J.J. Redick

Clippers Notes: Griffin, Paul, Redick

Blake Griffin, who was ruled out for the remainder of the postseason with a toe injury, can become a free agent this summer, but he may not have many teams lining up to give him a long-term max deal, Kevin O’ Connor of The Ringer contends. O’Connor details Griffin’s injury history, which includes several ailments on each of his legs, and believes it will cause rival teams to be cautious when making the big man a multi-year offer in free agency. Griffin could always elect not to activate his ETO and stay with the Clippers, though the $21.4MM he would receive in the 2017/18 season is less than the annual salary he’s likely to receive on the open market.

Here’s more from Los Angeles:

  • The window to trade Griffin closed over a season ago and the Clippers missed their chance at getting value for him, O’Connor notes in the same piece. The scribe argues that if GM Doc Rivers had pulled the trigger years ago, the team would have much more depth today and players such as Paul Pierce and Raymond Felton wouldn’t be soaking up significant playoff minutes.
  • Chris Paul is expected to re-sign with the Clippers, but O’Connor (same piece) wonders if the team should be worried about Paul finding a more attractive option in free agency. He speculates that the Spurs could be a threat should the franchise open up the necessary cap space to give Paul a maximum-salary contract.
  • Sam Amick of USA Today (video link) isn’t sure owner Steve Ballmer is going to sign off on paying luxury tax payments again for a team that doesn’t have a clear path at a championship. In addition to Paul and Griffin searching for max deals this summer, J.J. Redick will be a free agent and Amick estimates that the Duke product will warrant a deal that pays him $18MM per year.

Pacific Notes: McGee, Kings, Redick, Rivers

Draymond Green played a crucial role in the Warriors’ decision to sign journeyman center JaVale McGee last summer, as Sam Amick of USA Today explains. They share the same agent, B.J. Armstrong of Wasserman, and Green lobbied GM Bob Myers to give McGee a chance. McGee, who appeared in just 62 games over the previous four seasons, signed a contract for less then $1MM and has emerged as a valuable role player. “I didn’t know him that well at all, but you [could] see some of the skills that a guy has and see that, alright that could possibly fit in,” Green told Amick. “Being that he’s super athletic, he offered something that we didn’t have.” McGee will re-enter the free agent market this summer and should be in greater demand.

In other news around the Pacific Division:

  • The Kings have hired Luke Bornn as their VP of Analytics and Strategy, James Ham of NBC Sports California reports. Bornn, 31, was working for soccer’s A.S. Roma. “We’ll be looking at more advanced modeling tools often with the player tracking data to try and get a deeper understanding of player performance,” Bornn told Ham. Roland Beech, the team’s previous analytics guru, left the organization earlier this week.
  • Clippers shooting guard J.J. Redick has gotten off just 13 shots in the first two games of the playoffs, but coach Doc Rivers appreciates his unselfish approach, according to Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times. Redick has scored 11 points in the series under heavy defensive pressure but the team hopes to get him more involved in Game 3 on Friday, Turner adds. “Sometimes in certain games and series, you have to give yourself up to get the team stuff,” Rivers told the assembled media on Thursday. “J.J. has been terrific with that. He’s going to get his shot eventually.”
  • Clippers guard Austin Rivers will miss Game 3 with a strained left hamstring but remains hopeful of returning for Game 4, Turner reports in a separate story. Rivers has not played the last eight games, including the final six of the regular season.

Doc Rivers Hoping To Retain Clippers’ Core

The Clippers are down 1-0 to the Jazz in their first round playoff series, and there has been speculation that if L.A. can’t get by Utah, a significant roster overhaul could be around the corner. However, head coach and president of basketball operations Doc Rivers tells Sam Amick of USA Today that he’d like to keep the Clippers’ core intact, even with Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and J.J. Redick facing potential unrestricted free agency.

“Here’s my argument to (the question of the roster will be worth going deeper into the tax to keep intact),” Rivers said. “Let’s say we don’t win this year — which I think we will, (but) let’s say we don’t. Do you give up on a 50-win team that has proven that they’re really close, or do you hang in there and keep trying to maybe make changes around (the core)?

