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Clippers acquire Trey Thompkins, Travis Leslie in NBA draft

The Clippers use their two second-round picks on the Georgia teammates. Thompkins is a 6-foot-81/2, 239-pound power forward; Leslie is a 6-3, 205-pound guard. Center Chris Kaman remains with the team.

June 23, 2011|By Lisa Dillman
  • Georgia forward Trey Thompkins reacts after hitting a three-point shot against Alabama in the SEC tournament.
Georgia forward Trey Thompkins reacts after hitting a three-point shot… (Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images )

Moving Day came and went and the longest-tenured Clipper was not required to pack up his things and head east. Or anywhere else.

In other words, center Chris Kaman was still very much a Clipper.

Most of the buzz , locally, leading up to the NBA draft Thursday had to do with Kaman's future, with his expiring contract a prime bargaining chip in trying to land a star small forward.

Any such discussions were largely held before Thursday — and in fact, nothing truly ever got close — leaving Neil Olshey, the Clippers' vice president of basketball operations, and his staff to concentrate on the team's two second-round picks.

And they made it an extremely narrow focus, taking two players from the University of Georgia with their two selections, power forward Trey Thompkins, once a projected first-round pick, at No. 37 and then guard Travis Leslie at No. 47.

"It was a very active night, actually," Olshey said. "We had other goals to accomplish tonight beyond just using two mid-second-round picks. But we went into tonight's room saying, unless we were going to make a huge impact trade that was going to get us into the next level as far as being a factor to get us into the playoffs, we were going to abstain.

"Keep our powder dry. [We have] 12 million in [cap] room next year. We like the roster as it is."

The two draft picks played three years at Georgia. Thompkins is 6 feet 81/2 and 239 pounds and Leslie is 6-3, 205 pounds. Those are measurements from pre-draft camp in Chicago in early June.

Thompkins, who made the all-Southeastern Conference first team three seasons in a row, averaged 16.4 points and 7.6 rebounds last season. He is close friends with Clippers forward Al-Farouq Aminu, and his father, Howard Thompkins, was drafted by the Atlanta Hawks in 1981.

Clippers executives were joking that they got Leslie, a noted dunker, to give Blake Griffin some competition in future dunk contests. Leslie averaged 14.4 points, 7.2 rebounds and 2.9 assists.

"We think we found two guys that add to our culture," Olshey said. "We've got one guy with an incredibly high skill ratio that's a nice counterpart to what Blake gives us at the four [power forward] and another guy on the wing that can be a lockdown defender in the second group."

There was, of course, the issue of trader's remorse.

The Clippers dealt their first-round pick to the Cavaliers in the Baron Davis deal, which resulted in the No. 1 overall selection for Cleveland, Kyrie Irving.

"There is no remorse," Olshey said. "We made the deal knowing there was an eventuality that it could be the No. 1 pick in the draft."

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