Doc Rivers

Pacific Notes: Jackson, Jordan, Clippers

A difficult string of games in which the Suns were noticeably better without Josh Jackson than with him precipitated a change in his relationship with head coach Jay Triano. Now, Scott Bordow of the Arizona Republic writes, the first-year forward has started to regain the coaching staff’s trust.

When Triano told Jackson that he was losing his confidence in him, he asked the player what he might suggest to repair the situation. Since then, the two have watched film of Suns games.

[Jackson suggested they watch film of Suns games] just to see what [Triano] sees,” Jackson said. “Sometimes, two people look at the same play and see two totally different things. He has a basketball mind and he’s really smart, so just trying to see what he sees and trying to pick his brain a little bit.

In the three games since, Jackson has averaged 14 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game for the Suns, shooting an impressive .486 from the field and .556 from three.

There’s more from the Pacific Division this afternoon:

  • The Clippers were treated to some good news on Thursday when it was revealed that Blake Griffin could return to action following a concussion and Milos Teodosic after another bout of plantar fascia issues ( report). Of course, in true Clippers fashion, DeAndre Jordan sprained his ankle hours later and had to leave the match (ESPN report).
  • The NBA fined Warriors forward Draymond Green $25K for comments critical of officials on Saturday, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets. The Dubs took down the Clippers that night.
  • Clippers head coach Doc Rivers thinks that NBA players seem to get injured more often than they used to because they’re not playing basketball enough. Per Elliott Teaford of the Orange County Register, Rivers posits that players do more things outside of the sport these days and that consistently reliable Jamal Crawford is one example of a guy that is constantly playing the game outside of his professional commitment.

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.

Clippers Coach Doc Rivers’ Job Seems Safe

Clippers coach Doc Rivers will likely hold onto his job the remainder of the season, multiple sources told USA Today’s Sam Amick. Owner Steve Ballmer feels the team’s rash of injuries has made it difficult to judge Rivers’ performance this season, Amick continues. The team’s top player, power forward Blake Griffin, is out at least a month with an MCL sprain. Point guard Patrick Beverley underwent season-ending knee surgery, while newcomers Milos Teodosic and Danilo Gallinari have barely played because of ailments. “You’ve just got to hang in there,” Rivers told Amick. “People get down on the team. They get down on you. They get down on everybody. That’s what happens, and you can’t waver. You’ve just got to keep doing your job, and the players have to just keep playing.”

Other notable items from Amick’s story:

  • The club is taking calls on center DeAndre Jordan but not actively shopping him. Jordan is expected to opt of the final year of his contract next summer, leaving $24.1MM on the table. The front office believes it can re-sign him, so they’re asking price for any potential deal is high. The market could heat up on December 15th, when many players who signed new contracts last summer are eligible to be dealt. Jordan hired an agent on Monday, which could facilitate trade talks.
  • The team remains committed to building around Griffin, who re-signed with them over the summer. Griffin doesn’t have an opt-out on his massive five-year, $171.1MM deal until the summer of 2021.
  • Productive role players, such as guard Lou Williams, could be dealt for draft picks. The team still has its first-rounder in June but dealt away its 2019 pick.

Clippers Notes: Rivers, Gallinari, Teodosic

While speculation about Doc Rivers‘ job security has subsided somewhat since the team snapped its nine-game losing streak last week, Rivers was asked about it today, and suggested it’s “so easy” to become a target when your team gets hit by injuries and losses start piling up (Twitter link via Arash Markazi of ESPN).

“There’s nothing much I can do about it though,” Rivers said (Twitter link via Markazi). “It’s different than it was 15 years ago. Now people want to place blame right away. Blame me, blame whatever. It’s the way it’s going to work. Who cares? That doesn’t bother me at all. I don’t read it anyway.”

