C.J. Williams

L.A. Notes: Ingram, Lakers, Clippers, Kilpatrick

The Lakers will be without former No. 2 overall pick Brandon Ingram for at least the next two or three games, the team confirmed today, announcing in a press release that the second-year forward has been diagnosed with a left groin strain. Ingram, who sat out Saturday’s contest vs. San Antonio, will be re-evaluated in about a week, according to the team.

Here are a few more Lakers and Clippers notes from out of Los Angeles:

  • While the Lakers‘ playoff chances are extremely slim, the progress they’ve made this season is “undeniable and significant to their future,” says Bill Oram of The Orange County Register. As Oram notes, the team’s growth is important not just for its young players but for its ability to attract free agents in the offseason.
  • Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN also examines the growth of the Lakers‘ young players, who have done well pushing through adversity.
  • It sounds like the Clippers haven’t entirely ruled out the possibility of signing a two-way player like Tyrone Wallace or C.J. Williams to an NBA contract, but the team didn’t want to wait on those negotiations, opting to fill its open roster spot with Sean Kilpatrick, as Elliott Teaford of The Daily Breeze writes. “We’re trying to make the playoffs here,” head coach Doc Rivers said. “We’re going to try to sign who we think is the best fit for our team. If Sean comes in and earns it, it’ll be his job. Or we’ll go back to the C.J.s or the Tys. We like them all. We just have to figure out who’s the best fit.”
  • The Clippers are $545K below the luxury tax line after signing Kilpatrick to a 10-day deal, reports ESPN’s Bobby Marks. That gives the team some breathing room to eventually sign someone to a rest-of-season contract without going into the tax.

L.A. Notes: Bradley, Clippers, Thomas, Ball

As the Clippers headed to Phoenix for Friday night’s game against the Suns, Avery Bradley stayed behind in Los Angeles to receive treatment on a sports hernia injury that has nagged at him for much of the season, per Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times. The Clippers, who could have used Bradley on defense during Thursday’s 134-127 loss to Golden State, aren’t sure exactly when the veteran guard will return to action.

“We are concerned,” Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said. “We’ve got to go through the right stuff and make sure he’s in a good place with his health. I think we’re going to send him to a doctor and let him check and see.”

Here’s more out of Los Angles on both the Clippers and Lakers:

  • The Clippers currently have one opening on their 15-man roster, which would allow the team to give a full-fledged roster spot to one of its two-way players. However, it’s not clear whether Tyrone Wallace or C.J. Williams would be first in line for that spot, as both players are expected to receive consideration, according to Turner. “Hopefully we can get something resolved pretty soon,” Rivers said. “We just got to figure out what we’re going to do. We may be able to sign one.”
  • With the Lakers focusing on developing younger players and Isaiah Thomas in need of a showcase before he hits free agency, the union between the two doesn’t exactly look like a marriage made in heaven, writes Rob Mahoney of SI.com. Still, Lonzo Ball is looking forward to playing with Thomas, suggesting that his pass-first style and Thomas’ score-first mentality should mesh well together, as Bill Oram of The Orange County Register details.
  • In a conversation with Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype, Lakers rookie Kyle Kuzma addressed several topics, including the team’s recent trades of Larry Nance and Jordan Clarkson, his friendship with Ball, and the possibility of the Lakers landing a star in free agency.

Pacific Notes: Walton, Caldwell-Pope, West, Williams

The Lakers mishandled the latest controversy involving LaVar Ball, writes Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post. The outspoken father of rookie Lonzo Ball said over the weekend that coach Luke Walton has lost control of the team and that players no longer enjoy playing for him.

The comments drew a harsh reaction from other coaches such as the Mavericks’ Rick Carlisle, the Pistons’ Stan Van Gundy and the Warriors’ Steve Kerr, but Bontemps says Lakers management failed to speak out swiftly to defend Walton.

