Los Angeles Clippers

Western Notes: Exum, Williams, Hayes

Jazz point guard Dante Exum underwent successful surgery today to repair damage to the ACL in his left knee, the team announced. The 20-year-old, who was the No. 5 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, was injured in early August while playing for the Australian National Team, and he is out indefinitely as a result. Exum appeared in 82 contests as a rookie, including 41 starts. His numbers for the 2014/15 campaign were 4.8 points, 1.6 rebounds, and 2.4 assists in 22.2 minutes per contest to accompany a slash line of .349/.314/.625.

Here’s more out of the West:

  • New Mavericks point guard Deron Williams doesn’t like that he has been labeled as a “coach killer,” Mike Mazzeo of ESPN.com relays (Twitter links). Williams played for four different head coaches during his three seasons in Brooklyn, Mazzeo notes. Lionel Hollins, who was Williams’ final coach while with the Nets, recently said that the 31-year-old is no longer a franchise player.
  • J.J. O’Brien‘s deal with the Jazz is a three-year, minimum salary arrangement that includes a partial guarantee of $75K for the 2015/16 season, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders tweets.
  • The one year pact that Chuck Hayes signed with the Clippers is non-guaranteed, and includes limited injury protection, meaning that it is likely an Exhibit 9 contract, Pincus relays (Twitter link).
  • The Timberwolves intend to add one or two more players to their roster prior to training camp commencing, Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN relays (on Twitter). Minnesota currently has a roster count of 17, which is three below the preseason maximum.

Doc Rivers On Pierce, Allen, Celtics, Magic

Doc Rivers believes Paul Pierce‘s choice in free agency came down to the Clippers and the Celtics, as the Clippers coach/executive said Wednesday and as Jay King of MassLive.com relays. That would mean the Wizards, with whom Pierce spent last season, finished no better than third.

“I think he wanted to go one of two places. He wanted to come back [to Boston] or he wanted to finish his career at home where he grew up, and I think it’s really cool for me that I can be a part of that,” Rivers said.

Those comments came while Rivers was in Boston for a charity function, so location perhaps played a role. Regardless, Rivers had plenty more to say about Pierce, the Clippers, the Celtics, and other topics, as we’ll round up here:

  • Pierce, who signed with the Clippers for the full value of the taxpayer’s mid-level exception, was the team’s priciest free agent addition, but Rivers said he’ll use him judiciously, notes Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com. Rivers isn’t guaranteeing a starting spot for the 17-year veteran who turns 38 next month. “Paul will be great. Paul, I don’t want to overuse him. I know that,” Rivers said. “So, I don’t even know how we are going to use him yet. I want to play him at [power forward] a lot. What I want him to be is healthy in the playoffs. So however we can figure that out, that’s what I’m going to try to do.”
  • Rivers said he and Ray Allen recently played golf, but the Clippers executive added that he didn’t try to convince Allen to sign with the team, tweets Scott Souza of the MetroWest Daily News. The Clips were one of several teams that reportedly attempted to lure Allen this past season, when the shooting guard instead lingered in free agency.
  • Rivers said the collective trust the Celtics players had in coach Brad Stevens was readily apparent after last season’s flurry of trades, Souza also observed (Twitter link). An ESPN panel recently tabbed Stevens as Boston’s No. 1 reason for optimism about the C’s.
  • The Magic, another of Rivers’ former teams, have a shot to make the playoffs this year, Rivers said earlier Wednesday in an appearance on Mike Bianchi’s Open Mike radio show on 740 The Game in Orlando, as Bianchi transcribes in the Orlando Sentinel. Rivers praised new coach Scott Skiles“I think he’s a wonderful coach,” Rivers said. “I think he was a great choice for the franchise. I think people will be surprised with how well they do this year.”

Glen Davis Out 8-12 Weeks After Ankle Surgery

Unrestricted free agent power forward Glen Davis underwent surgery today to repair torn ligaments, a cyst, and bone spurs in his left ankle, Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports reports (Twitter links). Davis is expected to be out of action for two-to-three months before being permitted to return to basketball related activities, Spears adds, which means Davis could return to the court in mid-November or early December if all goes well with his recovery.

