Chris Paul

Clippers Notes: Stephenson, Davis, Jordan, Paul

The Knicks have reportedly emerged as the latest suitor for Jamal Crawford, fueling the idea that the Clippers will trade their sixth man before the start of the season. Still, the Clippers could seek to put an end to such rumors with a new deal for the 35-year-old guard, one of the relatively few around the league who’s eligible for a veteran extension, as I pointed out Tuesday. While we wait to see just what the team will do with Crawford, see the latest from Clipperland:

  • Trade acquisition Lance Stephenson is confident that his new Clippers teammates will understand his on-court intensity, an in-the-moment leadership style he compares to that of Chris Paul, as Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times examines. The Clippers have been “missing that guy that’s tough and doesn’t bow down to no one,” Stephenson told Bolch. “I’m on a mission to win a chip. I’m on a mission to do great this year. I’m on a mission to prove everybody wrong,” Stephenson said. “I mean, a lot of people are doubting me and saying I’m a bad locker-room guy and all of those rumors, but there’s no facts that I’m a bad locker-room guy, so I’m going to just show everybody and just go hard this year.” 
  • Glen Davis, who said recently that he expects to sign by month’s end and wants to play for a contender, is hopeful that he’ll return to the Clippers, as he told the Gio & Jones show on CBS Sports Radio“I would love to go back,” Davis said. Doc [Rivers] and his system works for me. He needs a guy to set picks and do the dirty work and stuff like that. I feel at home there. It’s just about getting [a deal] done.”
  • Davis also said in the radio spot that he believes Rivers has changed his coaching style over the years, taking a more active approach with a Clippers core that’s younger than the one he had with the Celtics. Big Baby nonetheless suggested that Rivers should give DeAndre Jordan a larger role in the offense, and Davis also chimed in on the notion of a rift between Jordan and Paul, saying that while the two haven’t always seen eye to eye, their issues haven’t been profound. “It was like a false reality,” Davis said. “It was like they had problems but they didn’t have problems. We can hang out and have a good time off the court. It’s just sometimes with players, some players rub each other the wrong way. That’s what it was.”

DeAndre Jordan On Chris Paul, Mavs, Clippers

DeAndre Jordan is scheduled to address the media today for the first time since he spurned the Mavs for the Clippers, but he got a jump start on explaining his story via The Players’ Tribune. Half of the piece is written and the other half is presented in a video, one in which Jordan’s struggle with his decision is apparent as he reflects on the events of two weeks ago. The entire piece is well worth your time, but we’ll pass along some of the most noteworthy quotes from the big man here:

On Chris Paul, with whom he reportedly had a rift:

“I love Chris, man. Chris is a big brother to me. When you play sports, you’re competitive — especially when you play them at as high a level as we have these last few years. And of course, yeah, we all bump heads during the course of the game. But we know that whatever criticisms or arguments we have on the floor, they’re about one thing: winning.”

On the doubt that crept into his mind following his commitment to Dallas:

“I woke up Monday morning [July 6th] feeling like there was something missing, like something that I didn’t do, something that was not covered. And that’s why, and that’s when I started to begin to have second thoughts. I feel like we’ve all had decisions in our lives where we’ve had second thoughts about things and have gone back and had to revisit a situation, and I definitely feel like that this was one of those times for me.”

On the Mavs:

“Originally, I said yes to the Mavericks because I thought I needed change. I thought I wanted change at that point in time. And they had a great presentation. They have a great owner, great coach, a championship team, but, at the same time, I felt like I didn’t give it all of my thought. At the end of the day, we’re basketball players and these great athletes, but we’re also human, and we make mistakes. We have emotions and feelings, just like everybody else.”

On the Clippers:

“I decided to stay with the Clippers because I’ve been with this team for seven years, and being on one team for my entire career was definitely important to me. I’ve been here since I was 19, so this is what I know. I love the city, I love the fans, I love my teammates and I love this organization.”

