13 Los Angeles Clippers The money is (finally) flowing, but it won't pay dividends this year

October 27, 2003

For a man known for keeping a vice grip on his wallet, owner
Donald Sterling spent money like Mike Tyson last summer. In
addition to lavishing a six-year, $82 million contract on forward
Elton Brand, Sterling matched Utah's offer sheet and shelled out
$42 million over six years for 6'6" slasher Corey Maggette. While
Sterling, who had never before signed a player to more than a $15
million deal, must have been jarred by the experience, re-signing
Maggette at that price may turn out to be a bargain.

A versatile swingman who leaps as though he has Flubber-soled
shoes, Maggette can also defend well, shoot with range, take his
man off the dribble and handle the ball. And although he's only
23, he will provide leadership as well. Maggette was supposed to
anchor the L.A. bench last year but was promoted to the starting
lineup at the beginning of the season. He flourished, scoring
16.8 points per game--second on the team, behind Brand--and
continuing his four-year streak of raising his average every
season.

After signing for big bucks, Maggette splurged by taking his
extended family on a Hawaiian vacation. When the Clippers opened
camp in Palm Springs, Calif., he was still aglow about his new
contract. "It shows they reward hard work," Maggette says. He's
also "extremely happy" that the team hired Mike Dunleavy as
coach. "He's the kind of guy who's going to teach us and make us
show pride," says Maggette, who left Duke to turn pro in 1999 and
was replaced in the Blue Devils' lineup by Dunleavy's son Mike
Jr., now with the Warriors. "I know he expects big things out of
me."

Who knows? Maybe if Maggette delivers, Sterling will finally
realize that there's value in money well spent. --L.J.W.

COLOR PHOTO: JOHN W. MCDONOUGH Corey Maggette

ENEMY LINES
an opposing team's scout sizes up the Clippers

"I don't want to hear about a 'new era' because Donald Sterling
gave big free-agent contracts to Elton Brand and Corey Maggette.
They could have spent close to $20 million more and still stayed
under the luxury tax, but Sterling would rather put that money in
an apartment building than in the Clippers. If the owner doesn't
care about the team's success, then why should the players? ...
Maggette needs to learn to swing the ball to the open man; he
can't just go up with his shot every time. They re-signed him
instead of Lamar Odom, but while Maggette is the harder worker,
Odom has more talent. You'll see it come out now that Odom is
with Pat Riley in Miami.... Mike Dunleavy will do a good job of
teaching the young guys. They have a couple of promising power
forwards in Chris Wilcox and Melvin Ely, but it's going to be
hard to develop them because they need Brand to play close to 40
minutes a game.... They're still athletic, and to take advantage
of that, they'll try to push the tempo. But Dunleavy can't get
around the fact that his point guards will be overmatched most
nights. Marko Jaric has trouble advancing the ball upcourt
because he reacts to pressure by turning his back. When opponents
lay off him, he'll have better nights. At his height [6'8"] he
sees the floor well, and he's able to take and make the big
shots.... Michael Olowokandi allowed them to play man-to-man in
the post, but with centers like Predrag Drobnjak, rookie Chris
Kaman [the Number 6 pick from Central Michigan] and Ely, they're
going to have to double-team in the post. Plus their guards are
going to need help stopping penetration into the paint.... It's
going to be hard for Dunleavy to win more than 30 games."

FAST FACT

Elton Brand was the NBA's top offensive rebounder the past two
seasons with an average of 5.0 in 2001-02 and 4.6 last season.

PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP
with 2002-03 statistics

Record: 27-55 (13th in West)
Points scored: 93.8 (20th in NBA)
Points allowed: 97.9 (22nd)
Coach: Mike Dunleavy (first season with Clippers)

PREDRAG DROBNJAK[1]

POS. PVR PPG RPG APG BPG SPG FG% 3FG%
C 189 9.4 3.9 1.0 0.46 0.59 41.2 35.3

COREY MAGGETTE

POS. PVR PPG RPG APG BPG SPG FG% 3FG%
SF 63 16.8 5.0 1.9 0.25 0.86 44.4 35.0

MARKO JARIC

POS. PVR PPG RPG APG SPG FG% 3FG% FT%
PG 141 7.4 2.4 2.9 1.47 40.1 31.9 75.2

QUENTIN RICHARDSON

POS. PVR PPG RPG APG SPG FG% 3FG% FT%
SG 181 9.4 4.8 0.9 0.59 37.2 30.8 68.5

ELTON BRAND

POS. PVR PPG RPG APG BPG SPG FG% FT%
PF 12 18.5 11.3 2.5 2.55 1.15 50.2 68.5

BENCH PVR* 2002-03 KEY STATS

G KEYON
DOOLING 203 6.4 ppg 1.3 rpg 1.6 apg 0.44 spg 38.9 FG%
F-G[1] GLEN
RICE 207 9.0 ppg 2.5 rpg 1.0 apg 42.9 FG% 39.8 3FG%
C[1] CHRIS
(R) KAMAN 236 22.4 ppg 12.0 rpg 1.2 apg 3.16 bpg 62.2 FG%
G[1] EDDIE
HOUSE 245 7.5 ppg 1.8 rpg 1.6 apg 0.80 spg 38.7 FG%
C-F MELVIN
ELY 250 4.5 ppg 3.3 rpg 0.62 bpg 49.5 FG% 70.3 FT%

NEW ACQUISITION[1]
(R) Rookie (statistics for final college season)
*PVR: Player Value Ranking (explanation on page 94)

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)