Brandon Boston

Clippers Seek Point Guard; Bledsoe, Ibaka, Morris Available

The Clippers are shopping for a play-making point guard and are willing to move several veterans in order to achieve that goal, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer reports.

The Clippers believe a starting point guard is the missing piece to become a championship contender when Kawhi Leonard and Paul George return to action, even though it’s uncertain whether they’ll be back this season or next year.

The front office has made Eric Bledsoe, Serge Ibaka, and Marcus Morris available to acquire another floor leader, O’Connor says. The team views current starter Reggie Jackson as more of a scorer than a pure point guard.

Bledsoe is signed through next season but his $19.38MM salary next season is only guaranteed for $3.9MM. Ibaka is making $9.7MM this season and will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. The Clippers would prefer to hold onto Morris, who is in the second year of a four-year, $64MM contract, but the forward may be their most attractive trade piece.

O’Connor suggests the Clippers would also be willing to part with Luke Kennard, Terance Mann, Ivica Zubac, Jason Preston, Brandon Boston Jr., or Keon Johnson if the right deal came along.

As O’Connor notes, the Clippers have been linked in some fashion to Jalen Brunson, Dennis Schröder, Kemba Walker, Goran Dragic, Spencer Dinwiddie and John Wall in recent weeks. Brunson would seemingly be the best fit, though the Mavericks aren’t inclined to deal him, despite the fact that he’ll be an unrestricted free agent after the season.

Dragic, currently in limbo, might be a good short-term fit. Wall, who hasn’t played this season while the Rockets seek a new home for him, could also be an intriguing possibility. The salaries of Bledsoe, Ibaka and Morris could be matched up to obtain Wall. The Clippers could also simply wait to see if Wall winds up on the buyout market and make a play for him at that point.

COVID-19 Updates: Wizards, Budenholzer, Celtics, Nance, Duarte, More

The Wizards are on the verge of replenishing their point guard depth, with Spencer Dinwiddie and Aaron Holiday now out of the NBA’s health and safety protocols, per Josh Robbins of The Athletic (Twitter link). Both players will remain sidelined for at least one more game, however, as they work on their conditioning.

Here are more protocol-related updates from around the league:

  • Mike Budenholzer has become the latest head coach to enter the health and safety protocols, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Darvin Ham will serve as the Bucks‘ acting head coach in Budenholzer’s absence.
  • Aaron Nesmith has exited the health and safety protocols, but another Celtics player – Payton Pritchard – has entered them, tweets Jared Weiss of The Athletic.
  • Trail Blazers big man Larry Nance Jr. entered the COVID-19 protocols on Tuesday, but it’s possible he’ll be able to clear them quickly. According to Aaron Fentress of The Oregonian (Twitter links), head coach Chauncey Billups said Nance registered an inconclusive test, so if he can return two consecutive negatives at least 24 hours apart, he’ll exit the protocols.
  • Pacers rookie Chris Duarte has cleared the protocols, though he’s doubtful to play in Wednesday’s game vs. Brooklyn, tweets Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files.
  • Cory Joseph, who was the last Pistons player in the protocols, has exited them, according to Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press (Twitter link). Joseph remains unavailable for Wednesday’s game in Charlotte due to return to competition reconditioning.
  • Rookies Marko Simonovic (Bulls) and Brandon Boston Jr. (Clippers) were at their respective teams’ practices today and are no longer in the protocols (Twitter links via K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago and Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times).
  • Other players who have cleared the protocols include Spurs forward Devontae Cacok and Mavericks rookie JaQuori McLaughlin. Cacok is out vs. Boston on Wednesday due to return to competition reconditioning (Twitter link via Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News), while McLaughlin is no longer on Dallas’ injury report.

COVID-19 Updates: Mavs, B. Boston, Cacok, Lakers, C. Thomas

The Mavericks have placed center Boban Marjanovic and guard Brandon Knight – who signed a hardship deal last week – in the health and safety protocols, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). Marjanovic and Knight are the sixth and seventh Dallas players currently in the protocols.

As we noted earlier today, the Mavericks reportedly reached an agreement to sign Isaiah Thomas, who will be the team’s seventh replacement player. If Dallas had just five players in the protocols, the team wouldn’t be able to make another hardship signing, so the fact that Marjanovic and Knight are now in the protocols helps explain the Thomas deal.

Here are a few more COVID-related updates from around the league:

  • Clippers rookie Brandon Boston Jr. has entered the health and safety protocols, the team announced today. Boston had been playing an increased role as of late with the Clippers shorthanded, averaging 19.6 MPG in 13 games this month.
  • Spurs two-way big man Devontae Cacok has joined teammate Dejounte Murray in the COVID-19 protocols, per Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News (Twitter link). They’re the only two San Antonio players affected for now.
  • Lakers guards Austin Reaves and Kent Bazemore have cleared the protocols, tweets Kyle Goon of the Southern California News Group. They won’t be with the team in Memphis tonight, but should be available by Friday’s home game vs. Portland.
  • Nets rookie guard Cam Thomas has exited the protocols and is available, tweets Brian Lewis of The New York Post.

