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    Clippers’ Terance Mann all about bringing the energy
    • October 7, 2023

    For a guy who has played every position for the Clippers, Terance Mann finds himself in what could be an uncomfortable situation. If he let it.

    For most of the summer, Mann has been tied to a trade that would bring an eight-time All Star to the Clippers and send him packing. It has been reported that the Philadelphia 76ers covet the versatile swingman, but the Clippers have not been willing to include him in any sort of trade for James Harden.

    Mann hasn’t let trade rumors affect his mindset. He is set on proving himself in a Clippers uniform this season, a goal he started four years ago when he arrived as a rookie out of Florida State. He is a key figure in the team’s pick and rolls and cuts, and his malleability in game situations has made him a valuable piece in coach Tyronn Lue’s lineup.

    Knowing all that has given Mann the confidence he needs to move to the next level and maybe a spot in the starting rotation. “Wherever. Whatever. I don’t care,” he said of which position he prefers to play.

    Mann told reporters this week in Hawai’i, where the Clippers are holding training camp, that he just wants “to bring energy.”

    “I just want to be able to guard the best player on the other team and make it tough for them,” he added. “I want to be able to space the floor, take open shots, get downhill in transition. That’s basically my key goal for the season.”

    If Lue decides to put Kawhi Leonard at small forward and slide Paul George to the power forward position, that could open a spot for Mann in the starting lineup.

    “With our versatility, anything is possible,” Lue said. “We’re just going to see what makes the most sense and how guys kind of come together. (We will) plan and see what makes the most sense for our team.”

    Starting or not, Mann isn’t content to rely on last year’s model. It’s a new season, which requires new goals, sharper skills and confidence. And to Mann, that means shooting the ball better, taking advantage of opportunities and “just being that extra player on the floor to space the floor out.”

    He said he took inspiration and a bit of defiance from Russell Westbrook, who re-signed with the Clippers during the offseason after joining the team after February’s trade deadline.

    “Just going out there, watching him play with so much confidence no matter what anybody says about him and how strong he is mentally was something I took out of his book,” Mann said. “Just being able to shut out the noise and play your game. That’s mainly what I took out of it.”

    Last season, Mann averaged 8.8 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 81 games last season on 51.9% shooting. In 36 starts, Mann averaged 11.6 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists. He looks to bolster those numbers this season.

    “I’m just working on stuff that I need to be able to excel in my role on this team, whatever that is,” Mann said. “Just basically try to do everything.”

    In other words, continue to make himself invaluable.

    Mann recently became eligible for a contract extension, projected to be three years, $56 million that could keep him with the Clippers through 2025-26. He signed a two-year, $22 million extension in 2021.

    Asked if he would be open to staying with the Clippers, Mann said, “Open? I’ve been here for five years. Of course, I would be open to it.”

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    A key reason to stay in L.A. is the character of the team that has developed in his five years. It’s a closeness borne from responsibility.

    “I think for me, just like the brotherhood atmosphere that I started with here, we continue to impose that,” Mann said. “We continue to hold everybody accountable. We continue to hold the rookies accountable as best we can from when I got here.

    “Just the continuity, the consistency of the brotherhood is still special.”

    ​ Orange County Register