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Clippers update: Baron Davis unplugged

April 7, 2010 |  8:36 pm
Baron_240 The conversation started about traveling to Africa and going camping with wildlife in the summer, and it abruptly veered toward Clippers basketball and some very pointed observations.

Point guard Baron Davis revealed before Wednesday's game against Portland that he once might have handled his struggles with the Clippers during the last two seasons, and with former GM/Coach Mike Dunleavy, in a much different way.

"The younger Baron definitely would have said something," he said. "Yeah. I probably would have asked for a way out, looked for the easiest way out."

And now? Now that the 27-win Clippers are lottery bound, again?

"I just don’t want this to be like a second-chance place," Davis said. "Or a place people want to come here and leave. I want this to be a place where people want to come and play. If I'm allowed to lead this franchise and this organization the way I see fit, hopefully we'll make a run."

He was, more or less, giving a state of the union address to those who practically have been with him the moment he pulled on a Clippers uniform.

Davis didn’t sound convinced that he’d be given the keys to the car, so to speak. Several times, he used the phrase, "If I’m allowed to." That was in reference to the Clippers becoming 'his' team. "Last year was kind of Dunleavy's thing,” he said. "This year was [Chris] Kaman's team, so hope that next year they'll give me a chance to put my full thing on display."

It was his gut feeling that Charlotte Coach Larry Brown would not be the Clippers' coach next season. He had words of praise for interim head coach Kim Hughes and assistant John Lucas.

"He [Hughes] tells you like it is," Davis said. "You have to respect that. That's the one thing I like about Kim Hughes. He'll tell you exactly how he feels and he don’t sugarcoat it. You've got to respect that as a coach. And I don't think the players were used to that as a team."

On Lucas: "Amazing. I wouldn’t have made it through this season without him. And I think, to his credit, a lot of guys wouldn’t have made it through the season without him."

The Clippers remain in desperate need of a culture change, living and playing in the large shadow of the Lakers.

"You can accept your place in society," Davis said. "I think a lot of times, just being here ... you accept that. You accept the fact that you’re second fiddle. You accept the fact that you're almost third, fourth, fifth fiddle. Fifth on the totem pole in this city. But you can't do that because you can make an imprint at any time."

-- Lisa Dillman

Photo: Clippers' guard Baron Davis shoots on March 28 in Los Angeles. Credit: Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press.