Clippers Looking at Nuggets

Times Staff Writer

The Denver Nuggets appeared to be a step closer to landing at least one Clipper free agent, ready to spend some of their $18 million in salary cap space on 7-foot center Michael Olowokandi.

A Clipper for all five of his NBA seasons, Olowokandi has put the Nuggets atop his list of suitors, scheduling a meeting this weekend in Los Angeles with Denver General Manager Kiki Vandeweghe.

Small forward Lamar Odom also reportedly is set to meet with Vandeweghe in L.A. this weekend. Point guard Andre Miller was in Denver to meet with Vandeweghe and other Nugget officials Tuesday and Wednesday. Shooting guard Corey Maggette visited Denver last week.

Olowokandi, an unrestricted free agent, is eligible to sign with a new team or re-sign with the Clippers next Wednesday, although a handshake agreement can be struck before then.


“Denver has always been at the top of my list,” Olowokandi told a Denver reporter. “It’s a young team with a lot of promise.... There’s a lot more reasons [to sign with] Denver than anywhere else.”

Odom, Miller, Maggette and power forward Elton Brand are restricted free agents, with the Clippers holding the right to match offers from other teams. They have drawn interest from teams such as the Nuggets, Chicago Bulls, Miami Heat, Utah Jazz and San Antonio Spurs, who have cap space available.

The Clippers say they will make every effort to re-sign Olowokandi and to match any outside offers for their four restricted free agents. They have made Brand a five-season offer worth about $65 million.