The blockbuster free agent summer of 2010 is almost upon us, and rumors are already flying about which NBA players are going where. The latest rumor that has fans buzzing has impending free agents Speedy Claxton and Steve Novak joining forces to play together in 2010.
The powerful pairing could shift the balance of power in the NBA.
“I’m not saying it’s a definite, but it’s something we’ve both talked about,” Claxton told reporters on Monday. “Just thinking about what me and Steve can accomplish together is pretty exciting. That being said, nobody knows what’s going to happen in the summer so it’s really pointless to speculate. Sorry to tease you like this, guys. I’m sure I just caused mass hysteria on the blogosphere.”
Claxton said he isn’t worried about how his legacy would be affected by having to share championships and accolades with another player.
“I don’t worry about those kinds of things,” he said. “I’m fine with sharing the glory with Steve. The only thing standing in the way of this whole thing is the front offices. It’s hard to believe any owner or GM would want to let me and Novie play on the same team together. There will probably be lots of collusion and stuff to prevent it, and who could blame them?”
Adding to the already frenzied Novak-Claxton speculation was Novak’s comment that he and Claxton had already privately committed to playing together in 2010.
“We’ve had conversations. We’ve made plans. I’d say it’s fairly obvious that both of us want to play together,” Novak said of the rumors. “The only thing I wonder: would the crushing media attention and non-stop hype be overwhelming? Probably. But you can’t run from that kind of thing. It’s part of what we do.”
A day later, Novak said he regretted making the comments and vowed not to talk about free agency again for the rest of the season.
“I shouldn’t have opened my big mouth and started all this speculation,” Novak said. “Right now my main focus is on this team and getting us to the playoffs. All this free agent stuff is starting to be a distraction, especially when I go to a place like New York and people are holding up signs and chanting my name. It’s embarrassing.”
With his projected season debut just a week away, Clippers No. 1 overall pick Blake Griffin faked a season-ending injury, in hopes he would never have to play for the cursed franchise.
"I wasn't thrilled to be drafted by the Clippers. But I didn't have a choice," Griffin said. "Then I got hurt in the preseason and it dawned on me I hold the power. I can avoid playing here forever if I handled this the right way. If I can just trick the Clippers into thinking I'm injury-prone, they might trade me to a decent team and my career. I have hope again. Going through the pain of unnecessary surgery can't take that away."
Griffin's "injury" is the latest setback for a franchise that has won just one playoff series since leaving Buffalo in the late '70s. Still, Clippers coach/GM Mike Dunleavy remains optimistic about Griffin's future.
"This is just a minor setback in what we hope will be a long and fruitful career for Blake," he said. "We see him averaging 7 points and 3 rebounds for us for many years to come. We're talking Michael Olowakandi numbers."
Before Griffin dramatically screamed and fell to ground in his recent rehab session screaming "Oh! Cruel fates! I am hurt! I am a broken man! Woe is me!" Griffin let agent Jeff Schwartz know that this latest setback would be entirely fabricated. Schwartz has already been in contact with more than a dozen other NBA franchises to let them know that Griffin is perfectly healthy and ready to play for a team with a winning history beginning next October.
But Dunleavy remains convinced that after his star's "rehab", Griffin will be playing at a mediocre level with the Clippers for years to come.
"Blake's not going anywhere," said Dunleavy. "You can't shed the stigma of being a Clipper easily, even by just playing with us in the preseason. It sticks with you forever, dragging you ever lower. And if we traded every player who didn't want to play for the Clippers, we wouldn't have enough to put a team on the court. Heck, I don't even want to be here. But no matter what I do, they won't fire me. It's infuriating."