CLIPPERS

Clippers keep roster intact, but may see changes through buyouts

Tayshaun Prince and Kendrick Perkins may draw interest from Clippers to fill open spots and provide depth

Sometimes doing nothing can be the best move.

The Clippers hope that's the ultimate take-away from keeping their roster intact at the trade deadline Thursday after failing to find an upgrade on the perimeter.

Of course, their team may look a bit different in the coming days.

The Clippers could add a player bought out by another team to fill one of two open roster spots and provide depth, with All-Star forward Blake Griffin sidelined until next month following elbow surgery. Players can be bought out of their contracts until March 1 and be eligible to play in the playoffs for another team.

Among buyout candidates the Clippers would have interest in are veteran small forward Tayshaun Prince and center Kendrick Perkins. The Boston Celtics traded Prince to the Detroit Pistons on Thursday, and the Oklahoma City Thunder traded Perkins to the Utah Jazz in moves that are expected to be precursors to buyouts for both players.

The Clippers would face competition for Perkins, with the Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers also believed to be in pursuit of a player who spent 6 1/2 seasons and won an NBA title playing for Clippers Coach Doc Rivers in Boston.

Rivers, who also controls personnel moves as the Clippers' president of basketball operations, said he wasn't convinced that every player who sought a buyout would be granted one.

"Some of these teams are in the playoff race," Rivers said, possibly alluding to the Pistons. "You're not just going to buy out guys."

The Clippers' decision not to make any transactions Thursday means that shooting guard Jamal Crawford, the likely centerpiece of any trade, will remain with the team for the rest of the season.

Crawford appeared emotionally drained as he spoke with reporters at his locker before the Clippers' game against the San Antonio Spurs at Staples Center.

"I wouldn't say stressful, just weird," Crawford said of hearing his name in trade rumors the previous few days. "We've been here before."

Denver's Arron Afflalo was traded Thursday, but not to the Clippers. The Nuggets sent the former UCLA shooting guard and Alonzo Gee to Portland for Thomas Robinson, Will Barton, Victor Claver and a lottery-protected 2016 first-round draft pick.

The Nuggets decided to keep small forward Wilson Chandler, another player the Clippers were believed to have targeted.

The Clippers' efforts to bolster their team were complicated by a lack of assets. The team does not have a first-round draft pick it could trade before 2019, and is also limited by hovering close to the NBA's hard salary cap, which limits the amount of salary the Clippers can take back in a trade.

"We don't have a lot of assets that you can turn around," Rivers said, "so we kind of knew that going into it."

New sponsorship

The Clippers will announce on Friday a major sponsorship deal with American Airlines, the team's first new significant corporate partner since Steve Ballmer purchased the team for a record $2 billion.

As part of the deal, there will be an American Airlines logo on the court during Clippers games at Staples Center.

ben.bolch@latimes.com

Twitter: @latbbolch

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