Chris Paul

Clippers Notes: Paul, Rivers, Griffin

J.J. Redick said Chris Paul‘s “spirits are good” after undergoing thumb surgery today, relays Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times. Paul is expected to be out of action for six to eight weeks with the injury that he suffered Monday against the Thunder. The Clippers are hoping to get Blake Griffin back soon from minor knee surgery in December, and coach Doc Rivers said he will adjust the rotation until everyone is healthy. “We still have new guys — Alan [Anderson] is new and Raymond [Felton] is new and Mo [Marreese Speights] and Brandon [Bass],” Rivers said. “This is a good opportunity for them to learn how to execute together. When everyone is back, when you get Chris and Blake back, if this group can execute … I think it makes us better in the long run. This is not the way you want to do it, but this is the way it’s been presented.”

There’s more Clippers news from Los Angeles:

  • Rivers, who also serves as president of basketball operations, said the team may consider some roster moves to help ease the loss of Paul, Turner adds in the same story. L.A. has four healthy guards right now and three of them — Redick, Felton and Austin Rivers — are starters. “We can’t always do something,” Rivers said about a potential move. “But we always look.”
  • Paul’s injury could doom the last shot at playoff success for this current group of Clippers, writes Chris Mannix of The Vertical. L.A. is fourth in the West at 29-14, but could easily fall behind Utah, Oklahoma City and Memphis while Paul is sidelined. That would mean a first-round series without home court advantage. If the Clippers are bounced from the playoffs early again, they may decide not to keep both Paul and Griffin, who can both become free agents this summer. Re-signing them would push the team payroll to around $150MM, plus about $100MM in luxury tax penalties. Mannix notes that Rivers may not want to coach a rebuilding team, something he wasn’t willing to do in Boston, especially with the Clippers not having first-round picks this year or in 2019.
  • The loss of Paul probably kills any chance of a Griffin trade, according to Mitch Lawrence of Forbes.

Chris Paul Out 6-8 Weeks

6:49pm: Paul is expected to undergo surgery to repair the torn ligament, according to ESPN.

6:20pm: Superstar guard Chris Paul has torn a ligament in his left thumb, tweets Dan Woike of the Orange County Register, and is expected to miss six to eight weeks of action for the Clippers.

After leaving Monday’s game against the Thunder early, basic X-Rays came back negative. On Tuesday, Paul was sent for an MRI which revealed the damage to the ligament in his left hand.

In 36 games this year, Paul has averaged 17.5 points and 9.7 assists per game. He’s played a characteristically massive role in the Clippers’ bid for a home-court berth in the Western Conference playoff picture. Even without Blake Griffin since mid-December, Los Angeles has managed to compile a 29-14 record.

Paul is signed to a $22.9MM contract this season and has an early termination option for the final year of his contract next season. Should he return within the quote timetable, he’ll be back on the court for Los Angeles between late February and mid-March.

The news that Paul will miss significant time comes on the heels of reports that the team will soon expect Griffin to make his return.

Pacific Notes: Casspi, Paul, Griffin, Nance

The Kings will be without forward Omri Casspi for up to two weeks, writes Matt Kawahara of the Sacramento Bee. Casspi injured his calf on Monday and underwent an MRI later that night.

Said to have strained the plantaris tendon in his right calf, Casspi will look to get back to action as soon as possible in an effort to reclaim his spot in the team’s rotation. Casspi has seen his role fluctuate over the course of the season and has appeared in just six of the Kings’ last 15 games.

In 22 games for the Kings this year, Casspi has averaged 5.9 points and 4.1 rebounds per.

Elsewhere in the Pacific Division:

  • Another injury has hit the Clippers, this time point guard Chris Paul. After leaving Monday’s game with a thumb injury, Paul underwent a basic X-Ray which came back negative. The guard was scheduled to have an MRI performed on Tuesday to determine the extent of the injury. “That’s the one injury we get,” head coach Doc Rivers told Rowan Kavner of the Clippers’ official site. “You know the pain. I’m sure CP was thinking the worst at the time. He’s already got pretty good news with the normal X-ray being negative. You’ve just got to hope for the best.”
  • Fortunately for the Clippers, good news continues to trickle in about Blake Griffin. “He looks like he’s explosive again,” Rivers told “He looks like he’s explosive again.” Per Woike, Griffin is expected to travel with the team on a three-game road trip starting on Saturday.
  • It seemed as though Larry Nance Jr. was nearing his return to the court for the Lakers, but head coach Luke Walton isn’t so sure. “It doesn’t look like he’s going to be back at least this week,” Walton told Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News. Later adding: “If he can do two straight practices without pain, he’ll be good to play.”
  • The Warriors broke ground on their new arena today and team owner Joe Lacob spoke about the organization’s decision to fund the project themselves via increased ticket sales, increased sponsorship and other new revenue streams. “I don’t want to criticize other owners or other teams, in our league or anywhere else. But there is a history of these leagues getting these things publicly financed,” Lacob told Ramona Shelburne of ESPN. “[…] I know that wasn’t going to happen here, just because it’s the Bay Area. I decided, ‘We’re just going to do it and we’re going to figure out a way to pay for it.’

