Los Angeles Clippers

Northwest Notes: Durant, Thunder, Blazers

The Blazers acquired Mike Miller from the Cavs earlier this week but he’s probably not sticking around for long.  The veteran is a “strong candidate” to negotiate a buyout with Portland, Marc Stein of ESPN.com hears, and the Grizzlies, Thunder, and Mavs already appear to be interested.  While we wait for more on that, here’s more from the Northwest Division..

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Pacific Notes: Hibbert, Crawford, Cousins, Evans

Lakers trade acquisition Roy Hibbert is excited to play for coach Byron Scott, and while he cautioned that he has nothing against Pacers coach Frank Vogel, the center made it clear as he spoke with TNT’s David Aldridge that his preference this summer was to end up on a team with a former player as coach. Hibbert also expressed his unwavering sentiment for Pacers president of basketball operations Larry Bird, even though Bird strongly signaled to the media this spring that he was ready to move on from the former All-Star.
Larry was very up front with me,” Hibbert said. “He said before the press conference that I can’t promise you minutes next year, and they wanted to go in a different direction. So it wasn’t like what happened came out of nowhere, what he said. I’ll always say that Larry changed my life. I was on the phone with my agent in the office during the [2009] draft process and Larry said ‘If Roy’s there at 17, we’ll take him.’ That meant a lot to me. I know that things change and the NBA is ‘What have you done for me lately?,’ but I could never say a bad thing about Larry or the Pacers organization.”
We had more on Hibbert’s old team earlier today, and now here’s the latest on his new team’s division rivals:

Pelicans Sign Kendrick Perkins

JULY 28TH, 11:13pm: The deal is official, the Pelicans announced.

JULY 21ST, 6:49pm: The Pelicans and unrestricted free agent Kendrick Perkins are in the process of finalizing a contract agreement, Marc Stein of ESPN.com reports (Twitter links). It will be a one-year pact for the veteran’s minimum, Stein adds.

The Clippers, Rockets, and Knicks had all expressed interest in the 30-year-old center. Instead, Perkins will add depth and grit behind starter Omer Asik, who re-signed with New Orleans this offseason for five years and approximately $60MM.

Perkins appeared in a combined 68 games for the Thunder and the Cavaliers, averaging 4.0 points and 5.5 rebounds for OKC and 2.6 PPG and 2.4 RPG for Cleveland. His career numbers through 12 NBA seasons are 5.5 PPG, 5.9 RPG, and 1.2 BPG to go along with a slash line of .530/.000/.597.

Ekpe Udoh Signs To Play In Turkey

Former No. 6 overall pick Ekpe Udoh has signed with Turkish powerhouse Fenerbahce Ulker, the team announced (Twitter link; translation via Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia). It’s a one-year deal for in excess of $1MM with no NBA escape clause, tweets Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports. News of NBA interest in the big man was scarce this summer after he saw little action with the Clippers this past season.

Udoh averaged just fractions of a point and a rebound in 3.9 minutes per game across 33 appearances on his one-year, minimum-salary deal with the Clippers. He reportedly picked the Clippers over interest from the Cavs, Bulls and Kings last year in part because he thought he’d see more playing time in L.A., but that didn’t materialize. The now 28-year-old averaged 19.1 minutes per game and made 14 starts for the 2013/14 Bucks.

He’ll have a chance to rehabilitate his NBA career with surely plenty of eyes from the league watching his team, which also includes NBA veterans Pero Antic, Gigi Datome and Jan Vesely as well as Bogdan Bogdanovic, whom the Suns drafted 27th overall last year, notes David Pick of Eurobasket.com (Twitter link). Fenerbahce will play the Nets in a preseason game this year.

Do you think Ekpe Udoh is an NBA-caliber player? Leave a comment to tell us.

Latest On Carlos Boozer

The Knicks, Rockets and Mavericks continue to have interest in signing Carlos Boozer, league sources tell Michael Scotto of SheridanHoops (Twitter link). Scotto first identified the Knicks as among the teams eyeing the Rob Pelinka client earlier this month, though Marc Berman of the New York Post reported soon thereafter that the Knicks had engaged in internal conversations about him but hadn’t made a formal pursuit. Chris Broussard of ESPN.com pegged the Mavs and Rockets as among the teams in on Boozer just before free agency began, while Broussard later heard that the Mavs were one of four teams in talks with the former All-Star.

