Clippers big man Serge Ibaka, whose 2020/21 season was sidetracked by a back injury, says he’s close to 100% heading into camp, Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN tweets. The next step for Ibaka will be to participate in contact practices. His season-ending surgery in June cleaned up a disc, Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times tweets. Ibaka, who regrets not getting the surgery sooner, still has no timetable for his return to action.
We have more on the Clippers:
- Ivica Zubac, who was slowed by a right knee MCL sprain during the Western Conference Finals, says he’s felt 100% for about six weeks heading into camp, Greif tweets. The team holds a $7.52MM option on his contract for next season.
- Kawhi Leonard could have signed a two-year, $80.6MM contract with a player option rather than the four-year, $176.3MM deal with a player option he accepted. Leonard said he chose the longer deal in part because he hopes to return from his knee injury before season’s end, according to Mirjam Swanson of the Orange County Register. “One thing, I wanted to secure some money,” he said. “And I wanted to be able to come back if I was able to this year. If I would have took the one-and-one, I probably would have not played just to be cautious and opted out and took a five-year.” Leonard added that he doesn’t expect to change teams unless “something drastic” happens, so he was comfortable locking in a long-term contract.
- With Leonard out of action, Paul George vows to be the team’s leader, Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times writes. “I’m looking forward to taking on all facets, whether it’s scoring, defending, playmaking. I’m looking forward to taking on the whole facet of the game,” George said. “I’m really going into this year as this being one of my most complete seasons as far as doing a little bit of everything. I think I proved it and showed i to myself during the playoffs in that run, that stretch against Phoenix, whether it was rebounding, pushing the tempo, playmaking, scoring the ball. That really just fed my appetite even more.”