Month: March 2017

Clippers Rumors: Griffin, CP3, Rivers

The Clippers have been one of the NBA’s most successful regular season teams over the past several years, but that regular season success hasn’t translated into a deep playoff run — the team has been eliminated in either the first or second round of the postseason in each of the last five years.

With Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and J.J. Redick all on track to become unrestricted free agents this summer, the Clippers could find themselves at a crossroads, writes Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report. Although there’s still optimism within the organization about Paul and Griffin re-signing, things could change quickly if the Clippers suffer another first-round defeat this spring.

Ding provides a handful of interesting Clippers-related tidbits in his piece, so let’s round up some of the highlights…

  • “More and more people” around the NBA believe that Griffin isn’t necessarily a lock to remain with the Clippers in free agency, according to Ding. Griffin’s interests in the entertainment industry make him likely to stick in Los Angeles, but Ding suggests that the star forward may be open to considering the Celtics or even the Lakers.
  • For his part, Griffin weighed in on the Clippers, who have been up and down this season and have played sub-.500 ball since the All-Star break: “One thing you can control always is effort. Our effort hasn’t been there at times as a team. Haven’t had trust. I think that’s something we talked about a lot early in the season: the trust. Knowing the next man’s going to be there for you, knowing you’ve got to be there for whoever goes next. I think we miss that.”
  • One team source indicated to Ding that Paul’s “hard-driving nature and politician’s polish” make it hard for teammates to get close to him. According to that source, “nobody’s really friends with Chris.” Another source tells Ding that CP3 is closer to Doc Rivers than he is to any of his teammates.
  • There’s still some “in-house resentment” toward coach’s son Austin Rivers, but it “isn’t out of control,” Ding writes.

Joel Embiid Undergoes Surgery On Left Knee

MARCH 24, 7:22pm: Embiid underwent successful arthroscopic surgery today on his left knee, the Sixers announced in a press release.

The young center will be able to transition back to full weight-bearing activites on the leg in about two weeks, at which point he’ll begin a conservative rehab process, per Dr. Neal S. ElAttrache, who performed the procedure.

GM Bryan Colangelo added in a statement that the team is forecasting a “healthy return to basketball activity” for Embiid.

MARCH 22, 6:20pm: Embiid will have surgery on his left knee at some point over the next few days, the Sixers announced via its Twitter feed.

4:10pm: After having been shut down for the season as a result of a knee injury, Joel Embiid is considered “very likely” to undergo surgery on that troublesome left knee, reports ESPN’s Marc Stein. The Sixers have yet to make an official announcement regarding Embiid.

Sources tell Stein that the Sixers have been “extensively exploring” treatment options for Embiid, who suffered a partially torn meniscus and a bone bruise in his left knee earlier this year. When Philadelphia announced three weeks ago that Embiid would miss the rest of the season the team indicated that it was working with “leading specialists” to determine the best course of action for the young center.

Assuming Embiid does go under the knife, a recovery timetable won’t be established until after the procedure, Stein notes. Presumably, the 23-year-old’s rehab timeline would put him on track to be ready for the 2017/18 regular season, but this offseason will be an interesting one for Embiid and the Sixers.

As I noted earlier this month, Embiid is one of several third-year players whose injury issues will complicate contract talks this offseason. The former No. 3 overall pick looked like a potential franchise cornerstone when he was healthy earlier this season, but he has appeared in just 31 games over the course of three NBA seasons. He’ll be extension-eligible for the first time as of July 1, and it will be interesting to see what sort of deal the 76ers are willing to put on the table. If Embiid isn’t extended this year, he’ll be eligible for restricted free agency in 2018.

Send Us Your Mailbag Questions, Hoops Links Submissions

Every Sunday at Hoops Rumors, we publish a pair of features that rely on input and submissions from our readers. One is our Weekly Mailbag, in which Arthur Hill answers a few questions related to the latest news and rumors from around the NBA. The second is our Hoops Links feature, which showcases a selection of notable NBA blog entries from all over the internet. In each instance, the content for those features comes from you.

Have a question regarding player movement, free agent rumors, the salary cap, the NBA draft, or the top storylines of the week? You can e-mail them here for consideration for our Weekly Mailbag: [email protected]. If your question doesn’t get selected for our mailbag, be sure to join us on Monday afternoons for our weekly live chat.

Got a new NBA blog post that you’d like to see featured on Hoops Rumors? You can send the URL and a brief description of the piece to [email protected] for consideration.

