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Los Angeles Clippers

NBA D-League Assignments/Recalls: 12/2/16

Here are Friday’s D-League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

  • The Clippers recalled forward Diamond Stone from the D-League earlier today, the team announced. Stone appeared in four games for the Santa Cruz Warriors, where he was sent via the flexible assignment rule, and averaged 14.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.0 block in 17.0 minutes of action per outing.
  • The Sixers sent Nerlens Noel to their D-League affiliate in Delaware earlier today in order for the big man to participate in the 87ers’ practice, the team announced. The center was subsequently recalled this afternoon, Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly.com tweets.
  • The Hawks have recalled small forward DeAndre’ Bembry from the D-League, the team announced via press release. Bembry’s stint in the D-League was spent with the Salt Lake City Stars, Utah’s affiliate, since Atlanta does not possess an affiliate of its own. The 2016 first-rounder has appeared in seven games for the Hawks this season, averaging 1.3 points on 33.3% shooting.
  • Chris McCullough has been assigned to the Nets‘ D-League affiliate, the team announced via press release. McCullough has averaged 18.7 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 29.1 minutes per contest in six games on assignment with Long Island this season.
  • The Pelicans sent rookie forward Cheick Diallo to the Austin Spurs of the NBA Development League via to the flexible assignment system, the team announced. Diallo has appeared in six games with Austin already this campaign, averaging 14.3 points on .553 shooting from the floor, 6.7 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game.

Clippers Rumors: Paul, Griffin, Trade Options

The Clippers expect Chris Paul to demand a full five-year, maximum salary contract when he becomes eligible for unrestricted free agency in 2017, league sources tell ESPN.com’s Zach Lowe. Paul has an option for the 2017/18 season, but given the rising salary cap, he’s expected to opt out – along with Blake Griffin – to secure a more lucrative deal.

The new Collective Bargaining Agreement could have an impact on what Paul’s next contract might look like, but under the current CBA, he’d be eligible for a starting salary of around $33.5MM, based on the current cap projections for next year. At that rate, a full maximum salary deal for five years would be worth in excess of $190MM. That would be a huge investment for the Clippers to make in a point guard who will be 32 next summer, and it remains to be seen how negotiations will play out between the two sides. But as Lowe observes, owner Steve Ballmer has indicated he’s willing to spend what it takes to keep the team together.

Here’s more from Lowe on the Clippers:

  • While Lowe doesn’t cite any sources when he discusses Griffin’s situation, he suggests that maxing out the star power forward would be a “no-brainer” for the Clippers next summer. As the ESPN scribe notes, Doc Rivers has no interest in engaging in a rebuild, and the franchise isn’t well-positioned for one, so expect L.A. to do everything it can to keep its core pieces and remain in contention.
  • The Clippers are almost out of trade assets, but they could conceivably package Jamal Crawford and a future first-round pick for an upgrade on the wing, says Lowe. Still, he notes that the team loves Crawford and quality wings “don’t come cheap.”
  • The Clippers currently have two future first-rounders committed to other teams in trades, but they have some flexibility to move another one, despite the Ted Stepien rule. As Lowe explains, the NBA quietly made a change its trade rules this past summer — teams are now allowed to simultaneously owe two separate first-round picks with “two years after” language attached, rather than just one. The Clips are currently set to send the Celtics a first-round pick two years after they send one to the Raptors, and could agree to trade another first-rounder that would change hands two years after that pick is sent to Boston.

Pacific Notes: Russell, Clippers, Richardson

Lakers point guard D’Angelo Russell said his left knee felt “better” Saturday as he hoisted a few set shots after practice, relays Mark Medina of The Orange County Register. Russell made his first public comments since receiving a platelet-rich plasma injection on Wednesday. He is undergoing a rehab regimen that includes poll and low-impact cardio exercises and will be re-evaluated later this week. “Definitely don’t want to force anything back,” said Russell, who will be reevalauted later in the week. “I feel like I got to be 100 percent perfect before I step back on the floor.” He will likely be out of action for two more weeks.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Clippers‘ rebuilt bench makes them a legitimate challenger to Golden State in the West, contends Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee. The reserves have been a liability in the past, but the Clippers addressed that issue this summer with the signings of Marreese Speights and Raymond Felton. Add in Sixth Man of the Year Jamal Crawford and the return of Wesley Johnson from a heel injury, and the bench seems ready to support a strong starting lineup.
  • Being assigned to the D-League gave Kings rookie Malachi Richardson the chance to enjoy the thrill of hitting a game-winning shot, writes Shahbaz Khan of NBA.com. It came in Reno’s recent victory over Texas and the Kings were happy to see how Richardson responded in a pressure situation. “The great players take those type of shots,” he said, “and one day I want to be one of those players, so I decided to take it.”
  • Alex Len, who will be a restricted free agent after the season, has played well as a starter, but does not mind shifting back to the Suns‘ bench because of Tyson Chandler‘s return from injury, Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic relays.

