Clippers open training facility, will play on Christmas

Amid the talk about players' being able to work out at the Clippers' training facility Thursday for the first time since the NBA lockout was lifted and the talk about Blake Griffin's being the first to show up, predictably Coach Vinny Del Negro was asked about rumors regarding big-name players looking to play for his team.

Wisely, Del Negro wouldn't say the names of Dwight Howard from the Orlando Magic or Chris Paul from the New Orleans Hornets, players who have been mentioned as looking to be traded to the Clippers.

Howard and Paul both are under contract, but that hasn't stopped the persistent rumors.

"If there are opportunities for us to look at any free agents, this year, next year or whatever, we're always are going to try to keep our flexibility where we can add pieces to build around our young nucleus to give us the best opportunity for success," Del Negro said.

For now, the Clippers have Griffin, Eric Gordon and a nice mixture of players that Del Negro likes.

And because they are a team on the rise, the Clippers will play the Golden State Warriors on Christmas night in Oakland, two people with knowledge of the situation who were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter confirmed Thursday.

The NBA will have five games on Christmas.

Three Clippers — Griffin, Brian Cook and Al-Farouq Aminu — showed up at the team's site Thursday in Playa Vista.

After his workout, Griffin disappointed a group of media members looking to interview him by sneaking out a back door without talking.

Griffin didn't have to speak with the media because it wasn't mandatory.

It was just that many in the media figured Griffin, who has become the face of the franchise, would be willing to talk about the upcoming season and how he felt about the collective bargaining agreement almost being ratified.

Cook, an eight-year veteran, said he took his physical Thursday and was excited about playing again.

"I think it's going to be a great season for us," Cook said. "We have a young team and if we can jump out quick, we can be good."

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