Pacific Notes: Ayton, Westbrook, LeBron, Boston

Suns center Deandre Ayton will be a restricted free agent this summer, but he says he’s focused on working hard and winning a championship this season, according to Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated.

The 20-4 Suns hold the second-best record in the league, trailing the Warriors by a half-game. Ayton says the key to the team’s success has been maximum effort.

All of it is from experience from the Finals and playing hard,” Ayton said. “We play super hard. We don’t know how to stop playing hard. Ever since I went to the Finals, I don’t know how to stop competing more than 100%. We have to stay at this high level of camaraderie and I have to make sure we win the game.”

In 18 games this season (30.9 MPG), Ayton is averaging 16.3 PPG and 11.1 RPG. He says he has his eye on some individual awards as well.

I want All-Star and Defensive Player of the Year,” Ayton said, per Spears. “I really want that. I want to be on that talk of First-Team Defense.”

Here’s more from around the Pacific Division:

  • Russell Westbrook has been steadily improving throughout the season for the Lakers, prompting Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report to wonder whether people jumped the gun on judging the team’s trade to acquire him.
  • The Lakers‘ season may hinge on whether LeBron James and Westbrook can form a winning partnership, writes Dave McMenamin of ESPN. McMenamin takes an in-depth look at the dynamic between the two players, noting that defensive lapses and turnovers have plagued the team. The duo’s chemistry has been slow to form with James sidelined for 12 games, but they’ve looked much better together recently.
  • Rookie Brandon Boston Jr. had a breakout performance for the Clippers in their 114-111 victory over the Celtics Wednesday night, dropping 27 points and four steals in only 25 minutes and making 9-of-13 shots, including 5-of-8 threes. Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times writes that Boston is one of the keys to the Clippers’ present and future.

Clippers Notes: Ibaka, Boston, Winslow, Outlook

Clippers center Serge Ibaka, who is coming off back surgery, was cleared for contact on Monday, head coach Tyronn Lue told reporters, including Mirjam Swanson of The Orange County Register.

“He’s doing good,” Lue said. “We’re gonna ease him in as slow as possible and make sure he’s healthy and that’s a good sign for us. Hopefully, he’s able to get back on track (get on the floor) and take some contact.”

Ibaka was the Clippers’ starting center when he was healthy last season, but with his exact timeline for a return still unclear, Ivica Zubac figures to handle that role for the foreseeable future.

Here’s more on the Clippers:

  • Rookie shooting guard Brandon Boston Jr., the 51st overall pick in the 2021 draft, may not have a regular rotation role during the regular season, but he was part of L.A.’s starting lineup during his preseason debut on Monday. As Swanson writes, Boston was “super excited” about the opportunity. “It’s actually crazy, I’m not going to lie,” Boston said after the game. “There are only 450 of us that are here, so just making the best of it while I’m here. Doing the right thing, doing the little things I need to do and just attacking it every day.”
  • As long as Justise Winslow can stay healthy, the Clippers envision using him in a variety roles, ranging from a backup point guard to a small-ball center, writes Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times. “He showed us a lot in this last week and a half, two weeks,” Lue said, noting that he has been impressed by Winslow’s defensive versatility and his ability to start the fast break off a rebound.
  • John Hollinger of The Athletic isn’t particularly bullish on the Clippers’ outlook this season, forecasting a 38-44 record for the team, good for 10th in the West. Hollinger’s projection for the Clippers is based on an assumption that Kawhi Leonard won’t play at all this season, and he acknowledges that the club’s ceiling will be considerably higher if Leonard is able to return in the spring.

Contract Details: Clippers, THT, Ball, Nwaba, Bembry, Raptors

After reporting over the weekend that the Clippers used about $3.9MM of their taxpayer mid-level exception to sign Justise Winslow, ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Instagram video) confirmed today that the team used the leftover portion of that MLE to sign second-round picks Jason Preston and Brandon Boston Jr. to three-year deals, with Preston getting a little more than the rookie minimum.

Keith Smith of Spotrac shares those salary figures down to the dollar, tweeting that Winslow’s first-year salary is $3,902,439 while Preston’s is $1,062,303. Combined with Boston’s rookie minimum of $925,258, those three salaries add up to exactly $5.89MM, the amount of the taxpayer mid-level exception.

