Austin Rivers

Pacific Notes: Iguodala, Gay, Bell, Rivers, Pre-Draft Workouts

While Andre Iguodala is no longer the All-Star caliber athlete capable of memorable dunks, he is a vital cog on both sides of the ball for the championship winning Warriors, Connor Letourneau of the San Francisco Chronicle writes.

Iguodala, 33, has not averaged double-digits in points since joining Golden State in 2013 but his play in the 2015 NBA Finals, the first five games of last year’s series, and the first game of this year’s showdown displayed his value. As Letourneau mentions, had the Cavaliers not completed an improbable comeback last year, Iguodala may have been the NBA Finals Most Valuable Award recipient.

After knee and back troubles in recent years, Iguodala is now a key part of the Golden State bench. Following his seven points, three rebounds and two steals in 24 minutes on Thursday, the Warriors will look for similar contributions the rest of the series.“It’s only going to get harder from here,” Iguodala said. “We just have to stay locked in.”

Here are additional notes from the Pacific division:

  • The Lakers are set to hold a pre-draft workout for several collegiate players this Monday, according to the team. The list of players scheduled for the workout includes Richmond forward T.J. Cline, Oklahoma State point guard Jawun Evans, Villanova guard Josh Hart, California’s Roger Moute a Bidias, Iowa State point guard Monte Morris, and Syracuse forward Tyler Roberson.
  • Former Clippers teammates Glen Davis and Austin Rivers engaged in a mini-feud this week, starting with Rivers’ comments on FS1’s Undisputed that Davis was out of shape, constantly late, and struggled to remember players during his brief L.A. tenure (via NBC Sports). Davis subsequently shot back with an expletive-laden Instagram post, claiming that Rivers walked around with a cocky disposition and that he owes his career to his father.
  • Coming off Achilles surgery, forward Rudy Gay was seen at Roc Nation Pro Day earlier this week and reportedly looked in good shape, per Jonathan Givony of Draft Express (via Twitter). Gay, 30, played in 30 regular season games with the Kings before suffering the injury and is expected to exercise his opt-out and hit free agency this offseason.
  • Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee writes that Oregon’s Jordan Bell is an intruiging target for the Kings in the NBA Draft. Known for his toughness and defensive prowess, Bell could add a strong dimension to a Kings team in transition following the trade deadline trade sending DeMarcus Cousins to the Pelicans.
  • Doug Haller of The Arizona Republic writes that SMU forward Semi Ojeleye is a good target for the Suns in the second round draft. A built body and athleticism give Ojelye a good shot to mold into a productive NBA player despite limited college experience.

Knicks Notes: Carmelo, Trade Scenarios, Ntilikina

The Clippers have been frequently cited as a potential destination for Carmelo Anthony, assuming the Knicks forward is willing to waive his no-trade clause. But after another early playoff exit, Doc Rivers‘ club will have some major decisions to face even before determining whether an Anthony trade is possible.

As Marc Berman of The New York Post writes, the belief around the NBA right now is that the Clippers will make every effort to lock up Chris Paul and Blake Griffin to new deals, but may not push quite as hard to retain veteran sharpshooter J.J. Redick. If that’s the case, Berman writes, then several NBA executives believe there’s only one trade scenario involving Carmelo and the Clippers that would make sense — signing-and-trading Redick along with Austin Rivers and perhaps Wesley Johnson in exchange for Anthony and maybe one of the Knicks’ two second-round picks.

The math for that hypothetical swap would work, depending on Redick’s new contract, and one NBA executive suggests to Berman that “it’s really the only thing that makes sense.” Another exec believes it would be a good trade for the Knicks, who would get a reliable shooter in Redick and a good sixth man in Rivers. Whether the Clippers, Knicks, and Carmelo could all get on the same page on such a deal remains to be seen, however.