This news certainly complicates matters for the 29-year-old, who was garnering strong interest from the Clippers in free agency. Coach and executive Doc Rivers had spoken with Davis’ representatives last week, but no deal was struck. The two sides have reportedly been circling each other since early July. It’s likely at this point that Los Angeles will move on from Davis and look elsewhere to fill out its training camp roster, though the Clippers could certainly revisit adding the forward when he’s recovered from today’s procedure, but that is merely my speculation. Los Angeles currently has a roster count of 15 players, 14 of whom possess fully guaranteed deals.

The Mavericks also reportedly contacted Davis’ representatives recently to discuss a potential deal, and playing overseas in China or Europe were also possibilities for the veteran, as was relayed by Brad Turner of The Los Angeles Times last week. The Bucks were also mentioned as potential suitors early in free agency, but the signing of Chris Copeland effectively removed Milwaukee from the mix for Davis’ services.

Davis appeared in 74 contests for the Clippers during the 2014/15 campaign and averaged 4.0 points and 2.3 rebounds in 12.2 minutes of action per night. His career numbers through eight NBA seasons are 8.0 PPG, 4.4 RPG, and 0.9 APG with a slash line of .447/.182/.700.

Western Notes: Allen, Hayes, Majok

Despite having already proven his versatility to the team, Tony Allen knows that he’ll have to fight for minutes this season on a deep Grizzlies squad, Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal (subscription required) writes. For his part, Allen indicated that he’d willingly accept any role the team asked him to play, Tillery adds. “I don’t get into that. It is what it is. It’s not how you start. It’s how you finish,” Allen said. “I just want to come in, go to work and when I leave [the coaches] will be like, ‘He put his all out there on the line.’ Starting doesn’t mean anything to me. I’ve already shown that.” The 33-year-old appeared in 63 games for Memphis in 2014/15, including 41 starts, and averaged 8.6 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 1.4 assists in 26.2 minutes per contest.

Here’s more from out West:

  • Chuck Hayes‘ one year, minimum salary deal with the Clippers is non-guaranteed, former NBA executive Bobby Marks confirms (via Twitter). Dan Woike of the Orange County Register first reported that no guaranteed salary would be a part of the agreement. That means his salary wouldn’t have bearing on any would-be hard cap unless he makes the opening night roster, as Marks points out (Twitter link).
  • Lakers draft-and-stash power forward Ater Majok has signed with the Polish club Trefl Sopot, the team announced (translation courtesy of Emiliano Carchia of Sportando). Majok was selected by Los Angeles with the No. 58 overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft.
  • Timberwolves combo forward Anthony Bennett hopes to use his strong play for Team Canada this Summer as a springboard to a strong NBA season, Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca writes. Former NBA player and current GM of the Canadian senior men’s team, Steve Nash, is a firm believer in Bennett’s potential, Lewenberg notes, with Nash saying of the young forward, “For me, just to be around him and to see how seriously he’s taking it and how hard he’s worked and how hard he’s trying to pick up the details, like I said, those are the ingredients that are going to make him a great NBA player and a guy that plays in the league for a long time. So I’m [incredibly] proud of Anthony and the work he’s put in this summer.” Minnesota would reportedly be willing to deal Bennett for the right price, though the team isn’t actively shopping the 2013 No. 1 overall pick.

Pacific Rumors: Bryant, Kings, Rivers

Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant addressed their previous feuds as Lakers teammates and made it clear they now have an amicable relationship during a podcast hosted by O’Neal and his co-host John Kincade, with the transcript posted on the team’s website. O’Neal declared that his disagreements with Bryant gave both of them motivation to play their best. “I just want to clear the air and let everyone know that: No, I don’t hate you,” O’Neal said. “We had a lot of disagreements. We had a lot of arguments. But I think it fueled us.” Bryant reflected that his issues with O’Neal made him understand how to handle future problems with teammates. “To me, the most important thing was really to just keep your mouth shut. You don’t need to go to the press with stuff,” he said. “You keep it internal. We have our arguments and our disagreements, but I think having our debates within the press was something I wish would have been avoided. … But I enjoyed playing with him. I had a great, great, great time playing with him, and I appreciate it to this day.”

