Month: February 2017

Offseason In Review: Los Angeles Clippers

Hoops Rumors is breaking down the 2016 offseason for all 30 NBA teams, revisiting the summer’s free agent signings, trades, draft picks, departures, and more. We’ll evaluate each team’s moves from the last several months and look ahead to what the 2016/17 season holds for all 30 franchises. Today, we’re focusing on the Los Angeles Clippers.

Free agent signings:

Camp invitees:

Trades:

Draft picks:

Departing players:

Other offseason news:


Check out our salary cap snapshot for the Los Angeles Clippers right here.


Oct 18, 2016; Sacramento, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin (32) during the first quarter against the Sacramento Kings at Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY SportsLast season ended in familiar fashion for a franchise that has often seemed jinxed. The core of that Clippers team has returned for another run at the title, but this could be their last one together.

L.A.’s playoff hopes went down in flames in April when Blake Griffin and Chris Paul were lost to injuries on the same day. Griffin re-aggravated a partially torn quad muscle and Paul suffered a fracture in his right hand that required surgery. In their absence, the Trail Blazers rallied to win the series and set up a summer of uncertainty in Los Angeles.

Clippers management extended a vote of confidence to this current group by not making any major deals during the offseason and re-signing four significant free agents. A few veterans were brought in to strengthen the bench and put the team in a better position to contend for the title.

There’s definitely a sense of urgency to the new season as Griffin and Paul both have opt-out clauses in their contracts, which could give L.A. two very pricey free agents to re-sign next summer. In addition, shooting guard J.J. Redick will definitely be a free agent and figures to be highly in demand in a league that is placing an increased emphasis on outside shooting. Veteran Paul Pierce, who considered retirement over the summer, decided to return but let the organization know this will be his final season.

The Clippers were one of the suitors to get a meeting with Kevin Durant in July, but when he chose the Warriors, L.A. launched into Plan B, which was to keep its team together. Free agent guard Austin Rivers re-signed for $35.475MM over three years. Small forward Wesley Johnson received $17.644MM over three years and Luc Mbah a Moute got $4.505MM for two years. All three have player options for the final year of their deals.

Also brought back was reigning Sixth Man of the Year Jamal Crawford. At least five teams made pitches to the 36-year-old, who was unhappy with L.A.’s initial offer of $12MM for one season. The Clippers responded with a number more to Crawford’s liking and he re-signed for three years at $42MM. Crawford was the team’s top offensive threat off the bench once again last season, averaging 14.2 points per game and shooting 34% from 3-point range.

The Clippers enjoyed what they consider to be a free agent coup when they landed Golden State big man Marreese Speights, who was looking for a larger role than he had with the Warriors. Speights agreed to a two-year, minimum-salary deal with a player option, and coach Doc Rivers was elated to add him to the team.

“I don’t think anyone has a guy like that on their bench, for that matter,” Rivers said. “Golden State had one last year, and now he’s on our team.”

L.A. brought in three other veteran free agents to fortify its bench: power forward Brandon Bass, who averaged 7.2 points and 4.3 rebounds per game with the Lakers in 2015/16, point guard Raymond Felton, who put up 9.5 points and 3.6 assists per night in Dallas and swingman Alan Anderson, who was coming off a season with the Wizards in which he averaged 5.0 points and 2.0 rebounds.

Depth has been an ongoing problem during the Griffin-Paul era, along with small forward. L.A. hasn’t been able to find the right complement to an otherwise stellar starting lineup of Griffin, Paul, Redick and DeAndre Jordan. Several candidates have passed through the organization in recent years, but none has been able to hold the job. Pierce, Johnson and ex-Clipper Lance Stephenson all held the starting role at times last year before defensive specialist Mbah a Moute won the job. He enters this season in the starting three spot, but it remains a position of need for Los Angeles if a midseason trade opportunity comes along.

After having no picks in 2015, the Clippers landed two promising young big men and a draft-and-stash point guard this year. At No. 25, they drafted North Carolina power forward Brice Johnson, a first-team AP all-American who averaged a double-double in his senior year with the Tar Heels and set the school’s single-season rebounding record. The Clippers hope he can develop into an effective backup for Griffin, but he suffered a preseason setback with a herniated disc in his back that has him out indefinitely.

The Clippers owned the Nets’ second-round pick at No. 33, but traded Kansas center Cheick Diallo to the Pelicans for two later picks. They used the No. 39 choice on point guard David Michineau, who will spend at least one season in France, and the No. 40 selection on Maryland center Diamond Stone, who made the 15-man roster.

