Pacific Notes: Lue, George, Leonard, Podziemski, Kerr, Ellis

Clippers coach Tyronn Lue had multiple conversations with Paul George with the hope that the nine-time All-Star would stay in Los Angeles. Lue, an assistant coach for Team USA, expressed frustration that George chose to leave for Philadelphia as a free agent, Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN writes.

“You lose an important piece to the team like PG, it’s hard to replace,” Lue said. “I’m disappointed that we weren’t able to get the deal done, disappointed he didn’t come back. It’s tough for the organization. We got to see how we move forward from here. I talked to him many times, trying to see what his mindset was, what we need to do different, how we can help his process along. It’s unfortunate that he left.”

Kawhi Leonard was well aware of how the extension talks between George and the front office broke down, so he wasn’t caught off guard by his star teammate’s exit.

“We knew what it was before the season,” Leonard said. “We knew what it was going to come down to. So, we talked the whole way through. It’s no surprise.”

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Heading into his second season with the Warriors, Brandin Podziemski told Mark Medina of Sportskeeda that he has lofty goals. “Individually, I want to be able to be in the conversation and win Most Improved Player of the Year,”  he said. “I want to partake in the Rising Stars game again because it’s in San Francisco next season. I want to participate in the Skills Challenge. That would be fun. Then I want to put my name up there as an up-and-coming star of the league. I’m ready to make the year two jump. As far as team goals, obviously you want to win a title.”
  • Coach Steve Kerr is impressed with how Warriors general manager Mike Dunleavy Jr. recovered from the loss of Klay Thompson by acquiring the services of free agents Buddy Hield, Kyle Anderson and De’Anthony Melton, Dalton Johnson of NBC Sports Bay Area relays. “To rebound from losing Chris (Paul) and then Klay, and then using the cap to his advantage – he and his group have done a great job,” Kerr said. “We’ve signed three really good players, managed our finances really well and Mike is wonderful at his job in every regard. He’s a great partner, too, through these difficult times. Great guy to be able to lean on.”
  • Boogie Ellis is playing for the Kings’ Summer League team after going undrafted out of USC. Ellis led the Trojans in scoring and is trying to earn an NBA contract. Meanwhile, Bronny James got drafted by the Lakers despite posting modest stats at USC. However, Ellis has no hard feelings for his former college teammate, he told Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee. “I’m happy for him,” Ellis said. “That’s one of my brothers, so I’m glad he got the opportunity, but at the end of the day this is business. Everybody’s trying to feed their family, so I definitely have a chip on my shoulder. I believe I’m a great basketball player and I’m better than a lot the guys who were picked, but at the end of the day I’ve got to go show my hard work, show what I do. So just continue to work, keep my head down and keep working, and it’s going to pay off.”
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