In other news around the Pacific Division:

  • The Lakers will “probably” sign one to three more players before training camp, a league source told Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News. That will apparently include Marcelo Huertas, who agreed to a one-year deal with the club on Monday. Metta World Peace has also discussed a contract with the team, Medina adds.
  • Vlade Divac has been named Vice President of Basketball Operations and General Manager of the Kings amid a number of front office personnel moves announced by the club via the team’s website. Divac had been hired in March as the club’s VP of Basketball and Franchise Operations. Mike Bratz has been named Assistant GM, Roland Beech was hired as VP of Basketball Strategy and Data Science and former Kings player Peja Stojakovic was announced as Director of Player Personnel and Development.
  • Austin Rivers has signed with ASM Sports, according to Liz Mullen of the Sports Business Journal (Twitter link). Andy Miller and Andrew Vye will represent the Clippers guard. Earlier in the day, Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times reported that Clippers teammate DeAndre Jordan had dropped Relativity Sports agents Dan Fegan and Jarinn Akana as his representatives.

Clippers Sign Chuck Hayes To One-Year Deal

7:37pm: The signing is official, according to the team’s website.

5:00pm: The deal is not fully guaranteed, reports Dan Woike of the Orange County Register (on Twitter).

4:39pm: The Clippers and Chuck Hayes have reached agreement on a one-year deal, a source told Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link). Hayes was set to sign with the Rockets, but that deal fell apart last week. It’ll have to be for the minimum salary, since that’s all the Clippers can give. The deal between Houston and Hayes was reportedly for the minimum with a partial guarantee, though the level of the guarantee on the latest deal for the Calvin Andrews client is unclear. Andrews has nonetheless confirmed the existence of the Clippers deal to Mark Berman of Fox 26 Houston (Twitter link).

Several teams had expressed interest in Hayes for coaching or front office jobs, but still only 32, he was focused on continuing his career as a player, as Andrews said last week. Hayes has a chance to keep playing with the Clippers after putting up career lows across the board, including in minutes per game, with the Raptors this past season. Still, at only 6’6″, the undersized center has performed well on the boards during his 10-year career, pulling down 8.1 rebounds in 28.1 minutes per game for the Rockets in 2010/11.

The deal with Hayes would appear to complicate the team’s reported talks with Glen Davis and Ryan Hollins, and perhaps its apparent interest in Chris Singleton, too. The Clippers have been carrying 14 fully guaranteed contracts, as our roster count shows, so that leaves room for only one more player on the regular season roster.

Whom should the Clippers carry as their 15th man? Hayes, Davis, Hollins, Singleton or somebody else? Leave a comment to chime in.

DeAndre Jordan Drops Relativity Sports Agents

DeAndre Jordan told Relativity Sports agents Dan Fegan and Jarinn Akana last week that he’ll no longer be using them as representatives, a source said to Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times (Twitter links). Fegan has close ties to Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who helped convince Jordan to agree to a deal with Dallas before the center did a 180 and re-signed with the Clippers instead. It’s unclear whom Jordan will hire as his next agent, though he’ll have to wait 15 days to officially make his choice, Turner notes (Twitter link).

Fegan and Akana will still receive the 4% commission on the four-year, maximum salary deal worth $87,616,050 that Jordan wound up signing with the Clippers, as Turner points out (Twitter link), but they lose a high-profile client who can hit free agency again in 2018, a few weeks shy of his 30th birthday. They’re not the first agents with whom Jordan has parted ways. The center began with Joel Bell and moved on to the Wasserman Media Group before joining Relativity, Turner recounts via Twitter.

Today’s news means Jordan and LaMarcus Aldridge, perhaps the two most talked-about free agents this summer, both changed agents after signing their new deals, as former Nets executive Bobby Marks observes (Twitter link). Aldridge went from Wasserman Media Group to Excel Sports Management, as international journalist David Pick reported earlier this month.

Jordan’s move isn’t altogether surprising, given the trappings of the way his commitment to the Mavericks turned into a new deal with the Clippers. Cuban said he was with Fegan while Jordan was apparently in the process of changing his mind, and when Jordan signed his Clippers contract shortly thereafter, it was reportedly Akana, not Fegan, who was present. Austin Rivers, the son of Clippers coach/executive Doc Rivers, also left Relativity this summer, shortly after the agents represented him in negotiations for his new two-year deal worth nearly $6.455MM.

L.A. Notes: World Peace, Russell, Clippers

If the Lakers sign Metta World Peace, which they are thinking about doing, as reports indicate, the primary job for the 15-year NBA veteran who turns 36 in November would be to mentor forward Julius Randle, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders tweets. Randle, the Lakers’ first round draft pick in 2014, suffered a broken leg in his NBA debut last season, but is on track to be recovered by the start of the 2015/16 season.

