Blake Griffin

Pacific Notes: Clippers, West, Reed

The Clippers were punished by injuries during preseason but regardless of the short-staffed lineups there were observations to be taken away, Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times writes. For one, star player Blake Griffin‘s toe appears to have held up despite his having undergone surgery for it in May.

I haven’t had any problems,” Griffin said. “I haven’t sat out any practices. I haven’t had any restrictions. I didn’t really anticipate that. At the beginning of the season, I met with probably four of the top foot surgeons in the United States and I never anticipated sitting out [Clippers] training camp.

Other takeaways from the exhibitions include Milos Teodosic making an immediate impact with his playmaking abilities and Lou Williams seamlessly adopting the sixth man role vacated by Jamal Crawford.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Kings‘ rebuild is progressing well for a number of different reasons but one of the most obvious is the fact that they have two first-year players in the race for the Rookie of the Year award. By Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee‘s count, both De’Aaron Fox and Bogdan Bogdanovic are legitimate contenders for the year-end hardware.
  • The reason Jerry West left his executive role with the Warriors to join up with the Clippers‘ front office is because he would have had to take a pay cut in the realm of $1MM. Daniel Mano of the Mercury News cites an excerpt from Jack McCallum’s book on California basketball.
  • Offseason Clippers addition Willie Reed can have his misdemeanor domestic battery charge dismissed if he agrees to a diversion program, Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel writes.

Pacific Notes: Griffin, Booker, Chandler, Lakers

Blake Griffin signed a long-term deal to stay with the Clippers this past offseason and when he signed on the dotted line, he became the undisputed face of a revamped franchise. Longtime point guard Chris Paul was traded to the Rockets, ending an era that saw the Clippers as perennial playoff contenders but also a team that never advanced past the first round.

In an interview with ESPN’s Sam Alipour, Griffin addressed the Clippers’ changed roster but said that change is not always a bad thing.

“I don’t know. You never want to blow up something like that — you have All-Stars in CP and DJ [DeAndre Jordan], great pieces like J.J. RedickJamal Crawford, Griffin said. “But at the same time, we haven’t had success, so a shake-up doesn’t hurt.”

With a five-year, $173MM deal keeping Griffin in Los Angeles, he said that he will take on a stronger leadership role. Despite losing Paul, the team still has talent that can lead the team to the playoffs.

“Yeah, I led by example, but I’ll be more outspoken this year,” he said. “Over the years, I’ve learned that leaders aren’t always popular. You have to say things people don’t necessarily want to hear.”

Read up on other news coming out of the Pacific Division below:

Pacific Notes: Clippers, Mason, Warren

The Clippers will rely more heavily on DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin than usual this season, the long-tenured frontcourt pairing will assume extra leadership duties in the wake of the trade that sent Chris Paul to the Rockets, Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times writes.

The roles absolutely changed out of necessity,” Griffin, who has already logged eight seasons with the Clippers, said. “Anytime you lose somebody like CP, everybody has to step up. I know DJ and I have talked about it all summer and we’re excited about that challenge.

The forthcoming 2017/18 campaign will be a particularly important one for Jordan. This season, the center will become the longest tenured players in Clippers franchise history, having suited up in blue and red for 10 seasons. Jordan slides past former Clips guard Eric Piatkowski who played for the team from 1994-2003.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • He may not be the most talked about Kings rookie at the point guard position but Frank Mason is ready to produce in his first season in the NBA, Ailene Voisin of the Sacramento Bee writes. The 23-year-old played four seasons at Kansas and is ready to bring his fast, aggressive style of play to the next level.
  • According to Basketball Insiders, the base value of T.J. Warren‘s four-year contract extension with the Suns is worth $47MM (as opposed to the $50MM that was initially reported). The difference could be comprised of contract incentives, although that’s merely our speculation.
  • The Warriors‘ new arena in San Francisco is schedule to open in time for the 2019/20 season. The franchise has recently submitted a bid to hold an All-Star Game there, Chris Haynes and Marc Spears of ESPN write. Sources tell them that the earliest the bid could be for is the 2021 All-Star Game.