The Knicks and Mavericks have access to the $2.814MM room exception. The Rockets are in a tough spot, since they only have roughly $2.3MM left on their mid-level exception to spend but would trigger a hard cap if they gave any of it to Boozer. Houston also has No. 32 pick Montrezl Harrell who remains unsigned.

Several other teams, including the Clippers, Spurs, Raptors, Pelicans, Nuggets, Nets, Lakers and Heat, have reportedly been interested in Boozer over the last month, but it’s unclear if any of them remain in the mix. Boozer and the Clippers reportedly had mutual interest.

Pacers Re-Sign Lavoy Allen

JULY 27TH, 2:17pm: The signing is official, the Pacers announced.

“We think he’s ready to step in and play more minutes at two different positions,” said Pacers president of basketball operations Larry Bird. “This is a great opportunity for him to play night in and night out at a high level.”

9:22pm: Allen’s deal will be worth a total of approximately $12MM, Spears tweets.

JULY 2ND, 7:12pm: The Pacers and free agent Lavoy Allen have reached an agreement on a multiyear deal, Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports reports (Twitter link). The pact is for three years, and includes a team option for the final season, Jessica Camerato of Basketball Insiders relays (on Twitter). The Clippers were also reportedly interested in the 26-year-old’s services.

In 63 appearances for Indiana last season, Allen averaged 5.0 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 1.2 assists, with a slash line of .472/.000/.702. His career numbers are 5.0 PPG, 4.8 RPG, and 1.0 APG. His career shooting numbers are .459/.143/.702.

Allen was the 50th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. The 6’9″ forward began his career with the Sixers before being included in the deal that brought Evan Turner to the Pacers.

Clippers To Bring Yanick Moreira To Camp

The Clippers have an agreement with undrafted center Yanick Moreira for training camp, as Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia first reported and as Fiba.com confirms. Moreira said last week during a press conference in his native Angola that he wouldn’t play for the national team this summer, and Angola’s coach indicated that his decision came because of the opportunity to play in the NBA, as Fiba.com details. It’s a partially guaranteed arrangement, according to Carchia, and it has to be for the minimum salary, since that’s all the Clippers have to give.

Moreira, who attended SMU, was the 95th-best prospect in this year’s draft class, as Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress ranked them, but he was unranked on Chad Ford’s ESPN Insider listings. The Clippers weren’t among a group of teams reported to have worked him out prior to the draft, one that was composed of the CelticsJazzSuns and Nets, but he was a starter on the Clippers summer league team, averaging 9.6 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.2 blocks in 25.1 minutes per game.

The Clippers have a fairly uncluttered roster, with 13 full guarantees and Jordan Hamilton‘s non-guaranteed salary. That would seemingly give Moreira, who turns 24 this week, a better shot than most camp invitees to make it to opening night, though the team will surely make other signings between now and the start of camp.

Do you think Moreira will see regular season action in the NBA at some point, either with the Clippers or some other team? Leave a comment to let us know.

Western Notes: Mejri, Asik, Jordan, Suns

The Mavericks have made a three-year offer to Tunisian center Salah Mejri, tweets Marc Stein of ESPN.com. The 7’1″ Mejri didn’t see much playing time last season with Real Madrid, but Dallas wants to find out if he can succeed at the NBA level. Mejri has the physical tools, according to David Pick of Eurobasket.com, who cites his energy, mobility and “giraffe length” (Twitter link). Mejri was recently released by Real Madrid and is reportedly leaning toward trying the NBA.

There’s more news from the Western Conference:

  • Back spasms will prevent the PelicansOmer Asik from competing for the Turkish team in Eurobasket 2015, according to John Reid of The Times Picayune. Even though he has to miss the September competition, there are no worries that the back problem will affect Asik when the Pelicans open camp. The center recently signed a five-year, $58MM deal to remain in New Orleans, although only the first four seasons are guaranteed at nearly $45MM.
  • The ClippersDeAndre Jordan knows it will take time for the controversy surrounding his free agency change of heart to die down, writes Dan Woike of The Orange County Register. Jordan, who committed to the Mavericks before staying in Los Angeles, understands the hard feelings in Dallas. “It’s absolutely not behind me,” he said. “I think over time, it will be. Just, there are people making this out like I committed some huge crime, like I’m an enemy of the state.” Jordan said he chose the Clippers because he wants to be associated with just one team during his NBA career.
  • The Suns‘ offseason moves could make them a dark horse playoff contender in the West, according to Cody Taylor of Basketball Insiders. The addition of Tyson Chandler gives the team a rim protector and a veteran leader, Taylor writes. Also, the trade that sent Marcus Morris, Reggie Bullock and Danny Granger to the Pistons cleared more than $8MM in cap room and created more playing time for T.J. Warren and Archie Goodwin, who both were impressive in summer league play.

