After appearing in 51 of the Clippers‘ 64 games before the NBA went on hiatus in March, star forward Kawhi Leonard said this week that he feels good and is ready to go, as Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times writes.
Clippers head coach Doc Rivers suggested there would be “no limits” on the former Finals MVP, who hasn’t played in back-to-back sets over the last couple seasons due to leg issues. However, Rivers acknowledged that the Clips’ priority will be to keep Leonard in top shape, which may mean not pushing him too hard during the eight seeding games.
“Kawhi is healthy for the most part,” Rivers said. “That still doesn’t mean that we don’t want to maintain him and get him through the first eight games and get ready for the playoffs. We want to be smart about this. Not just for Kawhi, it’s with everybody.”
Here’s more on the Clippers and their L.A. rivals:
- The Clippers will have 15 players available in Orlando when the season resumes, according to Greif, who notes in a separate Times story that the club didn’t bring rookie forward Mfiondu Kabengele or two-way center Johnathan Motley. Teams were permitted to bring up to 17 players to the NBA’s campus, but the Clips elected to “load up on medical personnel” to fill out their traveling party, writes Greif.
- Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is the leading candidate to replace Avery Bradley in the Lakers‘ starting lineup, head coach Frank Vogel said on Monday, per Anthony Slater of The Athletic (Twitter link). Bradley, who opted out of the rest of the season, started 44 games this year, typically alongside Anthony Davis, LeBron James, Danny Green, and JaVale McGee.
- With Bradley not playing this summer and Rajon Rondo sidelined due to a broken thumb, Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register wonders if Dion Waiters could assume some ball-handling duties off the bench for the Lakers. “Losing Rondo put more of a need on Dion’s skillset, so I look forward to seeing what he can do more as we get into games,” Vogel said.