As the Clips prepare for Thursday’s game against Utah, here are a few more notes on the club:

  • While online observers are pushing for the Clippers to undergo a rebuild, that means next to nothing to Rivers, as Markazi tweets. “The day I start answering the internet people is the day I’m an internet person,” Rivers said. “That’s not going to happen. I don’t listen to all that stuff. We’re going to do what’s best for the franchise.”
  • In a piece for The Vertical, Michael Lee makes a case for why Blake Griffin‘s latest injury should have the Clippers mulling the possibility of a drastic move.
  • Although the Clippers are expected to be without Griffin until January, two other injured players – Danilo Gallinari and Milos Teodosic – are making progress and should be back on the court within the next five or 10 games, per Markazi (Twitter link).
  • On a scale of 1 to 10, the Clippers’ panic level should be at about a 7, according to Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN.

Clippers Notes: Jordan, Rivers, Beverley

As the Clippers descend in the Western Conference standings, center DeAndre Jordan‘s name has become prominent in trade talks. Jordan could hit free agency after this season as he holds a $24MM player option on the original four-year, $88MM pact he signed with the Clippers in 2015.

Any team interested in acquiring Jordan could have difficulty gauging his desire to commit long-term, however, because the 6’11” center is not represented by an agent (per ESPN’s Bobby Marks on Twitter).

Per Marks, it will be hard to do any “backchanneling to see if [Jordan] is a short-term rental or would commit long-term.”

Jordan, 29, is averaging his fewest PPG (10.0) since the 2012/13 season but remains a force on the glass (13.7 RPG) and on defense (1.1 BPG). The Clippers currently hold the 10th seed in the Western Conference with an 8-11 record; the team recently snapped a nine-game skid and is dealing with injuries to Patrick Beverley (knee), Blake Griffin (MCL sprain), Danilo Gallinari (glute) and Milos Teodosic (foot).

The injuries could force a teardown and Jordan would likely be one of the first players traded. However, the All-Star recently told Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report that he is focused on being there for his current team despite the poor play and injuries.

“It’s definitely tough, but I can’t give up on my teammates,” Jordan said. “I’ve got to stay positive, and hopefully it will turn around.”

Check out other news surrounding the Clippers below:

  • The aforementioned Beverley is expected to miss the rest of the season after undergoing surgery and the Clippers are still reeling from the news, Elliot Teaford of the Orange County Register writes. “You can’t feel sorry for yourself, ever, ever,” head coach Doc Rivers said. “Before the game in Atlanta, I told our guys, ‘I know millions of guys who would trade places right now. Right now, on your worst day, they would trade. So, there’s a lot to be thankful for. You’ve got to keep plugging away.’”
  • Rivers admitted that his fifth season as head coach of the Clippers has been his most challenging, Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times writes. However, the former NBA Finals-winning coach said his team still needs to play hard. “I’ve gone through far worse as a coach. … With this group right now, let’s get healthy and let’s see what we’ve got,” Rivers said. “But I love coaching the young guys, too. It’s nice that they get to play.”

Community Shootaround: Doc Rivers’ Job Security

After winning their first four games to open the season, the Clippers looked more than capable of holding their own in the first year of the post-Chris Paul era. However, the club’s fortunes have taken a sharp downward turn since then. After a blowout loss in New York on Monday night, the Clippers have now slipped to 5-11, losing nine straight contests and 11 of their last 12.

There are a few factors contributing to the Clippers’ struggles. The team has been hit hard by injuries, with key players like Danilo Gallinari, Patrick Beverley, and Milos Teodosic missing time so far this season. And the club’s schedule hasn’t exactly been soft during the current nine-game losing streak — the Spurs, Cavaliers, and Thunder are among the teams that have beaten L.A. during that stretch, and six of the Clips’ last seven games have been on the road.

Still, there have been some bad losses for the Clippers this month, with Monday’s representing the latest. After cutting the Knicks’ lead to two points midway through the third quarter, the Clippers surrendered a 12-0 run and never recovered, with head coach Doc Rivers suggesting that run took the team’s “spirit” away.