Pacific Notes: James, Rivers, Lakers, Kings

Summer league point guard Mike James impressed the Suns, but the team doesn’t seem to have a need for another point guard, observes Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic. Multiple teams are in pursuit, according to Shams Charania of RealGM (Twitter link), but he’s under contract with Laboral Kuxta Vitoria in Spain, Coro points out, suggesting that it would likely require a guaranteed deal with an NBA team to make it worthwhile for him to exercise his buyout clause. James, who’s not to be confused with the 12-year veteran by the same name, is inclined to play one more season in Spain, Charania adds.

Here’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Austin Rivers‘ brief tenure with Relativity Sports has met an end, tweets Liz Mullen of SportsBusiness Journal. Rivers joined the agency after splitting with David Falk this past season. Relativity represented him as he came to a two-year deal for nearly $6.455MM to stay with father Doc Rivers and the Clippers.
  • The deals that Caron Butler, Quincy Acy, and Seth Curry agreed to with the Kings are all two-year, minimum salary arrangements that are fully guaranteed the first year and include player options for the second season, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders tweets.
  • The performance of the Lakers‘ Summer League squad was underwhelming, leaving some around the league skeptical of the long-term future of a number of the team’s younger prospects, Sean Deveney of The Sporting News writes. “You don’t want to draw any conclusions from a few summer games obviously,” one league executive told Deveney. “But I think in general, the way to put it is that they probably value their assets more than the rest of the league values them. Everyone gambles on young guys. You just don’t know. For [the Lakers], they could all turn out to be fine, but they’re a long way from that now.
  • The new Kings arena cleared another legal hurdle Friday, as a judge issued a ruling in favor of the city of Sacramento and against plaintiffs who asserted that the team and the city struck a side deal, writes Tony Bizjak of The Sacramento Bee. The arena is already under construction.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Hoops Rumors Community Shootaround 7/23/15

Last season’s version of the Clippers secured the third seed in the Western Conference playoffs with an overall record of 56-26, despite playing with what could be considered a flawed roster. Los Angeles lacked a productive starting small forward, a reliable backup to Chris Paul at the point, as well as depth at center behind DeAndre Jordan. The Clippers fell in the second round of the playoffs to the Rockets in seven games, thanks in large part to the previously mentioned holes in the team’s rotation. One of the biggest miscalculations made by coach/executive Doc Rivers last season was his decision to ink Spencer Hawes to a four-year, $23MM pact instead of addressing the team’s other glaring needs. Hawes didn’t provide much production, and it can be argued that if Rivers had instead signed a wing player who could provide offense and stretch the floor, someone like a Paul Pierce, the team may have advanced deeper into the postseason.

Well, Rivers apparently agreed, judging by the franchise’s offseason moves thus far. Gone is Hawes, and in comes Pierce, as well as the wildcard that is Lance Stephenson, to provide some needed scoring and production from the wing. The team didn’t stop there with the overhaul with Rivers also adding veteran point guard Pablo Prigioni to backup Paul, Josh Smith to provide frontcourt depth and matchup options, and retained both J.J. Redick and Austin Rivers, not to mention staving off the Mavericks and re-signing Jordan.

This brings us to the topic of the day: What are your predictions for the Clippers’ 2015/16 campaign?

Have the Clippers improved enough that they are the team to beat in the West? Or do you think the team merely kept pace with the other conference contenders this Summer? Sound off in the comments section below with your thoughts, opinions, and predictions. Are any of you ready to crown them the preseason favorites in the West, or do you sense a backslide is in the cards for the franchise? How big an impact will the new additions have? If you believe the team still has holes, then what can be done to plug them? We look forward to what you have to say.

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