Do you want the good news or the good news first, Clipper fans?
The Clippers staged a comeback to win their 4th exhibition game in 5 outings, 117-108, in overtime over the Seattle SuperSonics Wednesday night in front of 8,483 at the Sports Arena.
Perhaps more important, Danny Manning, the No. 1 pick in June’s National Basketball Assn. draft, is coming to Los Angeles today with agent Ron Grinker in hopes of ending a holdout. Because Grinker has said there will be no meetings until some worthwhile progress has been made, this represents a thawing in the heretofore icy relationship between the sides.
Grinker is asking 4 years at $3 million per year, and the Clippers’ offer is $1.5 million annually, although they could go as high as $2.2 million. That much of a compromise was apparently enough to bring out Grinker and Manning.
“I’m cautiously optimistic,” Grinker said Wednesday from Cincinnati.
Manning has taken out a $13-million insurance policy to protect himself in case of injury, namely before he is covered by a NBA contract. He is also backed financially by sponsorship deals with a shoe company and sporting goods company, and, Grinker said, Manning was supposed to make appearances for the sponsors in Cincinnati, Columbus, Ohio, and Louisville, Ky., that would make it impossible for the 1988 college player of the year from Kansas to go to California until Saturday.
So much for that notion.
Even without Manning, however, the Clippers are playing well.
Seattle led by as many as 22 points in the first half and then by 23 in the third quarter, 78-55. It started out bad for the Clippers, who didn’t get a field goal until Norm Nixon’s jumper almost 4 minutes into the game. Seattle led, 34-18, after the first quarter.
The Clippers closed the deficit with a 15-3 run over the last 5:11 of the third quarter to draw within 11 at the end of the quarter, 83-74. From there, they kept the pressure on, started hitting free throws and went ahead for the first time, 105-103, on Reggie Williams’ fall-away 18-footer with 10 seconds to play.
Seattle tied the game on a jumper from the free-throw line by Xavier McDaniel with 4 seconds left. But the Clippers controlled the overtime period.