Del Negro says trade rumors ‘a lot of rhetoric’

LOS ANGELES – All the trade talk that supposedly involved the Clippers was just that – talk.
 
Coach Vinny Del Negro called trade rumors that involved guard Eric Bledsoe, center DeAndre Jordan and forward Caron Butler “a lot of rhetoric” and indicated there was nothing on the table for the team to consider.
 
Asked Thursday why the Clippers opted not to make any moves, Del Negro said, “Because there was no trade to be made. There was nothing there. All these reports and talks and everything else, there’s things out there you can’t even do under the collective bargaining agreement. We’re always looking, like any organization, to make our team as strong as possible, but we’re very comfortable. I’m very comfortable about our opportunity.”
 
The player most frequently mentioned in possible trades was backup point guard Eric Bledsoe. Rumors had him as a piece in a deal to acquire Kevin Garnett from the Boston Celtics and Paul Millsap from the Utah Jazz. Because of the salaries involved, the Clippers would have also sent Jordan to the Celtics or Butler to the Jazz.
 
But Del Negro said the Clippers did not have a firm proposal from another team they could consider. As a result, they never discussed the possibility of a trade that would have sent Bledsoe, Jordan or Butler to another team.
 
“There was nothing really there,” he said. “Names were thrown out there that weren’t accurate, and if there was something, then that would have been something we would have addressed with them. But we had good practices, and guys were in a good frame of mind. It’s part of the business, as we know, but nothing happened. There was a lot of rhetoric out there that wasn’t very accurate.”
 
One reason the Clippers (39-17), who faced the Western Conference-leading San Antonio Spurs at Staples Center, may have passed on any trades is that they finally have a fully healthy roster. Even forward Lamar Odom, who suffered an eye injury in the team’s last game before the All-Star break, was recovered and cleared to play.

“First time all season we’ve been healthy,” Del Negro said. “Hopefully we can stay there.”