On the difficulty of breaking his deal with the Mavs:

“A lot of the guys who I was talking to during the process, they were friends of mine. That’s what made it so tough. Talking to these guys and really wanting to maybe partner up with these guys and play, and then not wanting to, it’s definitely a tough situation it puts you in. It puts you in [it] because you want to make the right decision, but you also don’t want to step on toes.”

DeAndre Jordan Rumors: Friday

DeAndre Jordan appears torn between the Clippers and Mavericks, though he’s ruled out neither the Lakers nor the Knicks, as the last reports from Thursday indicated. We’ll round up today’s latest here, with any new information added to the top throughout the day:

  • Jordan’s representatives have told the Knicks he won’t sign with them, Wojnarowski reports (on Twitter), so Lopez looks like he’ll end up in New York.

1:11pm update:

  • Jordan has narrowed his list to just the Clippers and Mavs, league sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski, who writes in a story on New York’s tentative deal with Robin Lopez. That Lopez deal still seems tied to Jordan’s decision, however. So, it would appear that the Knicks haven’t abandoned hope, remote as their chances might be. The Clippers are confident, as Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders hears (Twitter links).

11:11am update:

8:16am update:

  • The Dan Fegan client has concerns about the Clippers‘ roster and doesn’t know that it’ll age well, tweets Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com (Twitter link). He’s worried about what will happen when Blake Griffin can opt out of his contract in two years, Shelburne adds.
  • Jordan entered free agency giving the Clippers a slight edge, a league source Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News. Other reports indicate that it’s a 50-50 proposition now, and Dan Woike of The Orange County Register has heard that it’s been that way for a while (Twitter link).
  • Those around Jordan have downplayed tension between him and Chris Paul, Medina writes in the same piece.

Latest On DeAndre Jordan

11:55am: Jordan is tired of being third in line behind Paul and Blake Griffin and wants a larger role on offense, Broussard hears, as he writes in a full story. There’s a 50% chance he goes to the Mavs and a 50% chance he stays with the Clippers, a source told Broussard.

TUESDAY, 11:13am: It’s likely that Jordan will sign for four years, with a player option after the third, no matter which team he chooses, sources tell Chris Broussard of ESPN.com (Twitter link). That limits the edge the Clippers have as the only team that can offer five years, notes Dan Woike of the Orange County Register (on Twitter).

5:46pm: Jordan is scheduled to meet with the Mavericks, Lakers and Knicks on the first day of free agency on Wednesday, sources told Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times (Twitter link). He will meet with the Clippers on Thursday, Turner adds.

MONDAY, 1:15pm: The Clippers have a slight edge, a league source tells Ken Berger of CBSSports.com (Twitter link), which runs counter to what Amick said the Clippers believe (below).

SUNDAY 9:25pm: The Bucks are “a long shot” to land Jordan and it is unlikely they meet with him, reports Sam Amick of USA Today, who cites a person with knowledge of the Bucks’ situation.

Amick tweets that there is some sense from the Clippers’ side that the Mavs have a slight edge in the Jordan sweepstakes, but the upcoming meetings hold weight.

While sources indicate to Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal Times that Jordan will either stay with the Clippers or go to Dallas, an acquaintance of Jordan claims the big man would love to play for the Rockets. Houston, of course, already has a quality center in Dwight Howard.

7:08pm: Jordan will also meet with the Knicks once the free agent negotiating period commences, Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv reports.

1:11pm: The Clippers and Mavs remain the front-runners for Jordan, a source tells Bleacher Report’s Jared Zwerling, who suggests that the Knicks might end up meeting with the Relativity Sports client, too.

8:17am: Rumors of a rift between DeAndre Jordan and Chris Paul are true, and the Mavs, Lakers and Bucks, as well as the Clippers, will have pitch meetings with Jordan at his home when free agent negotiating begins next week, reports Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times. Chandler Parsons has been recruiting Jordan to the Mavs while the two have been hanging out together in Houston this summer, Turner also hears.

