It only makes sense Vinny Del Negro claimed satisfaction with his roster after the trade deadline came and went Thursday and the Clippers stayed pat.

Del Negro has a locker room to protect, so of course he professed devotion to the 14 players that started the day as Clippers, remained so through an uneventful morning and reported back to work at Staples Center to play the San Antonio Spurs.

For better or worse, this is the group Del Negro will push and prod over the final 26 games and into the postseason.

On Thursday it was mostly the latter as the Spurs took the Clippers apart in the same methodical manner they used to sweep them out of the second round of the playoffs last year.

It was a discouraging development for a Clippers team eager to show they're healthier and better than the one San Antonio rolled in four games last year, only to look even less capable now compared to last May.

On the other hand the Spurs have been almost unbeatable for more than a month while winning 16 of 17 games, so it might be a case of catching the wrong team on the wrong night.

And if the Spurs keep this up, it's hard to imagine anyone from the Western Conference denying them another berth into the NBA Finals.

Would some tinkering to the Clippers roster make a difference?


But while it was fun to dream about a big deal getting done, it just wasn't realistic.

Sure, the past two weeks provided plenty of tantalizing possibilities - with Boston's Kevin Garnett reportedly a target and Utah's Paul Millsap apparently available - but nothing came to fruition.