After years of misery, the Clippers have become one of the league’s most successful and entertaining teams over the past four seasons, with at least 53 wins each year. But each of those seasons has ended in playoff disappointment, and gaudy regular season win totals may not be enough to keep this team together.

The front office is looking at some difficult decisions next summer. If this year’s free agency is any guide, tons of cash will be thrown around again, and Griffin, Paul and Redick will all have huge offers to sort through. If the Clippers’ current core wants to remain together for the rest of the decade, this is the year they will have to prove themselves in the playoffs.

Salary information from Basketball Insiders used in the creation of this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Thunder Sign Steven Adams To Extension

11:13pm: The Thunder have formally announced their new deal with Adams, issuing a press release confirming the news.Steven Adams vertical

3:49pm: Adams and OKC are in the process of finalizing a four-year, $100MM extension, Wojnarowski tweets.

1:55pm: The Thunder and center Steven Adams are making “significant progress” in discussions on a potential contract extension, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. According to Wojnarowski, the two sides are working toward a possible four-year, $100MM deal.

Adams is one of many 2013 first-round picks who remains eligible for a rookie-scale extension until the end of Monday. Teams have until midnight eastern time to lock up extension-eligible players to new deals — if the two sides can’t agree to terms, those players will remain on track for restricted free agency in the summer of 2017.

Adams, 23, averaged a modest 8.0 PPG to go along with 6.7 RPG, 1.1 BPG, and a .613 FG% during the 2015/16 season. Those numbers aren’t eye-popping, and his career .551 FT% is a cause for some concern. However, Adams’ showing in the postseason provided a better picture of his importance to the Thunder.

In 18 playoff games, the New Zealand native saw his minutes per game increase from 25.2 to 30.7, and he nearly averaged a double-double in those contests, with 10.1 PPG and 9.5 RPG. In the team’s first three games this season, Adams has notched 13.0 PPG and 9.0 RPG in an expanded role.

When I explored Adams’ extension candidacy back in August, I suggested the Thunder might want to wait until next summer in order to maximize their potential cap room. Signing Adams to a new deal now would mean his salary would hit the team’s 2017/18 books immediately after the July moratorium ends next summer. By waiting to extend him, Oklahoma City would initially carry a smaller cap hold, allowing the club a little more flexibility to pursue free agents or trade targets.

Still, waiting until next July to lock up Adams would almost certainly mean giving him a max deal, since there’d likely be other suitors ready to make such an offer. A four-year, $100MM pact would come in a little below the max based on current cap projections, which could motivate the Thunder to work something out sooner rather than later. Giannis Antetokounmpo signed a four-year, $100MM rookie-scale extension with the Bucks earlier this year.

In addition to Adams, Victor Oladipo and Andre Roberson are also eligible for extensions for the Thunder.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Thunder Sign Victor Oladipo To Extension

11:12pm: The Thunder have officially signed Oladipo to an extension, the team announced today in a press release.

2:52pm: The Thunder have agreed to a four-year extension with Victor Oladipo in advance of tonight’s deadline, according to Shams Charania of The Vertical. Oladipo’s new deal, which will go into effect in 2017/18, is expected to be worth $84MM, per Charania.Victor Oladipo vertical

[RELATED: Thunder, Steven Adams making significant progress in extension talks]

A former second overall pick out of Indiana, Oladipo was part of the trade that sent to Serge Ibaka to Orlando in June, heading to Oklahoma City in the deal along with Domantas Sabonis and Ersan Ilyasova. Reports in the summer suggested that Oladipo might be seeking a maximum-salary contract, but the Thunder were able to lock him up at a lower rate, ensuring that he’ll stay off the free agent market next summer.

Oladipo, 24, was one of the primary scorers for the Magic during his three years with the team, averaging 15.9 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 4.0 APG, and 1.6 SPG in 224 regular-season contests. In his first three games with the Thunder, he has averaged 17.0 PPG on a FG% of just .340, though that’s obviously a very small sample size.

The Thunder completed their acquisition of Oladipo before Kevin Durant finalized his decision to leave Oklahoma City for Golden State, and the team had viewed the former Magic guard as a nice fit alongside Durant. However, the club remains optimistic about its backcourt duo of Oladipo and Russell Westbrook, who each provide plenty of tenacity and energy on both sides of the ball. Westbook received an extension from the Thunder this offseason as well, so the two standout guards will be given every opportunity to thrive together for the next couple years.

