The Michigan Daily - Thursday, September 8, 1988 - Page 25
Clippers grant 'M'
grad his wish
BY ADAM BENSON
LOS ANGELES - It was the
15th pick in the first round of the
June National Basketball Associa-
tion draft, and the Seattle Superson-
ics were preparing to select. Former
Michigan star guard Gary Grant was
This was a surprise to most ex-
perts because Grant seemed to be
perfect for the Los Angeles Clippers,
who had the sixth pick. The Clip-
pers, a team looking to install a new
run-and-gun offense similar to their
cross-town rivals -- the world
champion Lakers - had already sel-
ected Kansas superstar Danny Mann-
ing with the draft's first choice. But
'instead of picking Grant with the
;sixth pick, the Clippers chose Her-
sey Hawkins, the high-scoring guard
Unexpected names like Chris
"Morris, Willie Anderson, and Dan
Majerle had all been drafted before
Grant, and fans were beginning to
wonder who would pick up this
play-making, slick-handed guard.
The Supersonics did take Grant,
4 but in a spectacular trade they sent
:his rights to the Clippers in a com-
plicated three-team deal. It was a big
day for Los Angeles' other team.
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Along with Grant and Manning, the
Clippers acquired Charles Smith, the
No. 3 player selected in the draft,
from the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Clippers, with a 17-65 re-
cord, were the worst team in the
NBA last season.
"In the history of the draft I think
this is the best one ever for any
team," said Clippers Executive Vice
President-General Manager Elgin
Baylor. "We got three bona fide All-
Americans. That's probably never
happened before. We got what we
wanted; athletes who can run, play
up-tempo, hit the open shot - and
who can play basketball."
Grant himself was not pleased
about going 15, but he was happy to
be headed for Tinseltown.
"What I remember about Seattle
is that's where we (Michigan) lost in
the (NCAA) tournament," Grant
said. "I didn't want to get back there.
Getting traded to the Clippers means
that I've been blessed."
But on a day when Grant should
have been pleased, he found himself
answering the same questions that
faced him at the University.
"I am not unhappy at all with my
career," Grant said tactfully and
honestly. "We won 100 games at
Michigan and I felt that I improved
there. I know that I enjoyed it. I got
the brunt of the criticism for the
tournament games. I wish I'd done
Grant did help establish a
winning program at Michigan. Now,
the Clippers hope that he can do the
same for them. But Grant remained
cautious about the Clippers' future.
"We're going to get beat up quite
a bit," Grant said. "But after 30 or so
games, we won't really be rookies
any more. We're really looking at
being together for ten years or so,
and building something for the
Now that Grant knows where he
is going, the next question is what
his salary will be. Grant's agent is
Rick Brode, a Detroit-based attorney,
who also handles the Detroit Tigers'
Lou Whitaker and Alan Trammell. It
is Brode's hope that the Clippers
will remember Grant's outstanding
career - and not harp on his NCAA
"Gary Grant's role and function is
just as vital as that of a Manning
and a Smith," said Brode. "What
separates Gary is his defensive abi-
lity; he is a two-way guard. Most
guards specialize in just one area.
And Big Ten players are usually very
successful in the NBA."
The Clippers must sign three
high-priced draft picks while staying
under the NBA's $7 million salary
cap. It has been estimated that the
Clippers' payroll is at $3.8 million,
leaving little for their new players.
Manning's agent, Ron Grinker,
has publicly stated that he wants a
$35 million, ten-year deal for his
client, already complicating nego-
tiations for Grant. That, plus the fact
that L.A. is a historically thrifty
club, means that Grant and Brode
may have troubles even before tlie
"He (Grant) is not going to be
dribbling a basketball until he gets a
contract," Brode said.
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