Bill Reiter of Fox Sports 1 first reported last month that Paul and Jordan had a falling out, though teammate Dahntay Jones and Clippers coach/executive Doc Rivers separately denied it. Rivers is apparently confident about re-signing the seven-year veteran, whom the Clippers will offer a max deal.

Jordan, who’s said he won’t be “greedy” and seek a one-year deal that would take him to a surging salary cap next summer, can receive more money and a longer contract from the Clippers than from any other team, though the Mavs offer the advantage of no state income tax in Texas. The center, who turns 27 next month, has reportedly expressed serious interest in signing with Dallas, and the Mavs are high on the idea themselves. The Mavs front office has kicked around the idea of a sign-and-trade that would involve Jordan coming Dallas and Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton going to the Clippers, as Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com reported.

Chandler is also an apparent target for the Bucks, along with Brook Lopez, as coach Jason Kidd and GM John Hammond aim high. The draft-night acquisition of Greivis Vasquez nonetheless puts a squeeze on Milwaukee’s finances, and the Bucks would probably have to clear some salary for an estimated $18.96MM max salary for Jordan next season if Jared Dudley opts in.

Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com wrote last month that the Lakers would love to have Jordan, and he’ll apparently be one of a coterie of big men the team will target in free agency, along with LaMarcus Aldridge, who’s also a Mavs target, and Kevin Love. Interior players will no doubt be a priority for the Lakers, who have max-level cap flexibility, now that the team has used the No. 2 pick on guard D’Angelo Russell.

Pacific Notes: D’Alessandro, Draft, Clippers

Clippers coach/executive Doc Rivers denies that there is any rift between teammates Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason, Arash Markazi of ESPNLosAngeles.com relays. “I can put this to rest: They get along great,” Rivers told Fred Roggin of The Beast 980. “Clearly, like everybody, they don’t get along all the time, and they don’t get along with me all the time, either, by the way. I don’t see that as an issue. I think all three, and I’m including Blake [Griffin] in this as well, understand how important the other guy is to them. Meaning, they all three need each other to win, and I think all three get that and all three know that and all three want to do it together. To me, that’s the most important thing.”

Here’s the latest out of the NBA’s Pacific Division:

  • The Clippers held workouts today for Phil Greene, Rayvonte Rice, Cady Lalanne, Maurice Walker, Bryce Dejean-Jones, and Matt Carlino, Michael Scotto of Sheridan Hoops reports (Twitter link).
  • Kings GM Pete D’Alessandro is a “significant candidate” for the now vacant athletic director post at St. John’s University, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports (Twitter link). D’Alessandro lost a significant amount of his authority when the team hired new president of basketball and franchise operations, Vlade Divac.
  • The Suns worked out Quinn Cook, Marcus Thornton (Georgia), D.J. Newbill, Tyler Haws, Matt Stainbrook, and Aaron Thomas, Scotto tweets.
  • When speaking about potential 2015 draftees Aaron Harrison and Kevin Pangos, both of whom recently worked out for the team, Suns coach Jeff Hornacek noted that both players may not get selected this June, but could have a shot at making an NBA roster because of the changes in how guards are used today, Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic writes. “There are probably more guys that are the combo guards because they’re not really true point guards,” Hornacek said. “They’re all scoring guys. They all come up with the scoring mentality. You try to find those guys that can do both those things. But especially in today’s game, the point guard, he may be a scorer but he’s still got to lead the team. He’s still got to have that ability to direct guys and not be afraid.