Here are a few more details on new contracts from around the NBA:

  • While Talen Horton-Tucker‘s three-year deal with the Lakers was initially said to be worth $32MM, the year-by-year breakdown provided by Smith works out to a total of $30.78MM (Twitter link).
  • Lonzo Ball‘s four-year deal with the Bulls also came in slightly lower than expected, according to Smith, who says it has a base value of $80MM, with $1MM in annual unlikely incentives (Twitter link).
  • David Nwaba‘s three-year, $15MM contract with the Rockets has two fully guaranteed seasons followed by a third-year team option, according to Marks (Instagram video).
  • DeAndre’ Bembry‘s minimum-salary deal with the Nets has a partial guarantee of $750K for now, tweets Smith. That number will increase to $1.25MM on December 15 before becoming fully guaranteed in January.
  • Blake Murphy of The Athletic (Twitter links) shares some Raptors contract details, reporting that Gary Trent Jr.‘s deal has a base value of $51.84MM, with $250K in annual unlikely incentives. Murphy adds that Ishmail Wainright got a $250K guarantee in 2021/22 – plus a $125K guarantee in ’22/23 – on his minimum-salary contract, while Yuta Watanabe‘s minimum-salary deal is now partially guaranteed for $375K. Watanabe would get his full guarantee if he makes the regular season roster.

Clippers Sign Brandon Boston Jr. To Multiyear Deal

AUGUST 9: Boston’s deal is now official, according to an announcement from the Clippers.


AUGUST 8: The Clippers are signing rookie wing Brandon Boston Jr. to a multiyear deal, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who reports (via Twitter) that Boston will get two guaranteed years with a third-year team option.

In his single college season at Kentucky, Boston averaged 11.5 PPG, 4.5 RPG, and 1.6 APG on .355/.300/.785 shooting in 25 games (30.4 MPG) for the Wildcats. The 19-year-old is considered a raw prospect who is still adding bulk to his slender frame.

The Grizzlies technically selected Boston with the No. 51 pick on draft night, but by that point the selection had already been part of two trades agreed to before or during the draft. It was sent to the Pelicans as part of a bigger deal earlier in the week and then flipped to the Clippers for cash on draft night.

The Clippers’ willingness to buy their way back into the draft in order to nab Boston – and their willingness to give him two guaranteed years – signals how highly they regard him. According to Keith Smith of Spotrac (via Twitter), Boston’s $2.5MM in guaranteed money will be the most ever for a player drafted in the 50s who wasn’t stashed overseas before coming to the NBA.

Los Angeles will use a portion of its $5.9MM taxpayer mid-level exception to complete the signing. ESPN’s Bobby Marks reported on Instagram on Sunday that Justise Winslow got about $3.9MM of that exception, which leaves more than enough wiggle room to accommodate Boston’s first-year salary.

Clippers Acquire No. 51 Pick Brandon Boston From Pelicans

AUGUST 7: The trade is official, according to a press release from the Pelicans.

New Orleans announced that the second-round pick it received in the deal is the Kings’ 2022 second-rounder. However, that pick was top-54 protected when it was initially sent to the Clippers and is unlikely to convey, so the cash included in the deal is the primary return for the Pels.


JULY 29: The Clippers are adding a late-round selection by trading with the Pelicans for the No. 51 pick, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. L.A. is using the pick to draft Kentucky guard Brandon Boston Jr.

New Orleans will receive cash and a future second-round choice in return, according to Andrew Lopez of ESPN (Twitter link).

The pick originally belonged to the Grizzlies and was included a trade that was agreed to earlier this week, but can’t be finalized until after the moratorium ends. The Clippers also acquired the No. 33 pick tonight in a trade with the Magic.

Boston, 19, played just one season with the Wildcats, averaging 11.5 points and 4.5 rebounds in 25 games.

Pelicans Officially Acquire Valanciunas, Graham In Three-Team Trade

The Pelicans have officially announced a pair of previouslyreported trades, having combined their acquisitions of center Jonas Valanciunas and point guard Devonte’ Graham into a single transaction involving both the Grizzlies and Hornets. Memphis and Charlotte have put out press releases as well.

The details of the three-team deal are as follows:

  • To Pelicans:
    • Valanciunas (from Grizzlies)
    • Graham (sign-and-trade; from Hornets)
    • The draft rights to Trey Murphy (No. 17 pick; from Grizzlies)
    • The draft rights to Brandon Boston (No. 51 pick; from Grizzlies)
      • Note: Boston will be rerouted to the Clippers in a subsequent trade.
  • To Grizzlies:
    • Eric Bledsoe (from Pelicans)
    • Steven Adams (from Pelicans)
    • The draft rights to Ziaire Williams (No. 10 pick; from Pelicans)
    • The draft rights to Jared Butler (No. 40 pick; from Pelicans)
      • Note: Butler will be rerouted to the Jazz in a subsequent trade.
    • The Lakers’ 2022 first-round pick (top-10 protected; from Pelicans)
  • To Hornets:
    • Wesley Iwundu (from Pelicans)
    • The Pelicans’ 2022 first-round pick (top-14 protected; from Pelicans)
      • Note: If the Pelicans’ 2022 first-rounder falls in the top 14, the Hornets will instead receive New Orleans’ 2022 and 2024 second-round picks, per Rod Boone of SI.com.
    • Cash (from Pelicans)
    • The draft rights to Tyler Harvey (from Grizzlies)