Pacific Notes: Barnes, Paul, Warriors, Kerr

Matt Barnes has become a veteran leader since signing with the Kings in July, but he entered free agency expecting to return to the Clippers, relays Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. Barnes spent three years with the Clippers before being traded to Charlotte after the 2014/15 season. Ten days later, he was shipped to Memphis in another deal. Even though coach Doc Rivers opted to get rid of him, Barnes was expecting a reunion this summer. “I thought it was a done deal, I was going to the Clippers,” Barnes said. “The day before I was supposed to meet with Doc, they decided to go in another direction with Wesley Johnson. That was obviously my first choice at the time, to be close to my kids. Golden State was always a choice; they just didn’t have very much money. I’ve always been the guy to take less money to play on a better team, but the price gap was too far on this one.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Chris Paul‘s return has boosted the Clippers‘ confidence as they try to fight back from their recent six-game losing streak, writes Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times. Paul believes he is finally over the left hamstring problems that sidelined him for seven of the past eight games. “I want to hoop, regardless,” Paul said. “But the toughest thing is when you can’t. Ain’t no point coming out there and not being you and hurt the team.”
  • Friday’s meltdown against the Grizzlies is part of an ongoing problem for the Warriors, writes Anthony Slater of The San Jose Mercury News. Even with a 31-6 record, Golden State has been outscored by 15 points this season in the fourth quarter and overtime. The Warriors have played 38 clutch minutes since December began and have been outscored by 21 points. “We’re not used to these fourth quarter struggles,” said coach Steve Kerr. “We’ve really closed teams well the last couple years. So it feels different. It feels weird.”
  • Kerr has a lot of work ahead to turn a wealth of talent into a “super team” in time for the playoffs, contends Marcus Thompson II of The Mercury News. Thompson argues that the free agent signing of Kevin Durant disrupted team chemistry and says Kerr has three months to restore it.

Pacific News: Clippers, Afflalo, Pachulia

The Clippers may be turning the corner, at least as far as their health is concerned. Superstar point guard Chris Paul has missed seven of the last contests but is expected to be back in the lineup uninhibited on Friday, says Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Daily News.

A return from Paul, coupled with news that rookie Brice Johnson has been cleared for contact, will give Clippers head coach Doc Rivers that much more confidence heading into the middle portion of the season. Johnson is a power forward out of North Carolina that Los Angeles drafted with the 25th overall pick last summer.

Additionally, Woike writes that Blake Griffin is expected to make his own return to the Clippers later this month.

Also out of the Pacific Division:

  • It wasn’t long ago when Arron Afflalo‘s future with the Kings looked to be in doubt. Now the veteran has upped his standing in the team’s rotation. “I’ve evolved into getting over myself,” Afflalo told the Sacramento Bee’s Jason Jones. “We have a great opportunity as a team – playoff position. There will be nights where I can perform at a level I was expected to perform at, and there will be nights where other guys take the lead.”
  • Things haven’t always gone well for Shaun Livingston since he was drafted in 2004, but he’s settled into a great role with a dominant Warriors team. The veteran point guard spoke with Basketball Insiders’ Michael Scotto about his career thus far and his future. “I’d love to stay [with Golden State].” he said, “It’s been home for me, the Bay has welcomed me with open arms. I love it out there. But, we’ll see what happens. Obviously, decisions have to be made and you just roll with the punches.”
  • The NBA recently changed how All-Stars are to be selected and it’s already foiled Warriors big man Zaza Pachulia‘s second consecutive campaign as a dark horse possibility, tweets Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post.

