Cody Toppert

Pacific Notes: Clippers, Thompson, Looney, Toppert

The Clippers are hoping to meet with impending star free agent Kawhi Leonard once he hits the open market, but the team has started to consider other options in case he chooses to sign a new contract elsewhere, according to Joe Vardon of The Athletic.

Leonard is currently in the midst of a historic playoff run with Toronto, one that may persuade him to re-sign with the franchise if the Raptors can seal the deal and win their first ever NBA championship.

Los Angeles has long been linked to Leonard and would have the cap space to ink him on a multi-year, maximum-salary deal if he chooses to leave Toronto. However, sources told Vardon that the Clippers have recently spent most of their time during offseason meetings discussing scenarios in which Leonard doesn’t choose to sign with the team.

Leonard, an L.A. native, listed the Clippers as one of his preferred trade destinations before being moved from San Antonio to Toronto last offseason. The Clippers could also choose to pursue Warriors forward Kevin Durant, Celtics guard Kyrie Irving or other stars on the open market, including forward Anthony Davis in a potential trade with the Pelicans.

There’s more from the Pacific Division tonight:

  • Warriors guard Klay Thompson said he was roughly 80% healthy when he played in Game 4 on Friday, Matt Schneidman of The Mercury News tweets. As of Sunday, Thompson said he felt around 90% and hopes to be closer to 100% for Monday’s important Game 5.
  • Kevon Looney felt “fine” after making his surprise return to Game 4, Warriors coach Steve Kerr said, according to Mark Medina of The Mercury News (Twitter link). Looney returned for his team five days after suffering a costal cartilage fracture, displaying his toughness and willingness to sacrifice. He finished with 10 points, six rebounds and one assist in 20 minutes of work.
  • Former Suns assistant coach Cody Toppert has reached an agreement to join the Memphis Tigers as an assistant, according to The Athletic’s Michael Scotto (Twitter link). Topper will coach under NBA legend Penny Hardaway, who was hired by the University of Memphis last year. Toppert registered interest from multiple NBA teams but was sold most on Hardaway’s vision for his program, Scotto notes.

Suns Rumors: Bridges, Free Agency, Coaches, Williams

The addition of Mikal Bridges gives the Suns a logjam at the forward spots and they still need to address their point guard situation, Scott Bordow of the Arizona Republic writes.

After the draft-night trade with the Sixers to acquire Bridges’ rights, the Suns now have five recent first-rounders – Josh JacksonT.J. WarrenDragan Bender and Marquese Chriss being the others – angling for playing time in the frontcourt. GM Ryan McDonough said he might add a stretch four in free agency, Bordow continues, so they could use that depth in a trade, with Chriss and Warren the most likely to be dealt.

Despite selecting Frenchman Elie Okobo with the first pick of the second round, the Suns still need another veteran at that spot, and McDonough confirmed they could pursue a floor leader in free agency, Bordow adds.

We have more on the Suns:

  • The Suns consider Bridges a “special player” and that’s why they were willing to deal the No. 16 pick and the Heat’s unprotected 2021 first-rounder for him, Bob Baum of the Associated Press reports. ‘‘We weighed the pros and cons of trading it heavily and carefully,” McDonough said. ”We were only going to put it in play if we had a chance to get a special player and that’s how we feel about Mikal.”
  • With $15-$20MM available to pursue free agents, the Suns will be proactive in free agency, Baum adds in the same piece. ‘We’re going to continue to be aggressive for the next couple of weeks in free agency,” McDonough said. “We’ve got some money to spend and we’re looking to spend it on the best players we can get.”
  • Joe Prunty, Corliss Williamson, Jamelle McMillan, Jason Staudt and Cody Toppert have officially signed up as assistants for new head coach Igor Kokoskov, Bordow tweets.
  • It’s hard to imagine the Suns will retain center Alan Williams on his current deal, Bordow adds in another tweet. Williams, whose $5.52MM salary is not guaranteed, would get a full guarantee if he’s still on the roster through July 6. He’d be a third-string center behind Deandre Ayton and Tyson Chandler if he sticks.