The details of the three-team trade essentially line up with what was previously reported, with two new pieces added — Iwundu going from New Orleans to Charlotte and Harvey’s draft rights going from Memphis to Charlotte. Harvey was presumably only included to ensure that the Grizzlies and Hornets were “touching,” since otherwise Memphis would only have been exchanging assets with the Pelicans.

Looping their sign-and-trade acquisition of Graham into the trade suggests the Pelicans will operate over the cap, using Bledsoe’s and Adams’ outgoing salaries in order to match both Valanciunas and Graham instead of signing Graham into cap space.

As Bobby Marks of ESPN notes (via Twitter), it also allows New Orleans to generate a $17MM+ trade exception in the deal. Only Bledsoe’s and Iwundu’s outgoing salaries are needed for matching purposes to take on Valanciunas and Graham, meaning the Pelicans’ new TPE is worth Adams’ salary ($17,073,171).

Graham reportedly signed a four-year, $47MM contract with the Pelicans as part of the trade. He and Tomas Satoransky appear set to play the majority of the minutes at point guard in New Orleans, barring further roster changes. The team is sending Lonzo Ball to Chicago in a separate sign-and-trade deal.

Graham made just 37.7% of his field goal attempts in 2020/21, but his three-point mark was a very respectable 37.5%. In addition to his ability to make threes, Graham is an above-average play-maker (6.5 APG over the last two seasons) and a respectable defender.

Swapping out Adams for Valanciunas should allow the Pelicans to improve their frontcourt spacing. Valanciunas isn’t exactly a long-distance marksman, but has a solid mid-range game and will shoot the occasional three-pointer, which should create more room for Zion Williamson to operate. The former No. 5 overall pick averaged an impressive 17.1 PPG and 12.5 RPG with a .592/.368/.773 shooting line in 62 games (28.3 MPG) this past season.

From the Grizzlies’ perspective, the deal was a way to improve their draft assets in both 2021 and 2022 as a result of their willingness to take on Adams’ and Bledsoe’s pricey contracts. The team moved up from No. 17 to No. 10 to snag Williams, and later flipped the No. 40 pick (Butler) to Utah in a separate trade to move up to No. 30 for Santi Aldama.

[RELATED: 2021 NBA Offseason Trades]

The Hornets, meanwhile, decided to move on from Graham and got a protected first-round pick from New Orleans in exchange for waiving their right to match an offer sheet for the restricted free agent. Iwundu’s guaranteed $1.82MM salary for 2021/22 will eat up a small amount of Charlotte’s cap room, but the team will still have enough flexibility to complete its signing of Kelly Oubre to a two-year deal in the range of $12-13MM per year.

Lakers Notes: Trade Obstacles, Hollins, Penberthy, Workouts

The Lakers’ desire to land another big star is well-documented at this point, but their ability to actually make the money work is another matter altogether.

Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register goes through the obstacles facing the Lakers in a variety of different high-profile moves, such as a trade for Russell Westbrook or a sign-and-trade of Dennis Schroder for Kyle Lowry. Goon also discusses the idea of stars like Chris Paul, DeMar DeRozan, or Kyle Lowry taking pay cuts to play with LeBron James, explaining why it’s unlikely.

Lastly, Goon touches on the reports that the Lakers have been shopping a package of Kyle Kuzma and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope all over the league, and how poorly that reflects on the strength of that trade offer.

We have more from the Lakers:

  • Lionel Hollins will no longer be an assistant coach for the Lakers, reports Jovan Buha of The Athletic (via Twitter). Hollins’ contract expired without the team and him coming to an agreement on an extension. Kyle Goon tweets that Hollins indicated he would be open to coaching again in the right opportunity.
  • With the departure of Hollins, shooting coach Mike Penberthy is being promoted to a front-of-bench coaching position on head coach Frank Vogel‘s staff, Buha and Sam Amick write in a piece for The Athletic. Penberthy was offered a similar position on Jason Kidd‘s staff with the Mavericks before the Lakers matched their offer. Buha and Amick write that it’s unclear if the Lakers will add another assistant coach this offseason.
  • The Lakers worked out five prospects today, according to Lakers reporter Brad Turner: MaCio Teague, Spencer Littleson, Jose Alvarado, Brandon Boston Jr., and Moses Wright. Of the five, Boston is the highest-ranked, and could be an option either at 22 or if the Lakers look to trade back from 22 into the top of the second round in order to save money.