“I always use Utah as a great (example). Thank God Karl Malone and (John) Stockton didn’t listen to people, you know what I mean? They fell (in the playoffs), and kept trying and kept trying. And finally, late in their careers, they finally broke through to the Finals. They didn’t win it (all). But you know, that’s the pursuit. I just think it’s so easy to (say), ‘Hey, they should break up,’ from the outside. And I think that’s such an easy opinion.”

As we noted this week, the Clippers were one of two teams to finish the 2016/17 in luxury tax territory, and that was with Paul, Griffin, and Redick on their old deals. The trio combined to earn about $50MM this season, but that number could increase beyond $65MM in 2017/18 for CP3 and Griffin alone, without even taking into consideration a raise for Redick as well. In total, Amick estimates that the Clippers’ team salary could increase to the $140MM range if they bring everyone back, which would mean a tax bill of more than $55MM.

Even though Rivers is the GM in Los Angeles, team owner Steve Ballmer will have the final say on roster moves if they significantly increase the money he’ll owe his players in the coming years, as Amick observes. And if the Clippers don’t make a deep playoff run this spring, there’s no guarantee that Rivers and Ballmer will see eye to eye on the team’s strategy going forward, despite the trust that the franchise’s owner has in his head coach.

A new long-term deal for Paul appears likely, but the Clippers will face some interesting decisions in the next few months, and will be a team worth watching this summer.

Mavs Notes: Curry, Noel, Hammons, Harris, Cuban

On the heels of a 33-49 season, the Mavericks will focus on improving their roster via free agency and the draft. Eddie Sefko of Dallas Morning News suggested two veteran FAs to provide an immediate boost: Serge Ibaka and J.J. Redick. Sefko explains that Ibaka is a “big-time rebounder” who is still relatively young, while Redick would help shore up the team’s mediocre shooting.

Sefko cautions against hoping for a point guard improvement through the draft. Unless the Mavs “get lucky” and secure one of the top two picks, they’re unlikely to obtain a top-shelf guard. In the event Dallas winds up with the 8, 9, or 10 pick, Sefko cites Jonathan Isaac, Miles Bridges, and Lauri Markkanen as potential fits.

More from Dallas…

  • Seth Curry, who missed the season’s final seven games due to a left shoulder injury, hopes to avoid undergoing surgery over the offseason. “It’s still a possibility, but I don’t think it’s necessary at this point,” Curry told Tim MacMahon of ESPN.
  • Former Purdue Boilermaker A.J. Hammons got his feet wet in the NBA this past season, scoring 43 points with 36 rebounds over 22 games. While Hammons’ contract is guaranteed over the next two seasons, Eddie Sefko of Dallas Morning News is skeptical of his role on the team in 2017/18. “I like the big guy, but I haven’t seen a passion for wanting to improve,” Sefko writes. “He loves to sit out there and launch jump shots. But I think his calling in this league has to be as a strong rebounder and rim protector. My bottom line: doubtful that he is here next season.”
  • While he appears set to enter the market as a restricted free agent, Nerlens Noel‘s recent remarks to Brad Townsend of Dallas Morning News imply he’d like another season in Dallas. “I love Dallas,” Noel said. “In my short time here, I’ve really enjoyed it. With the pieces that we have, and the opportunities we’ll be seeing in the near-future, I think there’s a lot to be excited for.” 
  • While Devin Harris isn’t a lock to start next season with Dallas, one thing is certain: the 34-year-old isn’t retiring. “Definitely not retiring,” Harris told Adam Grosbard of Dallas Morning News. The Mavs are unsure whether they will exercise Harris’ $4.4MM option for 2017/18. Harris averaged 16/7 minutes in 2016/17; the lowest total since his rookie season. “Ball’s in their court. I just let the chips fall where they may and try to make the best decision possible with the information that I have.”
  • In a 109-91 loss to the Nuggets- the Mavs’ penultimate game of the season- coach Rick Carlisle gave six players 25-years-old or younger significant playing time. Mark Cuban spoke to Adam Grosbard of Dallas Morning News, explaining the strategy of giving younger players minutes down the stretch. “When we were playing for it, we obviously had some bad games but it’s obvious our young guys are getting better. And that’s all you can ask for,” Cuban said. Dirk Nowtizki seconded Cuban’s remarks, adding “It’s been fun to watch these kids.”

Could Doc Rivers Be Headed To Orlando?

6:03pm: Rivers is trying to quell rumors that he might go to Orlando, tweets Brad Turner of The Los Angeles Times. Speaking with reporters before tonight’s game, Rivers insisted that he has “no future” with the Magic.