GM Rob Pelinka turned down two requests to talk to reporters at Sunday’s game, then team president Magic Johnson did the same at Monday’s practice. Bontemps notes this would have been a perfect opportunity to support Walton and send a message to LaVar Ball, but the team leaders remained silent.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Lakers guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is ready to move on after completing a 25-day jail sentence, relays Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. Caldwell-Pope was released for games and practices, but wasn’t permitted to leave California for road trips. “Paid my debts and all,” he said. “… Everything is done. Put that behind me. Moving forward, finish my season. Just happy to be home. Just a minor setback for me, [but there’s a] lot of things I gotta change. Lotta things I gotta improve on. Had a lot of time to think about it.”
  • Warriors forward David West heard a lot of second guessing when he turned down a $12.6MM option with the Pacers in 2015, but he tells Chris Hayes of ESPN he doesn’t think he would still be playing without that decision. He signed a $1.4MM contract with the Spurs that year and has taken similar deals with the Warriors the past two seasons. “I would have retired, man,” West said. “That would have been it, because I wanted to compete for a championship. I needed to experience that. So, if I played out my contract there, that would have been it. I was walking away. I wanted to feel like I was playing for something.”
  • After hitting a game-winning shot Monday, Clippers guard C.J. Williams has another important occasion coming up, notes Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times. Playing on a two-way contract, Williams has used 40 of his 45 allowable days in the NBA. Injuries have forced Williams into the rotation, as he has started 12 games and is averaging nearly 20 minutes per night. To keep him, the Clippers will have to sign him to a regular contract or a 10-day deal by the end of the week. “We’re going to start a ‘GoFundMe Fund’ for C.J.,” coach Doc Rivers joked after the game. “We need some donations.”

Clippers Rumors: Williams, Austin Rivers, Doc

Swingman C.J. Williams is nearing the end of his 45-day limit with the Clippers and admits the situation weighs on him, as he told Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times. Williams scored a career-high 18 points on Tuesday in his 37th day with the club. Once he reaches the limit, he’ll either have to spend the rest of the season in the G League or receive a standard contract. The Clippers do have an open roster spot, as Turner notes. “It’s hard not to think about it,” Williams told Turner. “But once the game comes, I’m focused on the game, focused on what I’m doing. I can’t really think about what’s going to happen in the future.”

In other developments involving the team:

  • Austin Rivers has missed the last two games with a sore right Achilles tendon. The combo guard is listed as questionable to play on Thursday. The club sent him to another specialist just to make sure the injury is not more serious than the original diagnosis, Turner writes in a separate story“I know he was working out the last couple of days and had some discomfort. So they’re going to reevaluate his foot again,” coach and father Doc Rivers said. “I think they are going to send him to another guy and see what’s going on.”
  • The Clippers have managed to hang around in the playoff race despite injuries to several key players. That’s made this a rewarding season thus far for Doc Rivers. “I just love coaching this team,” he told Elliott Teaford of the Orange County Register. “There are so many reasons we could have thrown in the towel. [Sunday], we had four of our top six scorers out. We have it over and over again and somebody else steps up. This team is a resilient team.”
  • Earlier today, we asked you for your predictions on how the rest of the Clippers’ 2017/18 season will play out. Join our discussion right here.

Pacific Notes: Evans, Clippers, James, Dudley

It’s rare to have a rookie play like a seasoned veteran on either side of the ball but Jawun Evans‘ impact on the Clippers‘ defense has been considerable. Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times writes that Evans’ presence on the court has resulted in fewer points for the opposition and head coach Doc Rivers has noticed.

“I think Jawun’s ball pressure has been great,” Rivers said. “My entire theory on defense is the more clock you can [make the offense] use before they start, the less time they have to hurt you. And what Jawun’s doing when he’s in the game, he pressures the ball and teams are starting their offense at 13 and 12 seconds. It’s tough to score on a team in 12 seconds. And so I think that’s helped as well.”