“When you lose nine games in a row, you’re in a losing streak, you start feeling sorry for yourself when things don’t go right and you can’t do that,” Rivers said.

Following the game, Marc Stein of The New York Times stopped short of saying that Rivers is on the hot seat, but he did tweet that Rivers will “inevitably” begin to face “hot-seat scrutiny.” After years of falling short in the playoffs with those CP3-led squads, the Clippers entered the season hopeful that Rivers could alter the team’s approach and get the most out of the new-look roster. So far, that hasn’t happened.

While it’s probably too early for the Clippers to make a change, it’s still worth a discussion. Rivers had his president of basketball operations title removed this past summer, and is now simply the team’s head coach. His contract is a lucrative one, but it reportedly only runs through the 2018/19 season, so the Clippers wouldn’t be on the hook for several years worth of salary if they were to replace him.

What do you think? Is it time for the Clippers to make a head coaching change, or at least to seriously consider one? Or has Rivers’ résumé earned him the right to receive every opportunity to right the ship in Los Angeles? Jump into our comment section below to weigh in!

Pacific Notes: Curry, Rivers, Bledsoe

Five years ago, Stephen Curry signed a four-year, $44MM extension with the Warriors. Two NBA Most Valuable Player awards and two NBA championships later, that contract turned out to be a mammoth bargain. However, when Curry originally signed the deal on Halloween 2012, the risk was all on the Warriors, Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic writes.

Before Curry’s mantle was stuffed with MVP trophies and NBA championship rings, he was known as a potentially prolific shooter with troublesome ankles. He missed 56 games with ankle injuries in 2011/12 and tweaked his ankle once again during the 2012/13 preseason. However, before Curry and his representation agreed to the $44MM extension, the Warriors told Curry’s agent Jeff Austin that the team would be willing to offer a max deal in free agency that summer.

“They said if he was healthy at the end of the season, they set aside the max money for him,” Austin said. “The Warriors were terrific the whole process. They told him if he could stay healthy, he would get the max.”

Curry’s team-friendly deal paved the way for Golden State to add players such as Andre Iguodala and last season, Kevin Durant. It also allowed the team the financial flexibility to retain Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. The Warriors signed Curry to a supermax deal worth over $201MM this offseason and the team is primed to reach their fourth consecutive NBA Finals.

Below you can find other news from the Pacific Division:

  • Clippers head coach Doc Rivers is not a fan of the NBA’s advanced statistics, most notably pace, Elliot Teaford of The Orange County Register writes. There seems to be a discrepancy in Rivers’ interpretation of pace (having players move efficiently on the court) versus the NBA’s definition (number of possessions per game).
  • John Wall understands the predicament his former Kentucky teammate, Eric Bledsoe, is in with the Suns, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington writes. “Eric’s situation was that they had some great pieces and some great teams. [Markieff Morris] was with him over there. They had a season where they almost made the playoffs with 48 wins and they didn’t make it.” Wall said. “He’s going into his eighth year and he hasn’t made the playoffs [since 2013]. The team is getting younger and younger and he wants to get out of there and get to a team where he can make the playoffs.”

Pacific Notes: Green, Kings, Clippers

The results from Draymond Green‘s MRI have come back negative, Chris Haynes of ESPN writes. The Warriors forward injured his knee in Tuesday’s season opener, missing the entire fourth quarter.

While it’s likely Green misses time as a result of the injury that had him limping in the team’s first game, the good news for the Warriors is that there was no structural damage that would necessitate a longer absence.

In 76 games for the Warriors last season, Green averaged 10.2 points, 7.9 rebounds and 7.0 assists. If Golden State is going to survive an even stronger Western Conference than last year’s they’ll need to do it at full health.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

Central Notes: Pistons, SVG, Bullock, Bucks, Kidd

In the wake of Clippers head coach Doc Rivers surrendering his front office power, Tom Ziller of SB Nation writes that Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy should do the same.

