This news is far from a shocker. With the departures of Elton Brand and Corey Maggette, the Clippers see Al Thornton as the future foundation of this franchise.
The Los Angeles Clippers today exercised the club’s third year contract option on forward Al Thornton.
Thornton, who was selected by the Clippers as the 14th overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, begins his second NBA season and is now signed through the 2009-10 campaign. Under the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement, the Clippers had the right to exercise this contract option. Thornton will now become a restricted free agent following the 2009-10 season, with the Clippers holding the right of first refusal.
In his first season with the Clippers, Thornton was named to the T-Mobile NBA All-Rookie First Team, after averaging 12.7 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 27.3 minutes in 79 games played. He finished the year ranked second among all rookies in scoring, fourth in three-point field goal percentage (.429), eighth in rebounding and fifth in minutes per game. Thornton turned in his most impressive performance of the season when he tied a Clipper rookie record for points in a game, pouring in 39 points on 3/29/08 vs. Memphis. The 39 points were also the most points scored in a game by any NBA rookie last season.