And-Ones: Max Players, Clippers, Bulls, Payrolls

The benefits to this summer’s max-level free agents of signing a short-term deal to re-enter free agency when the cap surges in the next couple of years outweigh the risks, argues Louis Roxin of RealGM. A couple of executives who spoke to Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders take the opposite viewpoint, arguing that the specter of a decline in production, a major injury, or both make it too difficult to pass up a four- or five-year deal (Twitter links). Of course, team executives probably want to avoid paying a premium if they can avoid it, but how it all plays out this summer will be fascinating to watch. Here’s more from around the league:

  • Clippers reserve Dahntay Jones insists there’s no rift between DeAndre Jordan and Chris Paul, as had been reported, telling TMZ that everyone on the team is united in their desire for Jordan to re-sign in free agency this summer. “Those guys are brothers, man,” Jones said of Jordan and Paul. “They sit with each other on the plane, on the bus. If you don’t like a guy you stay away from him.”
  • The Bulls front office was miffed when Tom Thibodeau left his last contract extension unsigned for months and think he hasn’t given them enough credit for building the roster, while some in the organization feel the coach wants more power, as Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago.com hears. Friedell provides a timeline of the breakdown in the relationship between the coach and the Chicago brass.
  • The Nets have the highest 2014/15 payroll, but their paltry $351K in money to the waived Brandon Davies pales in comparison to the $24.8MM the crosstown Knicks spent on six players no longer on the roster, including Amar’e Stoudemire, as Pincus examines.

James, Curry, Harden Lead All-NBA Teams

LeBron James and Stephen Curry finished atop the voting for the All-NBA Teams, with James Harden, Anthony Davis and Marc Gasol joining them on the first team, the league announced via press release. Russell Westbrook, LaMarcus Aldridge, Chris Paul, Pau Gasol and DeMarcus Cousins comprise the second team. Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, Tim Duncan, Klay Thompson and Kyrie Irving make up the third team.

Curry, the league’s MVP, and James each received 645 points through a system in which five points are awarded a first team vote, three points go for a second team vote and one point is given for a third team vote. The duo garnered 129 first team votes each, making them unanimous first team selections. They were followed closely by Harden, with 125 first team votes and 637 points, and Davis, who had 119 first team votes and 625 points. Marc Gasol, who’s heading into free agency, wasn’t as widely seen as a first-teamer by the media members who cast their ballots, rounding out the squad with 65 first-team votes and 453.

Every member of the second team received at least one first team vote, and Thompson and Irving were the only members of the third team not to get a first team vote. Al Horford also received a first team vote even though he didn’t make any of the teams. The NBA will soon display the votes of each media member on its website, but the league has already distributed the information via press release, so click here to check it out in PDF form.

Leonard, Green, Allen Lead All-Defensive Teams

Kawhi Leonard, Draymond Green, Tony Allen, DeAndre Jordan and Chris Paul comprise this year’s All-Defensive First Team, the NBA announced via press release. Anthony Davis, Jimmy Butler, Andrew Bogut, John Wall and Tim Duncan are on the second team. Bogut’s selection is perhaps most important, since he triggers a bonus worth 15% of his nearly $12.973MM salary for this season, giving him approximately $1.946MM in extra pay. It also means his cap hit for next season jumps to $13.8MM instead of $12MM, since the bonus will fall in the category of a likely bonus. Still, the extra $1.8MM wouldn’t count against the tax next season unless Bogut again plays in 65 games and makes an All-Defensive team.

Leonard was the leading vote-getter from the media members who cast the ballots, which is no surprise, since he also won the Defensive Player of the Year award. The latest honor is further ammunition for a max contract this summer from the Spurs, though it appears he and San Antonio were already set to quickly agree to terms on one come July. Green and Jordan are also soon-to-be free agents on the first team, while Butler and Duncan are heading to free agency from the second team.

Davis, who’s eligible for a rookie scale extension this summer, topped the voting among second-teamers. The balloting went by a points system in which two points were awarded for a first team vote and one point for a second. Rudy Gobert, who received five first team votes, garnered the most points among those who missed the cut for both teams. LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, Avery Bradley, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Klay Thompson, Marc Gasol and Mike Conley were others who garnered multiple first team votes but didn’t make it on either team. Click here to see how each media member voted.

