PLAYA VISTA – The Clippers don’t have any picks in Thursday’s NBA Draft, but that doesn’t mean Doc Rivers and his new right-hand man Jerry West will be sitting this one out.
“We’re going to be active, I’ll just say that,” Rivers said. “Whether that means getting in (to the draft) or not, but we want to be active.”
The draft marks the first step of a franchise-defining offseason for a Clippers team that has won 50-plus games for five years straight but has bowed out in the first round of the playoffs in each of the last two.
Blake Griffin and Chris Paul are both expected to opt out of their contracts before the end of the month, joining teammates J.J. Redick, Luc Mbah a Moute, Marreese Speights, Raymond Felton, Brandon Bass and Alan Anderson in free agency.
Rivers has repeatedly stated that the Clippers need to get younger. The front office’s inability to protect draft assets has left them reliant on over-the-hill players on minimum contracts.
The Clippers are without a first-round pick this summer thanks to a trade Rivers executed two summers ago to rid himself of Jared Dudley, and they used this year’s second-rounder to help acquire his son, shooting guard Austin Rivers, that same year.
So what’s the plan for Thursday?
“We know what we want to do,” Rivers said. “Obviously, you never know if you can. That’s one thing with the draft.”
Crediting Lawrence Frank, the Clippers’ executive vice president of basketball operations, for much of the work on the ground, Rivers said, “We know exactly what five or six guys we would do it for. We just have to stay disciplined.”
Rivers didn’t clarify whether “it” was shooting to the top of the draft with a blockbuster trade, or doing something more subtle, like buying into the second round.
West, who officially joined the Clippers on Monday as a consultant, will be heavily involved. Rivers said when West first arrived he started listing players the Clippers should target, a list…