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • In a piece for Basketball Insiders, Tommy Beer runs through a number of possible trade scenarios involving Anthony, including theoretical proposals for long-shot suitors like the Trail Blazers, Bucks, and Pistons.
  • We heard earlier this week that GM Steve Mills was overseas scouting French point guard Frank Ntilikina, and international basketball reporter David Pick reiterates (via Twitter) that the Knicks are fond of the 18-year-old prospect. Knicks scout Makhtar N’Diaye, in particular, likes Ntilikina, according to Pick.
  • While Ntilikina should still be on the board if New York picks seventh overall, the Knicks would likely be eyeing different prospects if they get some lottery luck and move into the top three. MSG Network analyst and former NBA forward Wally Szczerbiak spoke to Berman (link via New York Post) about some of the top players on draft boards who have a chance to land with the Knicks.

Knicks, Clippers Expected To Re-Open Trade Talks

Another early playoff exit for the Clippers may reignite trade talks with the Knicks involving Carmelo Anthony, writes Marc Berman of the New York Post.

The teams had extensive discussions before the February deadline, but New York’s front office turned down several L.A. proposals. The difference this time might be shooting guard J.J. Redick, whom the Clippers were not willing to include before, but may be available now in a sign-and-trade.

Like many observers, Berman expects a shakeup in Los Angeles this summer. Chris Paul is almost certain to opt out and re-sign, and he would love to see the team acquire Anthony, a long-time friend. An offer centered around Redick and Austin Rivers might be enough to make it happen.

The 32-year-old Redick would replace Jamal Crawford in the package that the Clippers were offering in February. An 11-year veteran, he averaged 15.0 points per game this season and shot .429 from 3-point range. One of the top long-distance shooters in the league throughout his career, Redick would fill an obvious need in New York.

Rivers, 25, would fill another need with his defensive prowess and his flexibility to play three positions. He re-signed with the Clippers last summer and is under contract through next season, with a $12.65MM player option for 2018/19.

Berman estimates a new deal for Redick starting at $11MM, which would combine with Rivers’ $11.8MM salary to get the Clippers close to Anthony’s $28MM price (including a 15% trade kicker). Another Knick who might be included in the deal is Courtney Lee (more than $11.7MM next year), whom the Clippers asked about in February, so the trade could become much larger. L.A. doesn’t have a first-round pick to offer until 2021.

With a no-trade clause in hand, Anthony will have final approval on any deal. While the thought of joining Paul, DeAndre Jordan and possibly Blake Griffin on a contending team might appeal to him, Berman notes that personal matters could affect his decision. Anthony recently separated from his wife, LaLa, and may not want to move far away from his son.

While that will play out over the summer, it’s clear that the playoffs have changed the dynamics of the deal, just as Knicks president Phil Jackson predicted at his press conference last month.

“You lose in the first round, it didn’t work out, we gotta change some people on our team,’’ Jackson said. “So there may be some quick outs may change some people’s minds as to what they’re going to do.”

Clippers Expect Austin Rivers To Return For Game 5

4:18 pm: Rivers said his son will play in Tuesday’s contest, but he’ll be on a minutes restriction, as Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times relays (Twitter link).

12:44 pm: Health issues have wreaked havoc on the Western Conference Quarterfinals between the Jazz and Clippers, with standout big men Rudy Gobert and Blake Griffin both sustaining injuries of varying severity during the first four games. One player who has yet to make his 2017 postseason debut in the series appears to be ready to return though.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical, the Clippers expect Austin Rivers to play in Game 5 on Tuesday. Rivers will be on a minutes restriction for the game, league sources tell Wojnarowski.

Rivers was initially sidelined with a left hamstring back in March, with head coach Doc Rivers suggesting earlier this month that the injury was “a little more serious” than initially believed. Shortly after he first went down, the younger Rivers said that he expected to get back on the court in time for the start of the playoffs, but his return was delayed by another week and a half.

Assuming Rivers is able to play on Tuesday, his return will give the Clippers some flexibility to use smaller lineups, particularly with Griffin sidelined for the postseason. In addition to providing solid perimeter defense, Rivers will give Los Angeles another outside shooting option — he made a career-high 37.1% of his three-point attempts during the regular season.

The Clippers and Jazz are tied at 2-2 heading into Game 5.