L.A. Notes: Griffin, Rivers, Bogut, Ball

The Clippers enjoyed their trip to Hawaii both on and off the court, writes Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times. L.A. split a pair of games with the Raptors, and the players believe the experience helped to unify a team that lost Chris Paul, J.J. Redick and Jamal Crawford over the summer.

There was good news regarding star forward Blake Griffin, who was able to play without any lingering effects from surgery on his right big toe in May. Milos Teodosic showed off the passing that made him highly sought after in Europe, Patrick Beverley brought the hard-nosed defense that was his calling card in Houston and Lou Williams showed he can replace Crawford’s scoring off the bench. Also, the Lob City swagger lives on without Paul. “I don’t think we ever lost that,” said DeAndre Jordan. “We’ve got guys who can make passes like that. We’ve got myself, Blake, Willie [Reed], Montrezl [Harrell], guys like that rolling and able to play above the rim.”

There’s more tonight from Los Angeles:

  • The only bad news for the Clippers is on the injury front, Turner adds. Austin Rivers “is going to be out for a while” after straining a right gluteal muscle in the first game, said coach Doc Rivers.
  • Veteran center Andrew Bogut believes his young Lakers teammates can benefit from his experience, relays Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. Bogut signed a one-year, partially guaranteed deal with the Lakers last month as he tries to prove he can come back from a tibia fracture he suffered in March. He is projected as a backup to Brook Lopez, one of the few veterans on the squad. “I have been through pretty much everything in this league, especially injury-wise, and been on championship teams, winningest teams, crappiest teams, teams with a lot of turnovers,” Bogut said. “I have seen everything.”
  • Rookie point guard Lonzo Ball has already become the face of the Lakers, writes Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post. The team has a lot invested in the overall No. 2 pick, who  impressed his older teammates with his performance in camp. L.A. has lost at least 55 games in each of the past four seasons and needs the 19-year-old to emerge as a leader. “The way he plays the game of basketball, everywhere he goes … if he went to a rec center, people would follow him because he makes people better,” said coach Luke Walton. “That’s what great leaders do.”

Pacific Notes: Suns, Ball, Randolph

The Suns were painfully bad at defense last season, allowing 113.3 points per game and fouling more than any other team in the NBA. This year, experience and the addition of Josh Jackson could change that, Scott Bordow of the Arizona Republic writes.

With a young core anchored by Devin Booker, Marquese Chriss, Tyler Ulis and Dragan Bender it’s understandable that the team struggled to contain opposing veterans.

You get hit by these NBA players, these veterans and it pretty much hurts,” coach Earl Watson said. “Your natural reaction is just to grab.”

The bench boss believes that the addition of Jackson, whose calling card is perimeter defense, will hold teammates accountable on that end of the ball.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • The legend of Lonzo Ball has grown throughout training camp, Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN writes. The rookie point guard is said to have made an impression in his first scrimmage and has impressed Lakers head coach Luke Walton with his defensive work and ability to communicate.
  • Don’t rule out seeing Blake Griffin spend time as the Clippers‘ tallest man on the floor, only to turn around and bring the ball up the court, Doc Rivers tells the Associated Press. Quite frankly, the 28-year-old will do a bit of everything now that Chris Paul is with the Rockets.
  • After a busy summer, in which he says he was wrongfully arrested, Zach Randolph will settle into a new role with a new franchise. Ailene Voisin of the Sacramento Bee writes that the 36-year-old back-to-the-basket big man will complement the Kings young frontcourt.

Cavaliers Notes: Griffin, LeBron, Merchandise

Blake Griffin is no stranger to rumors swirling at an impending free agency as the Clippers‘ longtime forward hit the open market this offseason but ultimately re-signed with Los Angeles on a lucrative five-year deal. Next offseason, LeBron James is set to hit the open market and has been rumored to be interested in L.A. (Clippers or Lakers), a place he has referred to as “home” this offseason and owns a home.