Clippers Notes: Rivers, Roster Plans, Paul

Doc Rivers‘ failure to improve his bench last offseason was the biggest reason why the Clippers squandered a 3-1 series lead to the Rockets, Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk opines. Fatigue and a lack of quality role players contributed significantly to their collapse and that falls on Rivers, who holds the dual role of coach and president of basketball operations, Helin continues. Spending the team’s entire mid-level exception on Spencer Hawes, who fell out of the rotation late in the regular season, was a mistake. That killed their chances of a Paul Pierce-Rivers reunion, while Rivers’ other offseason signings — Jordan Farmar, Chris Douglas-Roberts, Jared Cunningham and Ekpe Udoh — made no impact, according to Helin. Along with re-signing DeAndre Jordan, the Clippers need more depth to take the next step, Helin concludes.

In other news involving the Clippers:

  • Rivers acknowledged to Sam Amick of USA Today the challenge the Clippers face to upgrade their roster with limited resources, given their constraints against the cap. “I want to fix it,” Rivers told the USA Today scribe. “I want to win. That’s why I came here. I knew when I came here that roster-wise it was going to be very difficult. The first thing I did before I took this job, I looked at the roster and we laughed. I was like, ‘What the [expletive] can we do with this?’ It was more the contracts. But we have to try to do it somehow. I don’t know how yet, but something will work out.”
  • The Clippers could open some flexibility via trade, but Rivers seemed to indicate a preference for keeping the core together, as Arash Markazi of ESPNLosAngeles.com relays. “You don’t rule out anything, but I like our group,” Rivers said. “I really do. Teams that have stuck it out, in the long run if you look at sports history, have done better than teams that have blown it up. We’re really close, clearly. It might be a defensive guy; it might be one more guy. I don’t know yet.”
  • Rivers affirmed he has no desire to overhaul the roster since the team was so close to making the Western Conference Finals, Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times tweets.
  • Trading Chris Paul would allow Blake Griffin to expand his game, refresh the team’s talent base and give it a new identity, Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report speculates. The team gets overly emotional and loses its composure in the most difficult of situations and a radical step might be needed to change that dynamic, Ding concludes.

Eastern Notes: LeBron, Irving, Stevens, Shved

The relationship between LeBron James and Kyrie Irving was “rocky” at points earlier this season, Irving admits, but it’s grown into a bond that appears much stronger than the one between James and Kevin Love, as Joe Vardon of the Northeast Ohio Media Group details. Love and James say it doesn’t matter whether they become as tight as Irving and James are as long as they can develop a greater on-court connection, Vardon writes.

“People get so infatuated with the best of friends, things of that nature,” James said. “First of all, I’ve got three very good friends in this league, and that’s Carmelo [Anthony], and that’s C.P. [Chris Paul], and that’s [Dwyane Wade] Wade. And after that I have a bunch of teammates. I have guys I ride for every day. But Kyrie is a guy I understand how important he is to this team, how important he is. And the same with Kev as well.”

James and Love can opt out to hit free agency this summer, while Irving will enter year one of his five-year extension next season. Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Seth Davis of Sports Illustrated and CBS hears “some Brad Stevens chatter” in connection to the University of Texas coaching job (Twitter link). It’s unclear whether there’s interest on either side, though Texas athletics director Steve Patterson has spoken with NBA coaching agents of late, tweets Chris Mannix of SI.com. Davis identifies Avery Johnson as a possible sleeper for the job. Stevens is just finishing up the second season of a six-year, $22MM deal and there have been no indications that he wants to leave the Celtics. Further, the Celtics would probably deny him permission to go, as Ben Rohrbach of WEEI.com surmises (Twitter link).
  • Alexey Shved loves playing for coach Derek Fisher and is open to re-signing with New York after his contract expires this summer, sources tell Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com (Twitter link). The Knicks can make Shved a restricted free agent if they tender a qualifying offer of nearly $4.103MM.
  • The Cavs have assigned Joe Harris to the D-League, the team announced. It’s the eighth time Cleveland has sent last year’s 33rd overall pick to its affiliate, though none of the seven previous assignments have lasted as long as a week, as our leaguewide assignments/recalls log shows.

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