Pacific Notes: McGee, Kings, Redick, Rivers

Draymond Green played a crucial role in the Warriors’ decision to sign journeyman center JaVale McGee last summer, as Sam Amick of USA Today explains. They share the same agent, B.J. Armstrong of Wasserman, and Green lobbied GM Bob Myers to give McGee a chance. McGee, who appeared in just 62 games over the previous four seasons, signed a contract for less then $1MM and has emerged as a valuable role player. “I didn’t know him that well at all, but you [could] see some of the skills that a guy has and see that, alright that could possibly fit in,” Green told Amick. “Being that he’s super athletic, he offered something that we didn’t have.” McGee will re-enter the free agent market this summer and should be in greater demand.

In other news around the Pacific Division:

  • The Kings have hired Luke Bornn as their VP of Analytics and Strategy, James Ham of NBC Sports California reports. Bornn, 31, was working for soccer’s A.S. Roma. “We’ll be looking at more advanced modeling tools often with the player tracking data to try and get a deeper understanding of player performance,” Bornn told Ham. Roland Beech, the team’s previous analytics guru, left the organization earlier this week.
  • Clippers shooting guard J.J. Redick has gotten off just 13 shots in the first two games of the playoffs, but coach Doc Rivers appreciates his unselfish approach, according to Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times. Redick has scored 11 points in the series under heavy defensive pressure but the team hopes to get him more involved in Game 3 on Friday, Turner adds. “Sometimes in certain games and series, you have to give yourself up to get the team stuff,” Rivers told the assembled media on Thursday. “J.J. has been terrific with that. He’s going to get his shot eventually.”
  • Clippers guard Austin Rivers will miss Game 3 with a strained left hamstring but remains hopeful of returning for Game 4, Turner reports in a separate story. Rivers has not played the last eight games, including the final six of the regular season.

Clippers Notes: Austin Rivers, D-League, Ingles

Austin Rivers will miss at least one more game of the playoff series with the Jazz because of a left hamstring strain that he suffered late in the season, tweets Brad Turner of The Los Angeles Times. His father and coach, Doc Rivers, said Austin went through a shooting session Saturday for the first time since the injury. He also did some light sprints and dribbling drills as the workout went better than a previous attempt. “I was on the court three or four days ago,” Austin Rivers told Bill Oram of The Orange County Register, “and it didn’t really go as I planned. Didn’t feel good and they took me off and waited a couple more days, with a little treatment and stuff like that. Today we tried it again and it worked.” He is aiming to be ready for Game 3 Friday night in Utah.

There’s more today out of Los Angeles:

  • The Clippers are hoping to add a D-League franchise next season, reports Adam Johnson of D-League Digest. The original plan was to have a team in place for 2018/19, but the organization decided it doesn’t want to wait that long. Ontario, California, is the preferred location, and the Clippers are awaiting league approval for that site. If that doesn’t work out, Johnson suggests Bakersfield as an alternative. The city hosted the Bakersfield Jam before that franchise was purchased by the Suns and moved to Northern Arizona. The new team would be the 26th in the D-League and the fourth to join next season.
  • The Clippers are facing Utah’s Joe Ingles in the playoffs three years after waiving him. Doc Rivers says the move was necessary because of another contract that the Clippers were obligated to keep, tweets Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune. That contract belonged to Jared Cunningham, who only spent 19 games in L.A., according to Dan Woike of DanWoikeSports (Twitter link). Ingles was waived by the Clippers on October 25th, 2014, and claimed by the Jazz two days later.
  • The Clippers should have been more inspired in Game 1 considering that their long-term future is at stake, writes Bill Plaschke of The Los Angeles Times. Chris Paul and Blake Griffin can both opt out this summer, and the core of the team could be broken up with another early playoff exit.

Clippers Notes: Austin Rivers, Griffin, Doc Rivers

Austin Rivers is targeting the middle of a first-round playoff series as a realistic return date, relays Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times. Rivers is sidelined by a left hamstring strain that he suffered Wednesday against Washington. There’s no timetable for him to play again, but the general feeling is that he will be ready sometime in late April. “The goal was game one of the playoffs,” Rivers said, “but it’s looking like hopefully mid first round, early second round. We’ll see. You never know, I might heal faster than I think so. In my mind, my goal is to be back by the first round, for game one or game two, which is ideal. So, we’ll see.” The playoffs will start two weeks from today.

