MINNEAPOLIS -- Power forward Maurice Taylor was so optimistic that he was going to be dealt before the Los Angeles Clippers played Minnesota on Thursday night, he stayed on the team bus right up to the NBA trade deadline.
Taylor had reason to be hopeful because the Clippers were extremely close to being involved in a three-team deal with New York and Vancouver.
The trade would have sent Taylor to the Knicks with Othella Harrington and New York's first-round pick going to the Clippers and John Wallace along with two second-round draft choices and cash going to the Grizzlies.
But as Clipper karma would have it, the deal fell through and then the team went on to complete an 0-7 trip by getting crushed by the Timberwolves, 116-91, before 13,089 at Target Center.
The defeat was the Clippers' 13th in a row and 19th consecutive on the road. They have won only twice since the day after Christmas, covering 29 games.
''We made every possible effort to improve our team prior to the trading deadline, with some consideration toward accommodating the wishes of Maurice Taylor,'' said Elgin Baylor, the Clippers' vice president of basketball operations.
''We agreed to be a part of a three-way deal which would have accomplished those goals. The only factor keeping this deal from being completed was a decision of one of the other involved teams. At the last minute, they decided that they no longer wanted to participate.''
After that deal didn't work out, the Clippers reportedly were offered Wallace, a first-round pick and cash for Taylor by the Knicks, but again, nothing materialized.
Although Taylor and his agent David Falk would have liked to have landed in New York, the Knicks were not willing to change their offer to get a deal done.
So Taylor, who had a team-high 22 points on 11-of-17 shooting against Minnesota, will remain a Clipper until the end of this season and likely leave as an unrestricted free agent during the summer.
''I was kind of pressing my luck, relying on the Clippers to get something done,'' Taylor said. ''I'm just going to continue to play hard. There's no love lost. I can play for the final eight weeks.''
Falk has made it clear that Taylor will not agree to a sign-and-trade deal with the Clippers this summer. He expects Taylor to be one of the most sought-after free agents.
''The Clippers are going to lose a $70-million asset for nothing,'' Falk said. ''There will be several teams interested in giving Maurice maximum compensation this summer.''
Falk admits he made it difficult for the Clippers to move Taylor because of the limited number of teams for which his client wanted to play.
''Maurice didn't want to just go anywhere,'' Falk said. ''He was very selective. But the Clippers will now get nothing for him.''
Another soon-to-be free agent not moved by the Clippers was shooting guard Derek Anderson.
According to reports around the league, the Clippers were offered San Antonio point guard Avery Johnson for Anderson, but they did not feel the offer was good enough.
With only 26 games remaining, the Clippers appear to be a team already looking ahead to the summer.
Clipper interim coach Jim Todd can only hope his players respond better returning home knowing no deals will be done.
''We just finished a long road trip, ending with the trade deadline and hopefully, now we can put our best foot forward,'' Todd said. ''Everybody knows now who is going to be here and who is not going to be here. We have to make the most of the games we have left.''
Taylor 11-17 0-0 22, Odom 2-9 7-8 11, Closs 4-4 0-0 8, Anderson 4-12 2-2 13, Hudson 3-7 2-2 10, Jones 1-6 0-0 3, Piatkowski 1-4 0-0 3, Nesby 6-11 6-6 19, Skinner 0-1 0-0 0, Avent 1-2 0-2 2. Totals 33-73 17-20 91.
Szczerbiak 8-15 0-0 16, Garnett 7-8 2-2 16, Nesterovic 4-4 2-3 10, Sealy 3-9 1-2 7, Brandon 7-13 0-1 15, Garrett 2-5 0-0 4, Peeler 5-9 0-0 12, J.Smith 7-13 3-3 18, Avery 3-8 2-2 8, Jackson 2-3 0-0 6, Hammonds 2-3 0-0 4. Totals 50-90 10-13 116.
L.A. Clippers 22 28 17 24 -- 91
Minnesota 25 44 25 22 -- 116
3-Point Goals--L.A. Clippers 8-16 (Anderson 3-3, Hudson 2-3, Piatkowski 1-2, Nesby 1-3, Jones 1-4, Odom 0-1), Minnesota 6-12 (Jackson 2-3, Peeler 2-4, J.Smith 1-1, Brandon 1-3, Avery 0-1). Fouled out--None. Rebounds--L.A. Clippers 35 (Avent 7), Minnesota 51 (Garnett, J.Smith, Szczerbiak 8). Assists--L.A. Clippers 21 (Jones 6), Minnesota 41 (Brandon 8). Total fouls--L.A. Clippers 16, Minnesota 17. Technicals--Nesby. A--13,089 (19,006).
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