Brewing Controversy Between Telfair, Clippers’ Players and Dunleavy

Published on: 19th December, 2009

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Brewing Controversy Between Telfair, Clippers' Players and Dunleavy  | read this item

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New York — There’s a brewing controversy in the Los Angeles Clippers organization between head coach Mike Dunleavy and some of the Clippers players  over playing time and the way Dunleavy is rotating his players in and out of games .

The Clippers, who lost last night to the Knicks to drop their record to 11-14, had acquired point guard Sebastian Telfair from the Minnesota Timberwolves during this past off-season along with Craig Smith and Mark Madsen in exchange for Quentin Richardson. Although Telfair was slated to back up starting point guard Baron Davis, he was also expected to see important minutes for his new team. 

Instead, Dunleavy has chosen to play Telfair about 12 minutes per game, basically to rest Davis in the second and late third quarters. Telfair, having averaged around 30 minutes per game over the past two years for the T-Wolves, has rarely played during crunch time of games.

The last time Telfair played in this arena, as a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves, he lit up the Knicks for 23 points and seven assists in a T-Wolve win. Tonight, in front of the Garden crowd, it was a very different story for the Brooklyn high school legend. Telfair played just 12 minutes, taking only three shots (making one) and picking up just two assists.

“I thought I would be playing more than I have,” Telfair told me after the game. “I don’t understand Dunleavy’s rotations and I definitely feel under-used here. It’s been this way the entire season and I don’t think anyone else on this team understands what his rotations are about.”

Telfair was reminded that the guy playing in front of him (Davis) has a history of breaking down and missing lots of games. To that he responded, “If I have to wait for someone to get hurt to get the minutes I feel I deserve to be playing, that tells me the coach has no confidence in me or my game.”

“I’m 24 years old and still have a lot to prove,” he added. “I’m not going to ask for a trade at this point but I don’t see myself as a 12 minute player at this stage of my career, either.”

According to a source close to the Clippers, Davis, himself has expressed confusion over Dunleavy’s rotations. Players around the team have wondered why seldom-used guard, Mardy Collins, has been getting double-digit backup guard minutes they expected would belong to Telfair.

Telfair is currently in the second year of a three-year contract he originally signed with the Timberwolves. He averaged nearly 10 points and five assists per game last season. This year, he is averaging five points and 2.6 assists per game.

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