 

Pacific Notes: Lakers, Clippers, Knight, Curry

The Lakers and Clippers began to reverse fortunes in 2011 when then-Commissioner David Stern blocked a trade for Chris Paul, writes Mark Heisler of The Los Angeles Daily News. New Orleans had worked out a three-team deal that would have sent Paul to the Lakers, but because the franchise was being run by the league at the time, Stern had the power as a representative of ownership to stop it. The Clippers stepped in with an offer of Eric Gordon, Al-Farouq Aminu, Chris Kaman and Minnesota’s unprotected draft pick, which landed them a franchise point guard.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Changes in the new collective bargaining agreement will force the Lakers to alter the way they have historically operated, Heisler contends in the same piece. Star players have more incentive than ever to stay with their current teams, meaning that any advantages that L.A. once had in free agency will be further neutralized. Heisler lists the top players expected to be on the free agent market in 2017 and contends that every one will remain where they are.
  • The Kings have been talking to the Suns about a possible deal for Brandon Knight for several months, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. Appearing on a podcast with Zach Lowe, Windhorst said Sacramento is looking for help at point guard and has been talking to Phoenix about Knight since the summer. Knight still has three seasons and nearly $44MM left on his current deal.
  • Warriors coach Steve Kerr called out his team in general and two-time MVP Stephen Curry in particular for poor decisions in today’s loss to the Cavaliers, relays Chris Haynes of ESPN. Golden State had 20 turnovers leading to 21 Cleveland points in the 109-108 loss. “A lot of [the turnovers] early was not even due to the pressure,” Kerr said. “It was more just decision-making. Around-the-back passes in the paint, silly plays. We just have to make simple plays, and we talk about that all the time, but we’ve got to make it more of a habit.”

Latest Collective Bargaining Agreement Details, Reactions

The NBA’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement will allow teams to use the new designated veteran exception on two players, rather than just one, meaning teams would have the option to extend two star players to long-term max contracts before they reach free agency, says Howard Beck of Bleacher Report (via Twitter).

ESPN’s Brian Windhorst discusses the topic as well, suggesting that the new second designation will be known as the “Kevin Love Rule,” since the Timberwolves previously were unable to offer Love a five-year max because they had also made Ricky Rubio their designated player. This time around, the Wolves will be able to designate both Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins, if they so choose.

We’ll need to wait for the CBA to be formally ratified to know for sure whether different rules for this designation will be in place for guys like Towns and Wiggins, who are coming off rookie deals, as opposed to veteran players who are on their second or third contracts. While we wait for the full details, we have a few more tidbits related to the new CBA to pass along…

Details:

  • According to TNT’s David Aldridge (via NBA.com), the NBPA pushed for a “zero and two” rule for prospects. Such a rule would have allowed players to enter the NBA draft out of high school, but if they chose to attend college, they would have had to play at least two NCAA seasons before declaring for the draft. Ultimately though, the current “one and done” rule will remain unchanged in the new agreement.
  • NBPA president Chris Paul, who was thrilled to reach an agreement, said he’s most excited about what the new deal will do for the health care and health insurance of former NBA players, per Rowan Kavner of Clippers.com. The health care packages for retired players will be co-funded by the NBA and the players’ union, per Aldridge.
  • There will be no major changes made to the international buyout rules in the new CBA, sources tell Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress.com (Twitter link). The current maximum that NBA teams can pay ($650K) is expected to rise by $25K annually.

Reactions:

And-Ones: Rockets, Parsons, Sixers, Stern, Cavs

Coach Mike D’Antoni said there’s “always an open door” in regards to Donatas Motiejunas playing for the Rockets, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle passes along. “We can’t wait to have him if that works out,” D’Antoni said on Wednesday. “He will definitely be a positive. No negatives there.”

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Chandler Parsons, who signed a max contract with the Grizzlies over the summer, is the biggest disappointment in the league this season, Joel Brigham of Basketball Insiders contends. Parsons has been limited to only six games this season because of a knee injury and he’s averaging a pedestrian 7.7 point per contest.
  • The Sixers should deal Nerlens Noel, whom Luke Adams of Hoops Rumors profiled as a trade candidate recently, to the Bulls for Nikola Mirotic, Brigham argues in the same piece. The scribes believes Noel could anchor Chicago’s bench unit and Mirotic could turn his season around with more playing time in Philadelphia.
  • Former commissioner David Stern said he never canceled the proposed 2011 trade of Chris Paul from New Orleans to the Lakers because the GM at the time, Dell Demps, wasn’t authorized to make it, RealGM.com relays via Sports Business Radio. The league had assumed control of the New Orleans franchise, called the Hornets at that time and now the Pelicans, giving Stern the authority to nix it. “The GM was not authorized to make that trade,” Stern said. “And acting on behalf of owners, we decided not to make it. I was an owner rep. There was nothing to ‘void.’ It just never got made.”
  • John Holland, whose rights are owned by the Cavs’ D-League franchise in Canton, has returned to D-League, international journalist David Pick tweets.  The 6’5” swingman was one of Cleveland’s final training camp cuts in October.

