Clippers going to China before next season

Clippers going to China before next season
The Clippers will head to China for the second time in three years to play two exhibition games next fall. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

The Clippers added several thousand miles to their preseason itinerary Wednesday, announcing they would play the Charlotte Hornets in two exhibition games in China next season.

The flip side is that they will stay much closer to home for training camp.


Clippers Coach Doc Rivers intimated that his team would hold its camp in Southern California after spending five days in Las Vegas before this season. Among the options are Irvine, La Jolla and the Clippers' practice facility in Playa Vista, a team official said.

"I don't want to get on a plane again," Rivers said. "So we're going to do it somewhere, but it will be a bus ride."

The Clippers are expected to play only six or seven exhibition games, down from eight this season, as part of a condensed preseason that will allow for fewer stretches during the regular season when teams play four games in five days.

The Clippers will play the Hornets on Oct. 11 in Shenzen and on Oct. 14 in Shanghai as part of the NBA Global Games China 2015. Rivers said he had no input on the destination.

"I would rather go to Brazil," Rivers said. "I've been to China, so I'd like to go places I haven't been. But I don't mind those trips."

This will be the Clippers' second trip to China after also having played exhibition games there in 2012. Blake Griffin said he has already visited the country three times and could go again this summer.

"There's more people who play basketball in China than there are here," Griffin said. "So it's cool just to be able to see that frenzy and see how excited people are about basketball."

Outcome pleases Griffin

In his first comments since his misdemeanor battery case was dropped Monday, Griffin said he was pleased that witness testimony convinced the Las Vegas district attorney that there was insufficient evidence to proceed.

"I'm just happy that the D.A. reviewed it and this came to light," Griffin said.

Daniel Schuman, 39, of West Hollywood told police in October that Griffin had snatched his cellphone and grabbed him after Schuman took a photo of Clippers players at the Tao nightclub inside the Venetian resort. The Clippers were in Las Vegas at the time for an exhibition game.

Unhappy ending

Mike Woodson never had a chance.

At least that was Woodson's opinion of his fate with the New York Knicks once Phil Jackson became team president last March. The Knicks won 15 of their final 21 games under Woodson last season to finish one game out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Those now qualify as high-flying days for a team with the worst record in the NBA, but Woodson said Jackson had already envisioned having another coach upon his arrival.

"I think when Phil came in, he had his mind made up based on what he wanted to do, and I can respect that," said Woodson, now a Clippers assistant coach. "There's nothing I can say bad about Phil."

Woodson said he had no regrets about his two-plus years that included an Atlantic Division title and the Knicks' first playoff series victory in 13 years.

"I had an opportunity here and I didn't get it done, I guess, so I had to move on," said Woodson, who noted he would like to be a head coach again. "I'm happy ... to be in L.A. with Doc."

Twitter: @latbbolch