5:15pm: League insiders are discussing the possibility that Clippers coach/executive Doc Rivers could take a similar role in Orlando, writes Marc Stein of ESPN.com.

The theory, according to Stein, starts with the likelihood that Rob Hennigan will be fired as Magic GM at the end of the season. Add in the upcoming free agency for Clippers stars Chris Paul and Blake Griffin and there’s a possibility that changes are coming in L.A.

Stein hints that the Clippers could be broken up if they fail to reach the conference finals, something the team hasn’t done in the six years Paul and Griffin have been together. If those changes include a coaching move, then Rivers, whose contract as coach and president of basketball operations runs through 2018/19, would become available for Orlando.

If that scenario happens, it would mark a homecoming for Rivers, who started his coaching career with the Magic in 1999.

It’s not clear if Orlando is ready to dismiss current coach Frank Vogel, who was given a four-year contract last summer. Stein says Hennigan’s trade of Serge Ibaka to Toronto last month was an admission that the roster was overstocked with big men, and it appeared to absolve Vogel of blame for a disappointing season.

If Vogel remains, the Magic will consider former Orlando player Pat Garrity to replace Hennigan. Garrity currently serves as associate GM with the Pistons.

Another possibility for the Clippers, Stein notes, is to request that Rivers give up his front office duties and concentrate on coaching. If that happens, the team may reach out to Bob Whitsitt, a former executive with the SuperSonics and Trail Blazers who has close ties to Clippers owner Steve Ballmer.

Stein also says to watch for the possible departure of L.A. shooting guard J.J. Redick in free agency this summer. Redick complained publicly about the organization this week and may become too expensive for the Clippers to re-sign.

Deveney’s Latest: Griffin, CP3, Lowry, Wade

The Clippers delayed the inevitable, opting not to address their cap room situation at the trade deadline and instead leaving it to the summer. Sean Deveney of The Sporting News writes that head coach Doc Rivers and president of basketball operations would have been wise to do something with either Jamal Crawford or Austin Rivers, who will be owed $26MM in 2017/18.

When the free agency period begins this summer, the Clippers will have the tough task of re-signing Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and J.J. Redick. To do so comfortably, they would need to find a way to save money elsewhere. Paul, Deveney writes, could land a deal worth nearly $210MM over five years and isn’t likely to give the franchise a hometown discount.

Of note is that Deveney suggests that the Clippers may not automatically bring back Griffin on such a contract. He writes that if the team doesn’t make progress in the postseason this spring, they may be remiss to invest so much in their oft-injured big man.

Regardless of how the summer transactions play out for the Clippers, they could have been simplified had Rivers opted to address the problem mid-season rather than electing to kick the can further down the road.

There’s more from Deveney:

  • The Lakers, Sixers and Nuggets could all make a play for Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry this summer. The veteran playmaker will be due for a significant pay raise after establishing himself as an All-Star and a core component of a winning basketball club. Lowry considered the Lakers in 2014, Deveney writes, and could be partial to returning to his hometown of Philadelphia as well.
  • Consider the Nuggets among the frontrunners to pursue Dwyane Wade aggressively should he opt out of the final year of his deal with the Bulls. Though Chicago has been winning recently, the season has been a frustrating one for the organization. Deveney also mentions the Bucks as a possible landing spot because Wade’s alma matter, Marquette, is in Milwaukee.
  • The Mavericks have made it clear to newly acquired big man Nerlens Noel that they will meet any offer that the restricted free agent signs with other teams, Deveney says. The Mavs were able to get Noel relatively cheap from the Sixers and it appears they’re eager to factor him into their long-term plans.
  • The Wizards are intent on keeping forward Otto Porter in Washington, Deveney writes, even as the suddenly hot 23-year-old commodity, gets pursued by other teams like the Suns and Nets, as expected. As the pool of suitors grows, Porter’s price tag could approach max territory.

Kyler’s Latest: CP3, Holiday, Lowry, G. Hill, Gibson

Chris Paul and the Clippers essentially have a verbal agreement in place for a new contract this summer, sources close to the process tell Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders. Although the star point guard is technically eligible for an extension now, he can get a longer-term – and more lucrative – deal by re-signing with the club in July.