In the piece, Ziller praises Rivers for giving up the power of possessing dual roles as someone who has been so famous and successful. Rivers quietly accepted a demotion and seems to have handled the transition in stride. Earlier this offseason, Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer was also stripped of his front office power with the team installing GM Travis Schlenk above him in the decision-making hierarchy.

Ziller goes on to write that Van Gundy’s 2016/17 team was extremely disappointing and comprised mostly Van Gundy acquisitions. SVG previously traded for Reggie Jackson and paid him a tremendous amount and drafted Stanley Johnson in the lottery. Both players have been monumental disappointments. Ziller argues that while Van Gundy is a talented coach, “someone else needs to be in the seat of power when it comes to roster.”

Here’s what else you should know from the Central division:

  • Pistons wing Stanley Johnson, who underwhelmed in 2016/17, lies at the heart of SVG’s vision for the team to be elite on defense, writes Keith Langois of Detroit spent most of last season as a top-10 defensive squad before finishing the season at No. 11. Van Gundy said: “I think now we have a chance to become an elite defensive team and Stanley’s a huge part of that. And then I think it’s for him to really find his offensive game and it takes some guys some time. Whether he’s starting or coming off the bench, his primary role will be to guard the best forward or a big two guard every night. Avery (Bradley) will take on the challenge of guarding the best guard every night and then Andre (Drummond) will take on more responsibility as a defender and that’s our way to becoming an elite defensive team.”
  • The Pistons will feature Reggie Bullock for a more prominent role this upcoming season, Ansar Khan of writes. In limited minutes in two seasons, Bullock has been the team’s best deep shooter, drilling 39.7% of his three-point attempts. Van Gundy is also high on Bullock for other reasons: “A lot of people focus on Reggie’s shooting, which is very good, but to me it’s more the way he plays the game. The ball moves when he’s out there, he makes quick decisions, he moves very well without the ball, he helps other people play well. And at the other end he defends, so he’s a two-way player who helps your team function at both ends of the floor. We’re looking forward to having Reggie back, healthier than he’s been, hopefully, and available for a lot more action because he has helped us play very well.”
  • The pressure is on for head coach Jason Kidd and his Bucks, writes James Blancarte of Basketball Insiders. With many Eastern Conference teams taking significant steps backward this offseason, the athletic and upstart Bucks carry lofty expectations entering the 2017/18 season. For a detailed look at why so much is expected of Kidd and the Bucks this coming season, I highly recommend reading Blancarte’s piece.

L.A. Notes: Rivers, Clippers, Maggette, Lakers

After Friday’s announcement that Doc Rivers will surrender his front office role to solely focus on coaching, it was the crescendo to a tumultuous dual role for the NBA champion coach, Bill Oram of The Orange County Register writes.

Rivers, for four seasons, was tasked with both assembling a quality roster and then leading it to success on the court. As Oram writes, despite winning 50+ games each year with Rivers at the helm, the Clippers failed to advance past the first round of the playoffs. So, while Rivers is often viewed as one of the NBA’s elite head coaches, his career in the front office is “spotty,” Oram adds.

“Given final say on personnel moves, something Rivers coveted and chased all the way across the country to L.A., the career coach struggled annually to find the right mix of role players,” Oram writes about the man who led the 2007/08 Celtics to the NBA championship.

Despite the controversy that came with it, Rivers’ acquisition of his son, Austin Rivers, was a good move that yielded a quality role player for a team filled with superstar talent. Besides that, the obvious turmoil within the team became obvious, highlight by notable departures of J.J. Redick and Chris Paul this offseason. While Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan remain with the team, the direction of the Clippers with Lawrence Frank assuming Rivers’ former role and it will take a while before a prognosis on that move is available.

Read more about news surrounding the Los Angeles teams:

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