Evans, 21, has appeared in 26 games this season, averaging 5.5 PPG and 1.9 APG. The Clippers have struggled this season and currently sit in 10th place in the Western Conference. Evans, however, has turned heads with his defensive abilities.

Below you can read up on other news out of the Pacific Division:

  • The Clippers face a roster predicament with Jamil Wilson and C.J. Williams, Elliot Teaford of the Orange County Register writes. Both Winston and Williams are on two-way deals, meaning they can only spend 45 days with the Clippers. The team can sign them to NBA deals but do not have two open roster spots. “It’s going to be tough,” Rivers said. “I won’t tell you our plans, but they’re not going to be great, I can tell you that. That’s all I can tell you. You’ll see. No, we just don’t have a lot of good options. We have to play them right now because we need them, and they’re playing great.”
  • Mike James, who the Suns waived last week, has cleared waivers, Scott Bordow of Arizona Republic tweets. The Guangdong Southern Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association are making a “hard push” to sign James, Marc Stein of the New York Times tweets. James, 27, averaged 10.4 PPG and 3.8 APG in 32 games for Phoenix before being waived.
  • Suns’ forward Jared Dudley has embraced the role of a veteran leader for Phoenix, the 32-year-old said to James Blancarte of Basketball Insiders. Dudley has only appeared in 14 games this season and is averaging career-lows across nearly every category. However, he enjoys helping the team’s younger players.“I think that through my knowledge and wisdom that I’ve helped [the young players] out and that is something that I can continue to do,” Dudley said. “I mean every NBA team is getting younger by the year and teams are looking for vets to help out.”

Pacific Notes: Curry, Wilson, Williams, Lakers

Warriors point guard Stephen Curry suffered a sprained right ankle earlier this month, but a medical reevaluation on Tuesday revealed he has made significant progress in his recovery, the team announced. Curry is scheduled to begin modified on-court workouts in the coming days and will be reevaluated in a week, the press release noted.

The Warriors have played well in Curry’s absence, winning all five games since he suffered the injury. Even without their former two-time NBA Most Valuable Player award recipient, the Warriors remain a potent threat, led by the likes of Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green. However, replacing Curry’s production in the lineup is no small feat. In 23 games this season, Curry has averaged 26.3 PPG, 6.6 APG, and 5.1 RPG.

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

  • A pair of two-way deals with Jamil Wilson and C.J. Williams didn’t seem like major moves at the time of their signings, but both men have played considerable roles for the Clippers, Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times writes. Two-way players are not permitted to spend more than 45 days with the NBA team but both Wilson and Williams have been burning through those days, providing an impact for a struggling Clippers team.
  • While Wilson has been impressive for the Clippers, he could be on the chopping block by the end of the week as the Clippers may elect to sign a new two-way player once his 45 days are up, per ESPN’s Bobby Marks (via Twitter).
  • The Lakers elected to go in a completely new direction last season and Kobe Bryants former agent turned general manager, Rob Pelinka, was at the forefront of that change. With young talent in abundance and ample resources, Pelinka feels the team can soon lure the right players to the city of angels, USA TODAY’s Sam Amick writes. “We have as much cap flexibility, or cap health, as any team in the league. We know that this is a destination city for players to want to be in,” Pelinka said. “We have a legacy with our franchise that really can’t be duplicated, and we’ve got a pass-first, ball-sharing point guard (in Lonzo Ball), which players want to play with. So I think the culmination of all those forces is, like you said, we feel like we’ve become a destination again. Now it’s going to be Magic’s job, and my job with Jeanie’s guidance to complete the puzzle with the right pieces as we move forward.”
  • Isaiah Canaan has been a revelation for the Suns in Devin Booker‘s absence, but the team would need to create a roster spot for him once Booker returns, per ESPN’s Bobby Marks (via Twitter).

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 11/16/17

Here are the G League moves from around the Association today:

Clippers Converting C.J. Williams’ Deal To Two-Way Contract

With the regular season around the corner, the Clippers have decided to convert shooting guard C.J. Williams‘ NBA contract into a two-way deal, per Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link).

