The least successful franchise in NBA history has been transformed into a high-performance unit bound for success with four players who own world championship rings in Billups, Ronny Turiaf, Caron Butler and Lamar Odom (two), and two future Hall of Famers in Grant Hill and Paul who are worthy of a ring before their playing days end. The second-most successful franchise in NBA history, the Lakers have awarded five championship rings to Bryant, two to Pau Gasol and one to Ron Artest (now Metta World Peace). The Clippers essentially have four coaches in Paul, Billups, Hill and, um, … there's one more … oh, yeah, Vinny Del Negro. Meanwhile, the Lakers used their third different head coach when Mike D'Antoni finally made his debut Tuesday night.
Quotable: “Once I went down, everyone was counting me out because of my age and the stage in my career, but that fire doesn't just go away. I'm looking forward to getting back out there and helping my team out.” – Billups
Who ever would have thought the Clippers could earn a checkmark in management, particularly over the Lakers? The NBA's worst franchise assembled a stellar offseason haul with the signings of Crawford, Hill and Turiaf, plus the re-signings of Griffin and Billups. Meanwhile, Lakers management has Magic Johnson fuming about Mike Brown being hired as coach in the first place and Phil Jackson not being rehired. “I love (owner/president) Dr. (Jerry) Buss. I don't believe in (executive vice president) Jim Buss. To me, they made two critical mistakes,” said Johnson, who is more than just a former Lakers great. He also serves as a vice president on the club's executive committee.
Quotable: “It's kind of cool because I'm sitting there watching Jamal Crawford, Lamar Odom and all these great players on the court. I've never really seen that.” – Paul watching his new teammates on the first day of training camp