With Oladipo secured, the Thunder can shift their focus today to Steven Adams and Andre Roberson, who are also eligible to sign rookie-scale extension before the deadline of midnight eastern time. As we learned earlier today, OKC is in talks with Adams on a potential four-year, $100MM extension, and there’s growing optimism that the two sides can hammer out a deal. The team is also engaged in negotiations with Roberson, per Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical.

Teams can be reluctant to lock up their potential restricted free agents to big-money extensions ahead of free agency, since keeping a modestly-priced cap hold on their books for a week or two the following July can give them additional flexibility to use cap room in free agency. However, as a former No. 2 overall pick, Oladipo would have had a large cap hold next summer as a restricted free agent, so his deal shouldn’t hinder OKC’s flexibility significantly.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Hornets, Cody Zeller Agree To Extension

NBA: Charlotte Hornets-Media Day10:54pm: The signing is official, the team announced. “Maintaining and building our young core of players has been a key goal for us the last few years,” GM Rich Cho said.  “We’re excited that Cody will be part of the Hornets organization for years to come. Cody is a hard worker, a team-first player and a versatile talent that was a large part of our success last year. He has improved in each of his three seasons in the NBA. We look forward to a bright future with Cody as a part of the roster that we are continuing to build.”

9:30pm: The Hornets have agreed to a contract extension with Cody Zeller, Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical reports (on Twitter). It will be a four-year, $56MM arrangement per the scribe. The pact doesn’t include any options, according to Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

The extension is a solid value for Charlotte, according to Bobby Marks of The Vertical (via Twitter), who notes that the first year salary on the deal is below his free agent cap hold and it won’t push the Hornets over the luxury tax line in 2017/18. Zeller is earning $5,318,313 this season.

The 24-year-old was the No. 4 overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft out of Indiana. His career numbers through 220 regular season contests are 7.4 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.2 assists to accompany a shooting line of .476/.167/.750.

Zeller becomes the eighth player from the 2013 NBA Draft to agree to an extension, joining C.J. McCollum, Giannis AntetokounmpoGorgui Dieng, Dennis Schroder, Steven Adams, Victor Oladipo and Rudy Gobert.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NBA D-League Assignments/Recalls: 10/31/16

Here are the D-League assignments and recalls for the day:

  • The Rockets are the first team to send a player to their D-League affiliate this season, with the team announcing (via Twitter) that Chinanu Onuaku will be joining the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. The power forward has yet to see the court during the regular season for Houston.

Pacific Notes: Cousins, Clippers, Joerger

With the solid depth the Clippers possess this season, coach/executive Doc Rivers will have his hands full trying to balance his rotations and keep the bulk of his players happy, Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times writes. “Yeah, it’s called coaching,” Rivers said. “No, literally, it’s called coaching. You coach them. You try to get them to buy in. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they say they do and don’t. It’s a process and you just go through it. There’re a lot of teams that can play a lot of different groups, but there’s very few teams that all the players can handle those different rotations when they’re not in on a given night. So, I think that’s the type of team we have and if it does it’ll serve us well.

Here’s more from out of the Pacific Division:

  • The NBA fined Kings center DeMarcus Cousins $25,000 for throwing his mouthpiece and entering the spectator area during Saturday night’s game against the Wolves, the league announced via press release. Cousins was also assessed a technical foul for his actions.
  • Lakers coach Luke Walton believes in going deep into his bench in order to keep his roster engaged, Mark Medina of The Orange County Register writes. Discussing his rotation plans, Walton told the scribe, “I know how much more a part of the team you feel even if it’s just only four or five minutes on a certain night. With the environment we’re trying to build and foundation we’re trying to set, we want everyone believing in the idea that it is our team, and different nights it’s going to be different people.
  • Dave Joerger is still settling in as head coach of the Kings and believes that he has found a long-term home in Sacramento, Jerry Zgoda of The Star Tribune writes. “I’m very fortunate because Sacramento is a really cool community,” Joerger said. “It is as Midwestern a city as far as the people as you’ll find in California. The people are pretty genuine, pretty sincere and they’re very passionate about the Kings, so that part is all really, really cool.

Eastern Notes: Tavares, Carter-Williams, Lamb

Edy Tavares, who was waived earlier today by the Hawks, may not be out of work for long. The Spanish club FC Barcelona is interested in the center, according to Marca.com (h/t Jorge Sierra of HoopsHype). The team has already reached out to the big man’s representatives, according to the report. The 43rd overall pick in the 2014 draft, Tavares joined the Hawks last season, appearing in just 11 games and averaging 6.6 minutes per contest. The 24-year-old also made 29 D-League appearances, averaging 9.2 PPG, 8.4 RPG, and 3.3 BPG in 21.6 minutes per game.

