Maggette is trying to earn a lucrative new deal for 2008-09.
John W. McDonough/SI
L.A. tied for the NBA lead with 5.76 blocks per game, the second-lowest leading average since the stat became official in 1973-74. The lowest (5.56) was by the '74-75 Buffalo Braves, who later became the Clippers.
Record: 40–42 (9th in West) Points scored:95.6 (23rd in NBA) Points allowed: 96.1 (9th) Coach:Mike Dunleavy (fifth season with
A streaky guard becomes the key to the playoff hopes of a banged-up club
Up, down, let's-keep-him, nah-let's-sell-him -- Corey Maggette over the last few
seasons has fluctuated like most stocks. For now the 6' 6" swingman's value is
up again. With franchise player Elton Brand on the shelf until at least
midseason after Achilles surgery, 37-year-old Sam Cassell an up-and-down risk
himself, and point-guard-of-the-future Shaun Livingston still trying to come
back from a serious knee injury, the Clippers will need a mega-Maggette if they
are to get back to the playoffs, which they missed last year. "It's a mind-set
to just dominate whenever I can," Maggette says. "We need that."
A scoring mind-set was never the problem for Maggette. He had it in the
2003-04 and '04-05 seasons, when he averaged 20.7 and 22.2 points per game,
respectively. And though his scoring receded last season (16.9 average), his eye
for the basket never wavered. Whenever coach Mike Dunleavy was upset at the
offense over the last two years, the finger was usually pointed at Maggette for
taking bad shots and not moving the ball. Consequently, Maggette has been dogged
by trade rumors.
Despite the criticism and rumblings, Maggette has never publicly exploded in
response or, as far as anyone on the outside knew, cut back on his effort.
"Corey plays as hard as anybody in the league," says Suns assistant Alvin
Gentry. But just when it seemed the Clippers were ready to commit to Maggette,
offering an extension on his deal, which runs out next season, Maggette said he
will let the Oct. 31 deadline pass, setting himself up to be an
unrestricted free agent next year.
All in all, this could be the year of Maggette. He'll be playing for a new
contract and, for at least the start of the season, playing without another
20-points-per-game scorer on the floor. "You have to pick up the slack," says
Maggette, "and that's what I plan to do." -- Jack McCallum