Griffin's Health Leads To Blazing Start

  • Clippers coach Doc Rivers said there’s a simple reason for forward Blake Griffin‘s hot start. “His health,” Rivers told the media prior to Friday’s game at Detroit. “He, I thought, was going to have this (type of) year last year. Just getting injured kind of sidetracked him. Even before he was injured (with a quad issue), his knee was bothering him. You can tell he worked all summer on his game and he has great focus.” Griffin, who will be one of the hottest unrestricted free agents on the market next summer, is averaging 21.4 points and 8.7 rebounds in 33.0 minutes.

Mavericks Notes: Felton, Nowitzki, Matthews, Harris

Clippers point guard Raymond Felton returned to Dallas tonight, and the shorthanded Mavericks may be wishing they had kept him, writes Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News. The team is playing without Deron Williams, J.J. Barea and Devin Harris, who have all been sidelined by injuries. Mavs coach Rick Carlisle called it a “franchise decision” to let Felton go, but he clearly misses having the veteran guard. “Felton played great for us, and I wish we would have brought him back,” Carlisle said. “He was a big difference-maker for us last year and probably one of the big reasons we got to the playoffs. You look at the whole year and everything that happened start to finish, Ray was filling in and starting. And we were winning a lot of those games because of what he was giving us. He’s a winner and was an ultimate pro here for two years. And the Clippers are very lucky to have him.” Felton, who got a one-year, minimum-salary deal from L.A., said the Mavericks were always his first choice. “I made it clear where I wanted to be,” he said. “Sometimes, things just don’t work out.”

There’s more news out of Dallas:

DeMar DeRozan Talks Toronto, L.A., Free Agency

Heading into free agency this past summer, DeMar DeRozan seemed likely to re-up with the Raptors, but there were several teams lurking as probable suitors for the All-Star shooting guard. As Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated writes, those teams included the Heat, Clippers, and Lakers.

DeRozan is a Los Angeles native, and the idea of returning to Southern California to play for one of his hometown teams certainly had some appeal to him. However, the 27-year-old quickly reached a new agreement with Toronto instead, declining to take meetings with any other team. DeRozan spoke to Spears about that decision and a few other topics, so let’s round up some of his more interesting quotes from the piece…

On whether it was hard to pass up the opportunity to play for an L.A. team:

“Yeah, of course. At the end of the day, the Lakers are the Lakers. I grew up a Lakers fan. Kobe [Bryant] was my favorite player growing up. I didn’t miss a game as a kid. Just to have the opportunity was amazing. I watched one of my favorite players create a legacy of his own and leave his mark there. He left his own mark there. It will always be there. I want to leave my own mark in Toronto.”

On why he chose not to meet with any teams besides Toronto in free agency:

“If I knew where I wanted to be from the beginning … I didn’t want to waste anybody’s time and just hear somebody else talk or say something when I know in the back of my mind that I want to do something else. As long as that something else was mutual, there was no point of me doing anything else. … I don’t want to waste anybody’s time. I didn’t want to give false hope if I knew what I felt inside was right. And that was me going back [to the Raptors].”

On what it meant that the Raptors pushed hard to re-sign him to a long-term deal:

“It meant a lot. It was a mutual feeling. It made everything else easier. Nobody had a doubt, from the organization to the fans. Everything we created was going to be there and still was going to be the same. That’s amazing when everybody is on the same page.”

On whether he wants to become the greatest player in Raptors history:

“Without a doubt. No question. How many people get to say they hold one record for an organization, or were on the winningest team in Raptors history, or did this with one organization? All of those things last longer than your playing career. It took time for me to get out of the second round [of the playoffs] in Raptors history. And we did that [in 2016], and that’s something that is going to be there. … If we don’t do it and someone else wins a championship, they are still going to revert back to the 2015/16 team as the best team until then. Ten, 15, 20 years from now, whatever it might be, those things last longer. It’s something you put your all into.”

Be sure to check out Spears’ full piece for more thoughts from DeRozan on living in Canada, growing up in Compton, playing for Team USA in the Olympics, and watching the U.S. election results.