In a recent podcast appearance on View from the Cheap Seats with the Sklar Brothers, Griffin gave his thoughts on James possibly heading out west. While Griffin claimed to have no direct knowledge, he said he doubts that the three-time NBA champion will not go to Los Angeles and feels New York would be a more viable destination (via Complex).

“Honestly, I don’t see him coming to L.A. period. Listen, again, I have no idea. I think something is brewing with him and his group of guys. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I think something’s brewing and they’re going to try to make that work,” he said. “I could see him going to New York before L.A. I still think, when you go to the Garden, it’s a completely different feeling. The energy, there seems like there’s just a consistent buzz the entire game … even last year when you go play them, it’s still there.”

James’ future will be a hot topic in the next 12 months and players around the league will be among those to weigh in with their thoughts.

Below you can read up on several tidbits of Cavaliers news:

  • Charles Curtis of USA Today breaks down why the Cavaliers will not trade James before his hits free agency despite the uncertainty of his future. Curtis notes that James has a no-trade clause, teams’ skepticism of trading for a player departing in one year, fielding a competitive team even without Kyrie Irving, and the reputation of the NBA’s best player.
  • In a separate USA Today, Alysha Tsuji writes that a store in James’ native Akron, Ohio, is selling merchandise asking James to “Stay Home” to stay past the 2017/18 season.
  • Sam Amico of Amico Hoops writes that unless the team begins its transformation project of Quicken Loans Arena by September 15, the Cavaliers will not be considered for an NBA All-Star game in 2020 or 2021.

Blake Griffin Talks Free Agency, Injury

Blake Griffin, who re-signed with the Clippers on a five-year, $173MM deal this offseason, said the decision to stay was a “no-brainer,” as Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN.com relays.

“Obviously this has been my home since I was drafted, and a lot went into this decision for me,” Griffin said. “Not only what was best for me and my family, but just the quality of people and work that we have here. That goes from owners all the way down to the coaching staff to the roster to everything just day-to-day. I think with [Clippers owner] Steve Ballmer and [president of basketball operations and head coach] Doc [Rivers] and [executive vice president of basketball operations] Lawrence [Frank], all the way down, in the end I realized this is a no-brainer for me. This is the best place for me. This is a place where I want to start and finish my career.”

The power forward had meetings scheduled with the Suns and Nuggets early in the free agency period, though he canceled them both after meeting with the Clippers. Griffin was impressed with the team’s presentation. He added that he expects the team to play faster now that Chris Paul has departed.

“The size and speed on this team is exciting. I think playing in transition, getting out, keeping the ball moving, playing free is something we’re looking forward to. I think we’re well equipped,” Griffin said.

Los Angeles made several additions after bringing Griffin back. The Clips added Patrick Beverley and Lou Williams when they sent Chris Paul to Houston. They brought in Danilo Gallinari via sign-and-trade and they signed European star Milos Teodosic.

When Griffin will get an opportunity to play alongside his new roommates is unclear, as he’s recovering from an injury to his big toe. He’s aggressively rehabbing his injury and hopes to be ready for the season.

“I’ve met with probably five different foot specialists before surgery, and everybody’s conclusion was that training camp was a very realistic possibility,” Griffin said. “So I expect to be ready to go by training camp. Within the next few weeks here I’ll be able to go on the court and ramp up things there. It’s been nice to be on court and do ballhandling and free throws and stuff like that, but [I’m] just taking it week by week really.”

Blake Griffin Signs Five-Year Deal With Clippers

JULY 18: With the Clippers having taken care of most of their other offseason business, Griffin has finally made his new deal official, according to the NBA’s transactions log.Blake Griffin vertical

JUNE 30: Forward Blake Griffin will remain with the Clippers, Shams Charania of The Vertical tweets. After cancelling meetings with the Suns and Nuggets, Griffin has come to agreement with the Clippers on a five-year deal worth the maximum salary, putting the overall value of the deal in the neighborhood of $173MM.

