Of all the players on the block before last Thursday's trading deadline, the one who seemed most likely to be dealt was third-year Clippers forward Maurice Taylor, who was averaging 17.3 points and 6.3 rebounds at week's end. On Sept. 8 Taylor's agent, David Falk, flew to Los Angeles and informed general manager Elgin Baylor (owner Donald Sterling was a no-show) that Taylor would not re-sign when he becomes a free agent this summer, nor would he agree to a sign-and-trade agreement. Here's a look at the 24 hours leading up to the deadline.
Feb. 23, 6 p.m.
Taylor is on a trainer's table in Philadelphia, getting treatment for his sore right knee. He calls Falk, who says that Detroit has made an offer. ( Taylor later learns it was forward Christian Laettner.) Taylor, who told L.A. he would agree to go to one of three teams—the Heat, the Knicks or the Suns—agrees to include the Pistons on the list.
Taylor elects to play, despite his knee. He scores 18 points in a 94-78 loss, the team's 12th straight.
Asked how he felt about the Clippers' failure to make a deal yet, Taylor says, "I don't think I should hope something gets done. They should be hoping something gets done."
Feb. 24, 10 a.m.
Falk tells Taylor the Magic has made an offer—forward Derek Strong and a first-round pick—but the Clippers don't seem interested.
The Knicks are in the hunt. Taylor gets conflicting reports: Are they offering Kurt Thomas and Chris Childs, or John Wallace and Childs? Falk doesn't tell him the particulars. "I don't want to get your hopes up," he says, "but there's a chance something could get done."
Detroit calls again. Orlando, too. Cleveland offers point guard Brevin Knight, but still the Clippers won't deal.
Falk calls L.A. executive vice president Andy Roeser and reminds him that if the Clippers don't ship out Taylor now, they will end up with nothing. "We will not agree to a sign-and-trade," Falk says again.
Falk tells Taylor that a three-way deal that would land him in New York is in the works. The Clippers would wind up with the Knicks' first-round choice this year and Grizzlies forward Othella Harrington, while Vancouver would get John Wallace, two second-round picks and cash.
The Grizzlies call the deal off. Falk is furious. League sources confirm that Vancouver general manager Stu Jackson was overruled by a group that includes former coach Dick Versace and former agent George Andrews, who has been advising incoming owner Michael Heisley.