Paul: Relationship With Griffin “Better Now Than Ever”

Clippers teammates Chris Paul and Blake Griffin are on track to be two of the top free agents on the market in 2017, but based on how things look right now, there’s no reason that they’d want to leave Los Angeles. After beating the Raptors on Monday night, the Clippers have a league-best 13-2 record, and Paul tells Sam Amick of USA Today that his relationship with Griffin is in a great place.

“Oh, no question (it’s) better now than ever,” Paul told Amick. “Like I’m saying, we both have matured so much, and our communication is amazing right now, so sometimes it takes time. That’s what (happened) with me and BG, and there’s nothing like it right now. We are having some of the most fun that we’ve had in our time together.”

As Amick details, Paul and Griffin have been able to bond over shared experiences, ranging from both having two young children to both being sidelined by injuries during the team’s playoff series against the Trail Blazers last spring. Griffin pointed to some of the team’s postseason disappointments in past seasons as a reason why he and Paul and the Clippers are appreciating their success so far this season.

“Year to year you go through those ups and downs,” Griffin said. “A lot of heartbreak in the playoffs, obviously, well documented, well talked-about everything that we’ve gone through. And some of it has been, for lack of a better word, back luck. Injuries here or there. Some of it has been our own fault, but I think you go through a year like last year, where CP and I both get hurt, and you’re not even really 100 percent to start with, and you cherish these moments, you cherish being a good team. Whether people want to admit it or not, we’re a solid team.”

It will be worth watching Paul, Griffin, and the Clippers this year, since perhaps a turn in the club’s fortunes or another early playoff exit would prompt one or both of them to consider another team in free agency. For now though, all indications are that neither player wants out of the partnership, and that the Clippers are confident about keeping the duo together for the long term.

NBA D-League Assignments/Recalls: 11/19/16

Listed below are Saturday’s D-League assignments and recalls from around the NBA. This post will be updated throughout the day if and when other teams announce moves.

6:47pm:

  • The Suns have recalled Derrick Jones Jr. from the Northern Arizona Suns, the team’s D-League affiliate, according to their Twitter feed.
  • The Clippers have assigned Diamond Stone to the D-League and he will play for the Santa Cruz Warriors, Marc J. Spears of ESPN.com tweets.
  • The Bucks have assigned Rashad Vaughn to the D-League and he will play for the Westchester Knicks, Chris Reichert of The Step Back reports (Twitter link).

1:11pm

  • The Spurs have assigned Dejounte Murray and Bryn Forbes to the D-League, according to the team. While the headline of San Antonio’s press release indicates Murray has been recalled from the Austin Spurs, the rookie had already been with the NBA club, and the release itself says he and Forbes are being sent to Austin, where they’ll be available for tonight’s game against the Erie Bayhawks. It’s already the fifth assignment of the season for Murray, and the third for Forbes.

NBA D-League Assignments/Recalls: 11/18/16

Here are Friday’s D-League assignments and recalls from across the NBA:

11:35pm

  • The Knicks assigned Ron Baker and Marshall Plumlee to their D-League affiliate in Westchester, the team announced (Twitter link). The duo will play in the team’s contest in White Plains on Saturday.
  • The Clippers have assigned rookie big man Diamond Stone to the D-League, Chris Reichert of Upside & Motor relays (via Twitter). Since Los Angeles does not have a D-League affiliate of its own, Stone will report to the Santa Cruz Warriors via the flexible assignment rule, Reichert adds.

2:31pm

  • The Kings have recalled rookie center Georgios Papagiannis from the D-League, the team announced today in a press release. The first-rounder’s assignment lasted three games, during which he averaged 10.3 PPG, 6.7 RPG, and 2.3 BPG for the Reno Bighorns. His fellow first-rounders, Malachi Richardson and Skal Labissiere, remain in the D-League for now.
  • Rookie big man Ivica Zubac has been recalled by the Lakers from the Los Angeles D-Fenders, the club confirmed in a press release. Zubac, who has appeared in three games for the Lakers, saw 23 minutes of action in his D-League debut on Thursday, and recorded 13 points, three boards, and a pair of blocked shots.

Sterling Settles Suit With League

  • Former Clippers owner Donald Sterling has reached a settlement with the NBA in his lawsuit over the $2 billion sale of the team to Steve Ballmer, Nathan Fenno of The Los Angeles Times reports. The suit was filed back in 2014 and alleged that the NBA, commissioner Adam Silver and others engaged in a wide-ranging conspiracy to remove him as owner of the team, Fenno adds. The details and value of the settlement were not released to the media.

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