Western Notes: Speights, Paul, Gasol, Grizzlies

Reserve Clippers center and former Warriors backup Marreese Speights believes his current team needs to learn some lessons from its blowout loss to Golden State on Wednesday, Bill Oram of the Orange County Register reports. Speights ripped the Clippers for whining about calls and implored them to play more unselfishly, Oram continues. Speights explained that the Warriors coaching staff felt the Clippers would fold if “you hit them a couple times” and they lived up to that reputation, Oram adds. “First we need to start really just leaving the refs alone,” Speights told Oram and other media members. “Guys just got to sacrifice, do some other things than scoring, do some other things than your personal goals. Just try something new. They’ve been doing it here for four or five years and it hasn’t been working, so it’s time to try something new.”

In other news around the Western Conference:
  • Clippers guard Chris Paul believes it’s feasible that he will team up with LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony at some point, he revealed in a radio interview that was relayed by SI.com. In an Open Run podcast, said “anything’s possible” and added that they work out together at times during the offseason. Paul can opt out of his contract after this season, while James and Anthony can opt out of the final year of their contracts after the 2017/18 season.
  • Pau Gasol nearly signed with the Spurs in 2014 before choosing the Bulls, according to Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express Nets. Gasol felt Chicago “underperformed” in his two seasons there before he opted out of the final year of his contract and chose the Spurs this summer. He was also heavy recruited by ex-Bulls coach and current Timberwolves coach and president of basketball operations, Tom Thibodeau, McDonald continues. Gasol turned down bigger money — two years and $36MM — to sign with San Antonio for two years and $31.6MM, McDonald adds. “I think a player like that, he’s looking for an opportunity to be part of a championship team,” Thibodeau told McDonald.
  • Rookies point guards Andrew Harrison and Wade Baldwin are doing a respectable job replacing injured Mike Conley for the Grizzlies, Ronald Tillery of the Memphis  Commercial Appeal writes. Their decision-making can be frustrating to the coaching staff at times and Harrison’s outside shot has been inconsistent but overall, coach David Fitzdale is pleased with the way they’ve performed, Tillery adds. “I’ve got to live with what these younger guys are doing on the court whether it’s good or bad,” Fizdale told Tillery. “In the long run, it’s going to help us. At the end of the year, they won’t be as young anymore.”

Clippers Notes: Durant, Jordan, Anderson

Kevin Durant said Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and Chris Paul “made it tough” to turn down the Clippers in free agency, as Anthony Slater of The Bay Area News Group passes along.

 “Those guys are tremendous, unbelievable talents,” Durant said. “DJ is a close friend. CP, been knowing him since I was in high school…All that other stuff [doesn’t matter]. I’ve been in L.A. every summer. Facilities, all that stuff is the same to me. As long as you have a court and the ball. The players, that’s what made it tough. They did a great job.”

Here’s more from Los Angeles:

  • Durant met Jordan years ago when he served as the center’s host for a recruiting visit at the University of Texas and the two remain close despite him choosing to play for a rival, Slater relays in the same piece. “He wanted me to come to the Clippers, but he’s going to be my friend no matter what,” Durant said.
  • Durant’s decision to join the Warriors created backlash, which is something Jordan knows well from his own free agency during the previous summer, Slater notes in the same piece. “I think that’s what we kind of had in common,” Durant said. “Him making [the decision to turn down the Mavericks] was bold, it was a tough decision, it made him uncomfortable, but it grew him as a person and as a basketball player. I felt the same way about my decision. It made conversation. It made us get to know each other better and having things in common as far as work related. It helped having someone that could relate to what I went through.”
  • Alan Anderson, who signed a one-year, minimum salary deal with the Clippers over the summer, is fitting in with the team despite not receiving the minutes that he’s accustomed to seeing, Rowan Kavner of NBA.com writes. “[Anderson] wants to play, like everyone else, but if you had to vote for the MVP teammate, I think he wins hands down,” coach Doc Rivers said. “He’s gone through that frustration of trying to train and not play, yet if you watched our bench during the games, you would never know it.”

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