SACRAMENTO — Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said Friday he will continue to search for a third big man to play behind starters Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, but Antawn Jamison won’t be given that opportunity right now.
Rivers said Jamison was signed to a one-year deal for “later” in the season.
It figures that Rivers wants to save the legs of the 37-year-old Jamison, a 15-year veteran.
“I knew what I was signing up for,” Jamison said. “From day one, whatever he’s asked of me, I’m going to do it. This is a challenge, but this is what is asked of me to do right now. So, I don’t have a problem with it as long as it’s for the sake of the team and as long as it puts us in a situation to still be playing in June [in the NBA Finals].”
Jamison didn’t play in the first two games against the Lakers and Golden State Warriors, or in the first half of Friday’s game against the Sacramento Kings.
Jamison was a two-time All-Star who is used to playing.
“Just mentally, it’s tough,” he said. “The easy part is when the game is going on. I’m always into it. It’s hard when I’m at home and you’re thinking about things. . . . I think the toughest thing for me is when I do get the chance to start playing, is trying to turn that switch back on quickly. I think once I learn how to do that, it’ll be all right.”
Bench still coming together
Rivers said it will probably take some time before his reserves become a really good unit.
Backup small forward Matt Barnes missed all but the last of eight exhibition games because of a sore left calf muscle and still is trying to work his way into shape. Backup point guard Darren Collison missed the last exhibition game with a bruised left kneecap and still isn’t all the way back.
Backup big man Byron Mullen has struggled and Ryan Hollins has been just OK. Other than sixth man Jamal Crawford, the rest of the reserves are trying to find their way.
“I don’t know if that’s a five-man unit yet,” Rivers said. “I would love for it to be, honestly. But I just don’t know if it will be or not.”