The conversation on FaceTime between Tobias Harris and his mother, Lisa Harris, had veered all over the place, from his brother and sister not playing much for their respective college basketball teams to, eventually, Harris and the Detroit Pistons.
She asked him, “What’s up with you guys and the Pistons?” He responded, “I don’t know, Mom, but I think a trade is about to happen or something.”
As they continued to talk, Harris’ cellphone buzzed with the news that he had been traded to the Clippers along with Avery Bradley and Boban Marjanovic as well as first- and second-round draft picks for Blake Griffin, Willie Reed and Brice Johnson. It soon became a reality.
But before Harris could take the call, his mother insisted they talk about other things.
Harris relished telling the story, laughing about it during Thursday’s news conference to introduce the Clippers’ newest players to the media at the team’s practice facility in Playa Vista.
“My mom has been through a few trades with me already,” he said, “and she was like, ‘Well, if you need me, I’ll come and pack.’ So I’m on the FaceTime with her and she’s telling me a story and I was getting a call and I said, ‘Aw, hold on, I’m about to be traded.’ She said, ‘No, no, I got to tell you this story.’ I said, ‘No, no, Ma, I got to take this call.’ And then I took the call and called her back and I was like, ‘Yeah, I just got traded.’ And she was like, ‘All right, let’s go.’ That’s just how my mom is: ‘All right, let’s go. We’re going to L.A. Let’s do it.’”
Harris, a 25-year-old who has been traded four times during his seven-year career, said his mother was going to pack up his stuff to send to Los Angeles.
For Bradley, he had to process the moment.
He had been acquired by the Pistons from the Boston Celtics last July and now seven months later had been dealt to the Clippers.
“I was a little shocked, but at the same time I was excited,” Bradley said, mentioning in particular coach Doc Rivers. “I knew I was going to get the opportunity to not only play for a great organization, but having the chance to play for Doc again. I thought it would be a great opportunity for me. I’m excited about this chance and excited to get out there on the floor.”
Bradley played for three seasons in Boston when Rivers was the coach. Having that familiarity with Rivers eased the transition.
“I feel like we were able to learn a lot. We’ve been through a lot of battles together,” Bradley said. “So to have a chance to play for him again, I think it’s really going to help improve my game even more.”
Bradley, 27, has been dealing with a groin injury that sidelined him for seven games, including the second night of back-to-back games.
He last played Saturday against the Oklahoma City Thunder, sitting out Sunday against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
“Health is good,” Bradley said. “I’ve been battling a groin injury the past month or so, but I feel like I’m in a good place now and ready to get out on the floor.”
The 7-foot-3, 290-pound Marjanovic displayed his sense of humor when explaining how he found out about the trade. He was happy to join the Clippers, he said, because he played with point guard Milos Teodosic on the Serbian national team.
“I was home playing with my kid and I look at my phone and one moment I see call from our Coach Stan [Van Gundy] and he said you get traded,” Marjanovic said. “The first time I was like, ‘Huh!’ I don’t know what’s happening because you never expect.
“It surprised me and then I say, ‘OK, this is great stuff.’ I know a couple of guys here. I know Milos, which is most important. And it’s for sure sunnier than Detroit.”
Marjanovic, 29, laughed.
“The one thing I like about all three of them is they are very serious, hard-working, hard-playing dudes,” Rivers said. “They kind of fit in with our culture that we’re trying to build here and so I think that’s a good thing.”
Rivers said that Bradley would start at guard and Harris at small forward Saturday when the Clippers play the Chicago Bulls at Staples Center.
Rivers said that Marjanovic would provide some relief at center behind DeAndre Jordan, who also is dealing with trade rumors.
That has led to several conversations between Rivers and Jordan.
“Listen, DJ is human, just like we all are,” Rivers said. “I can tell you with DJ, I have talked with him multiple times, because DJ is a very emotional player and I want to just try to keep his head right as much as possible.”