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Willie Green likes direction Clippers are headed

August 03, 2012|By Broderick Turner
  • Willie Green gets past Bulls forward Luol Deng to score for the Hawks last season.
Willie Green gets past Bulls forward Luol Deng to score for the Hawks last… (Jonathan Daniel / Getty…)

Willie Green saw the transformation of the Clippers, how the organization had evolved from a place where most players wanted to escape to becoming a desired destination.

Green heard how excited his former teammate, Chris Paul, was about Clippers Nation and how the new players such as Lamar Odom, Chauncey Billups, Caron Butler and Jamal Crawford as well as drafted players such as Blake Griffinand DeAnde Jordan felt about playing for the Clippers these days.

So when it came time for the free-agent guard to make a decision on where he wanted to extend his NBA career, the Clippers were an easy option for Green.

“From the outside looking in years ago, we looked at the Clippers as a team that was not really competing for a playoff run,” Green said Friday in a phone interview. “But the last few years, that perception has changed.

“You can see the pieces that they have added, the new practice facility and the investment that they are putting in. They want to win and they want to be a special team.”

Green, 31, was acquired by the Clippers in a sign-and-trade deal with the Atlanta Hawks last week.

Over his nine-year NBA career, he averaged 9.1 points, 1.9 rebounds and 1.5 assists.

The 6-foot-3 Green, who is considered a combo guard capable of running the point, averaged 7.6 points in 17.4 minutes last season in Atlanta.

His role with the Clippers could be significant and Green could be a starter if Billups is still recovering from left Achilles’ tendon surgery.

Green took his physical Friday in Los Angeles and stopped by the team’s training facility to talk with Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro about the season and his role.

“When you come into the season, we all understand that nothing is really promised to us,” Green said. “But I have an opportunity to be on a very good team and an opportunity to compete for some good minutes. I think that’s what I look forward to -- the competitive nature and the competitive side of things. Those were the things that we discussed.”

Green also spoke to Paul, his teammate during the 2010-11 season with the New Orleans Hornets, about joining the Clippers.

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