Clippers sign center Cole Aldrich to two-year deal

Cole Aldrich, Andrew Nicholson

Knicks center Cole Aldrich (45) battles with Magic forward Andrew Nicholson for a rebound.

(John Raoux / Associated Press)

Having persevered through the dizzying DeAndre Jordan saga, the Clippers on Monday went about the far less stressful business of securing Jordan’s backup.

The team signed journeyman center Cole Aldrich to a two-year contract, with the second year a player option. Aldrich will make the veteran’s minimum of $1.1 million for next season.

Aldrich, 26, will be joining his fifth team after spending his first five NBA seasons mostly as a backup with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets, Sacramento Kings and New York Knicks. He is coming off his best season, having averaged career highs in points (5.5), rebounds (5.5), blocks (1.1) and minutes per game (16.6) with the Knicks.

The 6-foot-11 Aldrich has not lived up to expectations after having been selected 11th overall from Kansas in the 2010 draft, but he should be an upgrade defensively over Spencer Hawes, whom the Clippers traded last month to the Charlotte Hornets.


The Clippers also on Monday formally announced the signing of guard Austin Rivers, who had earlier agreed to a two-year, $6.4-million contract that includes a player option in the second year.

The team remains in discussions with the representatives of forwards Josh Smith, Darrell Arthur and Glen Davis, though a person close to Smith said he is also speaking with several other suitors. The Clippers have only veteran’s minimum contracts to offer to complete their roster.

Second-round draft pick Branden Dawson remains a strong candidate to make the team after a solid showing in the Orlando summer league. The Clippers paid the New Orleans Hornets $630,000 for the rights to select the forward with the 56th pick in the draft.

The signings of Aldrich and Rivers give the Clippers 12 players under contract for next season, meaning there are as many as three roster spots available. Forward Jordan Hamilton and guard Lester Hudson have nonguaranteed contracts, allowing the Clippers to waive them to create another spot if needed.


Times staff writer Broderick Turner and correspondent Eric Pincus contributed to this report.

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