HANG TIME, TEXAS — Remember how things used to be with the Clippers? They were the NBA’s version of the groundhog, coming out on rare occasion only long enough to see their shadow and then going back into hibernation.
Not anymore, Punxsutawney Phil-breath.
After a thoroughly enjoyable 40-26 season that earned them the No. 5 seed in the Western Conference and then a stirring seven-game first-round playoff series win over Memphis, the Clips have hardly spent the summer relaxing on the beach.
Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times says they have boosted their bench with another addition:
The Clippers and free-agent Ronny Turiaf have agreed to a one-year, veteran’s minimum contract worth $1.146 million, said NBA executives who were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.
Turiaf, a 6-10, 245-pounder, will be a backup power forward and center for the Clippers.
He becomes the fifth big man for the Clippers – behind starters DeAndre Jordan, Blake Griffin and reserves Lamar Odom and Ryan Hollins – the 13th player on the roster.
Turiaf played his first three NBA seasons with the Lakers.
He played for the Washington Wizards and Miami Heat last season.
Turiaf played in 12 playoff games with the NBA champion Heat, seven as a starter.
He averaged 1.9 points and 2.6 rebounds in 10.1 minutes in the postseason with the Heat.
If you’re keeping up at home, the productive summer has seen the Clippers re-sign Chauncey Billups, traded for Odom, reeled in free agent Jamal Crawford, convinced veteran Grant Hill to look past his friendship with Steve Nash and the glamour of Kobe Bryant and the Lakers to sign on with L.A.’s once-junior franchise.
And most significant, they signed Griffin to a five-year, $95 million contract extension, and are looking to lock up Chris Paul next. And managed to do it all after Neil Olshey bailed as general manager to go to Portland.
All things considered, Turiaf is small piece that who will fill out the bench. But isn’t it further proof that Clipper Nation is now a real, thriving destination?