Williams’ agreement with the Clippers included an Exhibit 10 clause, giving the club the opportunity to convert it into a two-way contract before the regular season begins. Los Angeles will have until Monday to make it official.

Williams, 27, was part of the Team USA squad that brought home gold at last month’s AmeriCup. He subsequently joined the Clippers for camp and got the chance to play in four preseason games for the team. On Friday night, he put up eight points, five assists, and four steals in a loss to the Lakers.

With Williams’ contract turning into a two-way deal, the Clippers will have a couple more roster moves to make before opening night. Ike Iroegbu and Tyrone Wallace are the most likely candidates to be waived, while Marshall Plumlee‘s status also remains uncertain.

Clippers Sign C.J. Williams To Camp Deal

SEPTEMBER 14: The Clippers have officially signed Williams, according to RealGM’s log of NBA transactions.

SEPTEMBER 5: Free agent shooting guard C.J. Williams has signed a training camp deal with the Clippers, according to Chris Reichert of 2 Ways & 10 Days (Twitter link). The team has yet to officially announce the signing, but if and when L.A. completes its reported agreements with Williams and LaDontae Henton, the club’s 20-man offseason roster will be full.

Williams, 27, signed a training camp deal with the Mavericks a year ago, and while he didn’t earn a spot on Dallas’ regular season roster, he did end up joining the Texas Legends, the Mavs’ G League affiliate. The N.C. State alum appeared in 50 games for the Legends, averaging 12.8 PPG and 4.1 RPG with a shooting line of .441/.386/.789.

More recently, Williams was part of the Team USA squad that brought home gold at last week’s AmeriCup. In five games in that tournament, the 6’5″ guard averaged 8.8 PPG, making 51.4% of his shots from the floor.

The Clippers currently have 14 players on fully guaranteed contracts for 2017/18, with Marshall Plumlee, DeAndre Liggins, and Tyrone Wallace among the non-guaranteed players vying for a roster spot, so Williams will have an uphill battle to make the 15-man roster. He may end up back in the G League for the ’17/18 season.

USA Basketball Announces AmeriCup Roster

After taking 17 players to training camp, USA Basketball has narrowed that group down to 12 players for its official AmeriCup roster, the program announced in a press release. The players representing Team USA in next week’s AmeriCup tournament will be as follows:

The five players who missed the cut for the final roster were Rod Benson, Will Davis II, Ra’Shad James, Darius Morris, and Derek Willis.

“All 17 guys that came to camp in Houston had a strong case that they could have made that they should have been selected, but unfortunately, we could only take 12,” said U.S. coach Jeff Van Gundy. “It was very, very difficult getting down to that number, but we feel very happy with the guys that we have selected. We feel we have positional versatility, we have a good balance between size and quickness, so it will be interesting for us to go to Uruguay and see what we can do.”

As we detailed in an earlier story, FIBA has changed its format for qualifying for marquee events like the World Cup and the Olympics, and many of the qualifier tournaments will now take place during the NBA season. For those events, Team USA intends to primarily use players who have been spending time overseas and in the G League, with the bigger-name players taking over for the main events in 2019 and 2020.

Team USA doesn’t need to win the AmeriCup to qualify for the next World Cup and Olympics, but it’s a tournament the U.S. must participate in to eventually play in more crucial events. Van Gundy’s squad will participate in preliminary round games in Uruguay starting next Monday. If Team USA wins its group – which also includes Panama, the Dominican Republic, and host Uruguay – it would advance to the semifinals in Argentina in early September.

The program won’t face real pressure to win until November, when Team USA need a top-three finish in a pool that includes Puerto Rico, Mexico, and Cuba in order to start advancing to later qualifiers. For more in-depth details on how those qualifiers work, be sure to check out FIBA’s breakdowns for the 2019 World Cup and the 2020 Olympics.