jan. 17, and be back at home Jan. 18 to face the defending NBA champion Dallas Mavericks.

The other back-to-back-to-back games are all on the road — March 20 at Indiana, March 21 at Oklahoma City and March 22 at New Orleans.

The Clippers play the Lakers three times — two of them will be the Clippers' home game in the Staples Center arena both share.

The Clippers face LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and the Miami Heat just once (Jan. 11 at Staples Center). The Clippers also play the Boston Celtics (March 12 at Staples Center), Orlando Magic (in Orlando on Feb. 6), New York Knicks (regular-season finale April 25 in New York) and Bulls — teams considered marquee — just once.

The Clippers will play 48 games against Western Conference teams — including four games against Kevin Durant and Oklahoma City and three against Dallas — and 18 against the Eastern Conference.

The Clippers hope Butler will be a part of what they are trying to build.

As for Butler, he was impressed by what he heard and saw at the facility.

"Things went good," Butler said in a text message while he was boarding a flight to San Antonio to speak with the Spurs later that night. "We'll see how it goes. It's a place I definitely can help."

Mo Williams, who was acquired last season in the Baron Davis deal, made a strong pitch to Butler on Tuesday.

"We're all fully aware of the culture of the persona of the Clippers," Williams said. "That's one thing I told him: 'You can forget about that. That's no more. We're going to win.' That's the selling pitch that I gave to him."

Also, the Clippers have offered restricted free-agent center DeAndre Jordan a five-year, $40-million deal, but he's first going to get an offer sheet from another team before making a decision, said a person with knowledge of the situation who was not authorized to speak on the matter.

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