Clippers coach Doc Rivers isn’t worried about his stars getting out of shape during the NBA’s hiatus, he told ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk and other reporters. “I know (Kawhi Leonard is) overworking. I can guarantee you that,” Rivers said. “And the difference is, during the summer, Kawhi couldn’t work, you know, so now he’s got this break and he’s able to train. The Kawhi we’ll see will be in phenomenal shape. PG (Paul George) is another guy that’s going to be in phenomenal shape.”
We have more from the Western Conference:
- Kings center Harry Giles is likely to be playing elsewhere next season, according to James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area. His original coaching and training staff are gone and the franchise didn’t pick up his contract option for next season, Ham notes. Giles, who will be an unrestricted free agent, did enough during his opportunities this season to intrigue plenty of teams, Ham adds.
- Big man James Johnson is a solid reserve but not the answer as a starter alongside Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic opines. Johnson gave the club a boost in 14 games after being acquired in a three-team deal, averaging 12.0 PPG, 4.7 RPG and 3.8 APG in 24.1 MPG. Johnson will surely exercise his $16MM player option for next season and the team hopes he can pick up where he left off.
- Zach Cooper, a video assistant for the Trail Blazers, has died unexpectedly due to undisclosed reasons, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets. “I am devastated by the news of Zach’s passing,” head coach Terry Stotts said in a statement. “He was a valued member of our staff, but more importantly, he was an outstanding young man who everyone loved and appreciated.”