Pacific Notes: Clarkson, Sterling, Thompson

Jordan Clarkson credits his D-League assignments during the first part of this past season for helping him emerge as a breakout performer at the NBA level as the season wore on, he tells Brian Kotloff of The Lakers guaranteed the point guard’s minimum salary for the coming season when they kept him on the roster through this past Saturday.

“I’m focused on always working on my game,” Clarkson said to Kotloff. “Early in the year, I wasn’t getting much time with the Lakers. Sometimes I would ask Coach [Byron Scott] to just go let me play. I love to hoop and you can never get better just by sitting on the bench. Going to play in those [D-Fenders] games definitely helped me to work on stuff that I could transfer over when I got time in the [NBA]. The game is a little different between the levels, but it helped slow the game down for me and it sped up my process of becoming a good player in [the NBA].”

The Lakers have a geographic edge with their D-League affiliate, since the D-Fenders play their home games in the same facility where the Lakers practice. See more from around the Pacific Division:

  • Former Clippers owner Donald Sterling has filed for divorce from his wife, Shelly, and he’s also filed a petition for an accounting and distribution of the proceeds of the $2 billion new owner Steve Ballmer paid to purchase the team last year, reports Dan Woike of the Orange County Register. Half of that money is frozen in escrow pending Donald Sterling’s $1 billion lawsuit against the NBA, Woike notes. Shelly Sterling controls the family trust into which the other half of Ballmer’s payment went, so Donald Sterling, who’s estranged from his wife, hasn’t seen any money from the sale yet, notes Ramona Shelburne of (Twitter links). Shelly Sterling said she’s paid $600MM in taxes and fees on the sale proceeds so far, Shelburne adds.
  • Jason Thompson is a better fit with Warriors tempo, a proficient rebounder, and an upgrade defensively over David Lee, whose role he inherits, as SB Nation’s Tom Ziller argues in a look at Golden State’s trade with the Sixers. Thompson’s presence is particularly valuable for the Warriors given his success guarding LaMarcus Aldridge and, to a lesser degree, Blake Griffin, as Ziller examines.
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