Here’s more news out of Los Angeles:

  • D’Angelo Russell, who reportedly has Lakers‘ part-owner Jim Buss excited about the upcoming season, plans to meet with current star Kobe Bryant and retired star Steve Nash to pick their brains about how to stick around in the league, Mark Medina of The Los Angeles Daily News reports.
  • Clippers owner Steve Ballmer turned down a $60MM per year offer for local TV rights and is going ahead with a plan to start his own streaming network, reports Claire Atkinson of the New York Post. While there has been talk since last year of the Clippers using a streaming service, the belief is that FOX Sports will find a way to keep them, Arash Markazi of ESPNLosAngeles.com tweets. Atkinson cites experts who doubt that the 59-year-old owner would be able to pull it off. To make $60MM in revenue, the Clippers would have to sign up around 10% of the city’s five million households and get a pretty high price for the service, Atkinson writes.

Pacific Notes: Morris, Rondo, Russell, Davis

Markieff Morris was notably absent as Suns players began gathering for voluntary workouts this week, writes Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic. Morris, unhappy since his twin brother Marcus was traded to the Pistons July 9th, isn’t expected to attend the sessions. Markieff Morris was irate about the deal and asked the Suns to trade him as well, but Coro notes that it would be nearly impossible for Phoenix to get equal value at this point and the team has no one on the roster to fill his role. The twins are angry because they contend they gave the Suns a break on the extensions they signed last year in hopes of remaining together.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • The KingsRajon Rondo tops Yahoo Sports’ Ben Rohrbach’s list of players facing make-or-break seasons in 2015/16. Rondo, who signed a one-year, $9.5MM deal with Sacramento last month, is trying to rebuild his reputation after being shut down early during the playoffs by the Mavericks. Ty Lawson, who was traded to the Rockets July 20th, is second on Rohrbach’s list, followed by Miami’s Hassan Whiteside, Boston’s Jared Sullinger and Oklahoma City’s Dion Waiters.
  • The addition of D’Angelo Russell has Lakers‘ part-owner Jim Buss excited about the upcoming season, according to Eric Pincus of The Los Angeles Times. The Lakers took a risk by drafting Russell second overall, ahead of Duke’s Jahlil Okafor, and Buss said the front office had about 30 meetings before making its final decision. “It was a long, long process that we decided to go with Russell,” Buss said. “He’s just very impressive. We saw an upside of being a potential superstar in the league.”
  • Free agent Glen Davis, who has spent the last season and a half with the Clippers, has to convince a team that he can still be an effective scorer, writes Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. Nearing age 30, Davis has evolved into an energy player in recent years, averaging just 4.0 points per game last season, down from a career-high 15.1 in 2012/13. Washburn also notes that the Clippers are being selective in possible deals involving Jamal Crawford. They are willing to part with the 35-year-old, but only for the “right return.”

And-Ones: Cherry, Jones, O’Quinn, Hibbert

Will Cherry is expected to sign with Germany Alba Berlin, Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports tweets. An official for the club told international journalist David Pick, who first reported the team’s interest, that the signing will indeed take place (Twitter links). Cherry played in Lithuania last season after being waived by the Cavs. The point guard saw action in eight games with Cleveland early last season and averaged 1.9 points, 1.0 assists and 0.8 steals in 8.6 minutes per game.

Here are some notes from around the league:

  • A. Sherrod Blakely of CSSNE.com names Rockets forward Terrence Jones as a “glue guy” to watch this season. Jones is eligible for a rookie scale extension and will make slightly under $2.5MM in the last season of his current deal.
  • Blakely also names Kyle O’Quinn as a player to watch this season. The Knicks acquired O’Quinn via sign-and-trade with the Magic. The 25-year-old’s contract is worth $16MM over four years.
  • Fran Blinebury of NBA.com examines possible nominees for the 2015/16 Comeback Player of the Year Award. Some notable players on the list are Kevin Durant, Paul George, Kobe Bryant and Chris Bosh. Blinebury also includes Roy Hibbert and Lance Stephenson as candidates to improve upon their 2014/15 performances. Both players changed area codes this offseason. Hibbert was sent to the Lakers in exchange for a second round pick. Stephenson was traded to the Clippers in exchange for Spencer Hawes and Matt Barnes.

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