The Clippers began twice-daily practices Saturday at Cal Poly Pomona without first-round draft choice Benoit Benjamin and free-agent guard Norm Nixon, which disturbed Coach Don Chaney.
“Norm is not only hurting himself by not being here, but he’s hurting the team,” Chaney said. “But I’m more worried about Benjamin than anyone else. To miss even two or three days of practice, it will set him back half a season. For a 20-year-old rookie, you have to be here the first day or you can’t catch up.”
Clipper management continued negotiations with Larry Fleisher, Benjamin’s agent, Saturday. Benjamin has asked for a three-year guaranteed contract at $1 million a year. While General Manager Carl Scheer says the sides still are far apart, he is also optimistic that Benjamin will come to terms soon.
Chaney, who is also represented by Fleisher, said: “I’ve been trying to get both parties to get it done. I’ve been yelling at Larry to get Benjamin in camp and hounding at Carl to hurry and get it done.”
No one is optimistic about Nixon signing soon. Nixon has asked for a four-year guaranteed contract for $800,000 a year. Fred Slaughter, Nixon’s agent, said the negotiations have stalled.