Be sure to send us your new mailbag questions and NBA blog posts each week, and check back every Sunday to see if you’ve been featured in that week’s installment!

Glenn Robinson III Out At Least Two Weeks

The Pacers will be without a rotation player for most of the rest of the season as they push for a playoff spot. According to Nate Taylor of The Indianapolis Star (via Twitter), head coach Nate McMillan announced today that Glenn Robinson III will be out at least two weeks with a left calf injury. Robinson will be re-evaluated after those two weeks.

A third year wing out of Michigan, Robinson has enjoyed his best NBA season to date in 2016/17. Appearing in 69 games (27 starts), Robinson has established new career highs across the board, with 6.1 PPG, 3.6 RPG, and a shooting line of .466/.392/.711 in 20.7 minutes per contest.

If Robinson is able to return in two weeks, it would put him in line to play in the Pacers’ final three regular season games. However, if he’s sidelined for longer than those two weeks, it’s possible he may not play again this season. A playoff return could be in the cards, but Indiana will have to earn a postseason berth first — the Bucks have pulled even with the Pacers for the No. 6 seed at 36-35, and the Heat (35-37), Bulls (34-38), and Pistons (34-38) are all within striking distance too.

With Robinson out of the mix, players like C.J. Miles and Thaddeus Young, among others, could get a few extra minutes.

Asik, Pondexter Unlikely To Return This Season

Two players on the Pelicans’ roster, center Omer Asik and shooting guard Quincy Pondexter, are not expected to return for the rest of this season, head coach Alvin Gentry confirmed today, per Justin Verrier of ESPN.com.

“Both of those guys will be gearing toward the summer and next year, really,” Gentry said.

Asik, who started 19 of the 31 games he played for the Pelicans earlier this season, hasn’t been a real part of the club’s rotation since mid-December. The veteran center has appeared in just three games for New Orleans since December 21, and hasn’t seen the court at all since February 10. As Verrier notes, Asik contracted a bacterial infection that caused him to lose a significant amount of weight.

As for Pondexter, it has been a long road back for the 29-year-old, who has been sidelined by knee injuries for each of the last two seasons. Pondexter hasn’t appeared in an NBA game since April 2015, when he was a starter for the Pelicans in their first-round loss to the Warriors.

While it’s not particularly surprising that Asik and Pondexter won’t return for the Pelicans this season, it will be interesting to see how they fit into the team’s plans going forward. Asik’s contract continues to be an albatross for New Orleans — it will exceed $10.5MM next season and increase to $11.2MM+ in 2018/19. Pondexter, meanwhile, has one more year left on his deal at just under $4MM next season. Both players could be on the trade block this summer, though they’ll probably have very limited value.

Bulls Could Pick Up Rajon Rondo’s Option

Bulls.com beat writer Sam Smith addressed several topics in his most recent mailbag, including the status of veteran point guard Rajon Rondo (article link). Interestingly, despite Rondo’s tumultuous season in Chicago, it is “no longer ridiculous” to envision the Bulls picking up Rondo’s $13.397MM option for 2017/18. Rondo has “remained and emerged as the one true point guard on the roster,” Smith notes, while serving as a great mentor for younger players.

Rondo’s contract is partially guaranteed for next season, meaning Chicago could create an additional $10MM+ in cap room by cutting him. If the Bulls decide to part ways with Rondo, they’ll want to make that decision by June 30, as they’ll only be on the hook for $3MM of his contract. Smith points out that Rondo could serve as a useful stopgap before the team receives a big payroll for free agency in 2018.

The Bulls are still very much in the playoff picture- just one game behind Miami for the eighth seed- thanks in part to Rondo’s quality play of late. The 31-year-old has posted 12.8 points on 49.2% shooting with 7.7 assists over his last six games, a sharp improvement from his rocky start to the season.

Along with Rondo’s production comes his baggage, of course. This season Rondo has publicly aired out teammates Dwyane Wade and Jimmy Butler, saying “my vets [on the Celtics] didn’t pick and choose when they wanted to bring it” (link). Additionally, Ken Berger of Bleacher Report asserted that Rondo “just flat-out blows off” coach Fred Hoiberg‘s play calls.

Rondo spoke with K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune in mid-March, refusing to focus on his contract during the team’s playoff chase.

“I’ll visit that in the offseason. I’m just focused on trying to make the playoffs and do what I can for this team to help us win each game,” Rondo said. “I tried to stay positive throughout the entire thing. I’m not going to point fingers or say anything toward the organization. They gave me the opportunity to play for the Chicago Bulls and that was the goal from the jump.”