Here’s more from the East:

  • It is highly unlikely that the Bulls and Michael Carter-Williams agree to an extension prior to tonight’s deadline, Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com relays (Twitter link). There are no talks currently ongoing between the point guard and the team, the scribe adds.
  • Hornets guard Jeremy Lamb suffered a strained left hamstring during Saturday’s game against the Celtics, the team announced. Lamb is expected to be out of action for one to two weeks, per the team. The player is averaging 7.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.0 assist per game in three appearances this season.
  • The Sixers still need to address their lack of outside scoring as well as to increase the frequency and effectiveness of their fastbreak offense, Bob Cooney of The Philadelphia Inquirer writes. “We’re not forcing a lot of turnovers so we’re not able to get out and get easy buckets,” point guard T.J. McConnell said of Philly’s offense. “We have to get ready on the defensive end and get some stops. When we’re in the halfcourt and stand and watch Joel Embiid, we’re just so easy to guard. We have to get better pace and better movement when we’re in the halfcourt. You can feel it, you can see it. When we get the ball to him and they double him, we just stand and don’t help him. We’ve got to do a better job as a team to move, move without the ball and screen.”

Wolves Agree To Extension With Gorgui Dieng

NBA: Preseason-Charlotte Hornets at Minnesota TimberwolvesThe Timberwolves and Gorgui Dieng are in the process of finalizing a contract extension, Shams Charania of The Vertical reports (via Twitter). The deal will be for four years and is valued at $64MM, per the scribe. No word yet on whether or not the arrangement includes any options, player or team. His new deal with an average annual value of $16MM is certainly a hefty bump from the $2,348,783 he is earning this season.

The 26-year-old is off to a solid start to the 2016/17 campaign under new head coach Tom Thibodeau. Dieng is averaging 13.0 points, 13.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.5 blocks in 34.5 minutes through the team’s first two games.

Originally selected with the No. 21 overall pick in 2013, Dieng’s career numbers are 8.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.3 blocks to accompany a shooting line of .516/.276/.780.

Dieng becomes the seventh player from the 2013 NBA Draft to agree to an extension, joining C.J. McCollum, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Dennis Schroder, Steven Adams, Victor Oladipo and Rudy Gobert.

The Wolves have another extension candidate on their roster in Shabazz Muhammad, but the latest report on the fourth-year guard suggests that he and the team are “far apart” in negotiations.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jazz, Rudy Gobert Nearing Extension

With the deadline to reach an agreement on a rookie-scale contract extension nearing, the Jazz and Rudy Gobert continue to engage in talks and the two sides are working on a potential deal, Marc Stein of ESPN.com relays (via Twitter). The two sides are closing in on a four-year, $100MM+ arrangement, Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical reports (via Twitter).

While Gobert would almost assuredly prefer to reach an agreement on an extension, he would willing to test the waters as a restricted free agent next offseason if no deal is struck, Stein tweets. The center is on the books for a fully guaranteed salary of  $2,121,287 for 2016/17 and would require a qualifying offer of $3,145,869 from Utah if no new deal was finalized by tonight’s deadline for the team to have the right o match any offer he were to receive on the open market.

The 24-year-old appeared in 61 games a season ago for the Jazz, averaging 9.1 points, 11.0 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 2.5 blocks in 31.7 minutes per outing. His slash line was .559/.000/.569. In three contests this season, Gobert has notched 11.0 PPG, 12.0 RPG and 2.7 BPG.

Celtics To Decline James Young’s 2017/18 Option

After exercising their 2017/18 team options on Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier, the Celtics won’t pick up their option on James Young, reports Bobby Marks of The Vertical (via Twitter). The move will put Young on track to become an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2017.

[RELATED: Decisions On 2017/18 Rookie-Scale Team Options]

Young, 21, has played sparingly for the Celtics since being selected with the No. 17 pick in the 2014 draft. The Kentucky product has averaged just 8.9 minutes per game in 60 total regular-season appearances, putting up 2.2 PPG and 1.1 RPG in those games. Still, Boston saw enough promise to keep him on its 15-man roster heading into this season, parting ways with 2015 first-rounder R.J. Hunter in order to make room for Young.

By turning down Young’s 2017/18 option, the Celtics will no longer be on the hook for a $2.804MM salary for him next year.

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