There’s more news out of Los Angeles:

  • After becoming the first player to reach 10,000 points in a Clippers uniform, Blake Griffin wanted to focus more on the postseason than his future in L.A., writes Bill Oram of The Orange County Register. Griffin scored 36 today in a win over the Lakers, then brushed aside questions about free agency. “I’ve loved my time here, absolutely,” he said. “But my main focus right now is the season. I said this before the season, I’m not doing the whole free agency talk. I’m not talking about any decision I can’t make right now. Like I said, my main focus is getting this team right and moving forward and being right heading into the playoffs.”
  • Also reaching a milestone today was coach Doc Rivers, who posted his 800th career victory, Oram notes in the same story. Those wins have come over 18 seasons with the Magic, Celtics and Clippers. “I’ve learned everything is a big deal,” Rivers said, “but you don’t have to sweat it all.”
  • The Clippers are just 33-29 after a 14-2 start and there is concern that the core could be broken up this summer, writes Bill Plaschke of The Los Angeles Times. With Griffin, Chris Paul and J.J. Redick all headed toward free agency, Plaschke thinks a significant playoff run will be needed to justify keeping the team together.

Austin Rivers Likely Sidelined For Regular Season

The Clippers anticipate losing Austin Rivers for the rest of the regular season due to a left hamstring strain, Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN reports.

“I think it’s a little more serious [than initially believed],” coach Doc Rivers told reporters before Saturday’s game. When asked of Austin’s prospects for the postseason, Doc replied “We don’t know. I would say it’s 50-50.”

Per Arnovitz, Rivers’ injury occurred during the second quarter of Wednesday’s game against the Wizards. Having already locked up a playoff spot, the decision to potentially shut down Rivers for the season appears to be a cautious one. Raymond Felton and Jamal Crawford will likely split minutes at point guard in Rivers’ absence.

Austin addressed his injury with Bill Oram of the O.C. Register yesterday, voicing frustration at the prospect of being sidelined until the playoffs.

“This is the time of year, if anytime, I want to be healthy. … At least it’s not during the playoffs,” Rivers said. “People are always looking for something wrong with our team instead of looking for what’s right. Why don’t you look at how many injuries we’ve had and still been able to hold down the ship in the West, and still be a top-five seed in the West without Blake and Chris for a big chunk of games?”

Injury Updates: Millsap, Rivers, Bender, Beasley

It has been a rough few weeks for the Hawks, who have struggled to keep their hold on the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference, having been caught by the Bucks in the standings. Still, Atlanta has won its lost two games and more good news is on the way. According to Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal Constitution, Paul Millsap has returned to practice and signs are pointing toward him returning to action soon.

Millsap underwent a non-surgical procedure recently to help address the swelling and fluid buildup in his knee, following his diagnosis of synovitis. The four-time All-Star has missed the Hawks’ last seven games and his return would be a boon for a team that has posted an 8-14 record since mid-February.

Here are a few more injury updates from around the NBA:

  • Clippers guard Austin Rivers is expected to miss the last five games of the regular season with a strained left hamstring, writes Bill Oram of The Orange County Register. Rivers called the injury a frustrating one, but suggested he anticipates being back for the start of the playoffs.
  • Suns head coach Earl Watson indicated on Thursday that rookie big man Dragan Bender is getting close to returning to the court, and could be back within the week, barring setbacks, per Gerald Bourguet of Fansided (Twitter link). Bender underwent ankle surgery in February, and it’s somewhat surprising that Phoenix wants to see him return with just a few games left, rather than having him focus on 2017/18.
  • After missing the Bucks‘ last 17 games due to a hyperextended left knee, Michael Beasley is set to make his return on Friday night, tweets Charles F. Gardner of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Acquired in a preseason trade, Beasley has become a reliable rotation piece this season in Milwaukee, averaging 9.7 PPG and 3.6 RPG in 50 games (17.1 MPG).

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.
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