The two parties apparently finalized a five-year max deal during their meeting and Griffin didn’t feel the need to entertain offers from any other ball clubs. As Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports explains, such a deal was likely so long as the Clippers were willing to fully commit to the 28-year-old power forward.

Per Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times, the Clippers pulled out all the stops in their meeting with Griffin and the forward was impressed. The meeting included what Turner describes as a “museum of Blake,” a recap of all the different parts of life that Griffin has experienced with the franchise, essentially.

With Chris Paul now out of the picture, this will mark the first time since his rookie year that Griffin is the focal point of Los Angeles’ offense. This, ESPN’s Jeff Goodman implies, could have increased the likelihood of a deal.

Despite the trade of Paul and the probable departure of J.J. Redick, the Clippers don’t appear to be ready to enter rebuilding mode. The club’s haul in its deal with the Rockets included multiple solid veteran players – Patrick Beverley and Lou Williams – and a pair of youngsters who could play rotation roles in Sam Dekker and Montrezl Harrell. If the club adds another veteran piece or two in free agency, it looks like a roster capable of contending for a playoff spot.

As we’ve laid out in our max salary projection chart, so long as the NBA’s most recent $99MM cap projection holds up, Griffin will make $29.7MM in 2017/18, gradually increasing up to $39.2MM in 2021/22. That’s a huge investment in a player who has battled injury issues for much of his career, but the former first overall pick is one of the game’s most talented bigs when he’s on the court, and the Clippers will keep him through the rest of his prime years.

According to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN, the deal will not include a no-trade clause.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Griffin Cancels Meetings With Suns, Nuggets

Not long after it was announced that Blake Griffin would meet with the Suns when free agency began, he canceled the meeting, Sam Amick of USA Today tweets.

The All-Star forward also cancelled a meeting with the Nuggets suggesting that, barring a mysterious unnamed club swooping in and luring the forward away, a return to the Clippers may be imminent.

That Griffin did in fact cancel meetings with both Phoenix and Denver has since been corroborated by Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times.

Western FA Rumors: Hayward, Gallinari, Clippers

Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey remains confident about his team’s chances to re-sign Gordon Hayward, George Hill, and Joe Ingles, writes Jody Genessy of The Deseret News. The team’s ability to bring back Hill and/or Ingles may be key to retaining Hayward.

Genessy reiterates (via Twitter) that Hayward really wants the Jazz to re-sign Hill, adding that his decision could hinge on that, while Sam Amick of USA Today notes (via Twitter) that Hayward and Ingles share an agent. Utah has been seeking a trade for a cheaper point guard to replace Hill, but may be hesitant to make such a move if it would make Hayward more likely to leave.

Here’s more on free agency from around the Western Conference, including another Hayward-related note:

  • Having previously said that he wouldn’t prioritize the Nuggets over any other suitor in free agency, Danilo Gallinari tells Italian outlet La Gazzetta dello Sport that his goal is to remain with Denver, and will have one of his first meetings with the Nuggets. Emiliano Carchia of Sportando provides the English translation on the quotes from Gallinari, who also acknowledged that he won’t receive a maximum salary contract.
  • The Clippers want to hang onto Blake Griffin in free agency, but it’s not clear whether the team is prepared to put a five-year, maximum salary offer on the table for him, tweets Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com.
  • Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times (Twitter link) identifies Jonathon Simmons, Rudy Gay, Danilo Gallinari, P.J. Tucker, James Johnson, Joe Ingles, and Andre Iguodala as additional free agents of interest for the Clippers.
  • The Gordon Hayward sweepstakes are creating a battle amidst the Ainge family, as Chris Forsberg of ESPN.com details. Tanner Ainge, the son of Celtics president Danny Ainge, is running for Congress in Utah and has pushed for Hayward to remain with the Jazz.
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