Nets Will Sign Archie Goodwin To Second 10-Day Contract

The Nets will extend a second 10-day contract to Archie Goodwin, Chris Haynes of ESPN reports (Twitter link). Goodwin made three appearances in his first go-around with Brooklyn, scoring 26 points on 58.8% shooting in that span.

Goodwin’s signing confirms an earlier report from Fred Kerber of the New York Post, who said there was a good chance Archie would be retained after his first deal expired. Still just 22 years old, Goodwin is in his fourth NBA season, having played for the Suns, Pelicans, and Nets. A former No. 29 overall pick, Goodwin showed potential in his sole season with the Kentucky Wildcats.

Goodwin spoke to Anthony Puccio and Bryan Fonseca of Nets Daily before Tuesday’s game, voicing a desire to stick with Brooklyn (article link).

“When I first got here I told Sean Marks ‘You know from the beginning of the season I’ve watched your team play.’ To be truthful, I watched 90 percent of their games,” Goodwin said. “The games I watched I said, ‘Man this team plays hard and they really play for each other.’ It’s one of those situations where the pieces aren’t there just yet. They’re – I mean we’re – definitely headed in the right direction and I want to be a part of this.”

Jonathan Isaac To Enter NBA Draft

Florida State freshman Jonathan Isaac is declaring for the NBA draft, according to Evan Daniels of Scout.com (Twitter link). Isaac, who is expected to sign with an agent, thanked Seminoles fans in a video on his Instagram page (link). Isaac was regarded as the draft’s No. 5 prospect in CBS Sports’ rankings.

Isaac’s announcement comes six days after Florida State’s tournament elimination against Xavier. The 19-year-old Isaac was a collegiate standout in his freshman season, averaging 12 PPG with 7.8 rebounds and 1.5 blocks over 32 games. Isaac has long been on draft radars, working out for NBA scouts before the start of his Seminoles career.

As Wayne E. McGahee III of the Tallahassee Democrat points out, Isaac is the third Seminole to declare for the draft in the last three days, as Dwayne Bacon and Xavier Rathan-Mayes also announced their intent to enter the draft. Current Seminoles in the NBA include Malik Beasley, Okaro White, and Toney Douglas.

“I’m here with my mom to officially announce I’ve decided to enter the 2017 NBA draft,” Isaac stated in his video post. “I’d like to thank all of Florida State for making my time here worthwhile, and a special thanks to all you fans and FSU’s amazing staff. I truly enjoyed my time here, and it’s all because of you guys. I know the season didn’t end as well as everyone expected, but I’m proud of what my team accomplished, and I’m honored to be a part of the Seminoles’ basketball family.”

Becky Hammon Considering University Of Florida Offer

Spurs assistant coach and WNBA legend Becky Hammon is considering a lucrative offer to coach women’s basketball at the University of Florida, according to a report from Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. Per Wojnarowski, Hammon’s offer would be a considerable raise from her current salary with the Spurs.

Currently in her third year as an assistant coach, Hammon aspires to be the NBA’s first female head coach; a factor which makes the Gators’ offer a dilemma.

Hammon’s 16-year WNBA career reached a conclusion after the 2014 season. David Lee, a member of the Spurs who attended University of Florida, vouched for Hammon as a potential boon for the program.

“If anybody’s going to do it, it would be her,” Lee told ESPN“Knowing the makeup of the campus and how the women’s basketball is there, she’d be a great fit.”

Likely further complicating Hammon’s decision is her close relationship with Gregg Popovich. Hammon has spoken highly of the three-time Coach of the Year, crediting him with her opportunity to coach in the NBA.

“I’m not here unless Coach Pop kind of sees me genderless — he sees me as a person that knows basketball,” Hammon said on the NBA’s YouTube channel. “He didn’t care that I was a woman. What he cared about was, can I help the team and will I do a good job. Pop leaned in for me, big time. You know, I might have been the tool, but Pop, he thrust me through that ceiling. The fact that he invited me into their inner-circle was a huge vote of confidence, and I do believe leadership knows no gender.”

NBA D-League Assignments/Recalls: 3/24/17

Here are Friday’s D-League transactions:

  • The Bulls recalled Cameron Payne from Windy City, the team announced via press release. Payne has made nine NBA appearances since being acquired from OKC, scoring 54 points on 33.9% shooting in that span. In his most recent D-League stop, Payne scored 14 points with eight assists and seven rebounds in a win over the Iowa Energy.
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