A verbal agreement isn’t binding, so things could change between now and July, but Paul has always been viewed as likely to remain in Los Angeles. As Kyler notes, the 31-year-old will be eligible to sign a new five-year contract worth more than $200MM this offseason, so as long as the Clippers are willing to put that offer on the table – and it seems they are – there’s virtually no chance of CP3 changing teams.

Kyler’s latest Basketball Insiders piece also features several other interesting tidbits related to players on expiring contracts, so let’s round up a few of the highlights…

  • Other free agent point guards who are strong bets to re-sign with their current teams: Stephen Curry (Warriors), Jrue Holiday (Pelicans), and Kyle Lowry (Raptors). According to Kyler, New Orleans is prepared to offer Holiday the max, or something close to it, while Toronto is willing to make a similar offer to Lowry, as long as he wants to remain with the team.
  • Like Paul, teammates Blake Griffin and J.J. Redick are viewed as highly likely to re-sign with the Clippers this summer, per Kyler. The Thunder were mentioned at one point as a potential suitor for Griffin, but OKC has since added a ton of salary to its 2017/18 books, and Kyler suggests that Griffin was never all that interest in returning to Oklahoma, where he played his college ball.
  • Sources close to the George Hill situation say the point guard is very happy in Utah. There’s mutual interest in a new deal this offseason between Hill and the Jazz, but it remains to be seen how high the team will be willing to go with its offer, Kyler writes.
  • According to Kyler, the Bulls are interested in re-signing free-agent-to-be Taj Gibson, but there’s a belief that he’ll want to explore other options in free agency, which makes Chicago’s decision this week a little trickier — the club won’t want to risk losing him for nothing.
  • Although Derrick Rose is viewed as very available, his contract will make it difficult to move him, since the Knicks want to maintain cap flexibility, says Kyler.
  • For a few more notes on players with expiring contracts, be sure to check out Kyler’s full piece.

Knicks, Clippers Seeking Third Trade Partner?

7:50 pm: Sam Amick of USA Today reports that J.J. Redick is not believed to be involved in any trade talks (Twitter link). If Redick is out of the mix, talks figure to focus on Austin Rivers and a potential third team.

5:47 pm: The Knicks and Clippers are looking for a third team to complete a potential Carmelo Anthony trade, according to Ramona Shelburne and Marc Stein of ESPN. One of three players in the NBA with a no-trade clause, Anthony has been linked to the Clippers, Celtics, and Cavaliers over the past week.

The Knicks’ most substantive Anthony trade discussions have come with the Clippers, Shelburne and Stein note, after the Cavaliers rebuffed a Kevin Love-for-Anthony swap. None of the Clippers’ big three – Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan – would be available via trade, and with the recent injury to Paul, the team would be hesitant to deal any of their healthy guards.

Various factors have contributed to the search for a third trade partner. If Jamal Crawford were to be involved in a trade, the Knicks wouldn’t want to absorb the three years and $42MM left on his contract after 2016/17. What’s more, Anthony’s 15% trade kicker would be difficult for Los Angeles to accommodate, since the team is nearing its hard cap.

The market has been slow for Anthony, sources tell Shelburne and Stein, in large part due to the limited number of teams Anthony would be willing to join via trade. Anthony, who has two years and $53MM left on his contract after this season, recently conceded to Al Iannazzone of Newsday that he’d consider leaving New York under the right circumstances.

If the Clippers were to make a deal, Austin Rivers may need to be included, and head coach Doc Rivers told Rachel Nichols of ESPN that he’d be willing trade his son if need be. “If you think you can make your team better, you make your team better,” Rivers said. “That’s my job. Listen, I would trade anyone. You have to be willing to do that, so – and he would be one of them, and any of them would be one. But I don’t want to trade any of our guys. I like our team.”

Austin Rivers Could Go If Clippers Trade For Carmelo

Combo guard Austin Rivers has been discussed in trade talks between the Knicks and Clippers regarding Carmelo Anthony, an NBA executive told Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times.

The Clippers have emerged as a potential landing spot for Anthony but are apparently unwilling to part with any of their Big Three — Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan — to facilitate a trade.

The Knicks are known to think very favorably of Rivers, according to Sam Amick of USA Today, as they made a push to sign him during free agency, Bill Oram of the Orange County Register notes.

The son of coach Doc Rivers is enjoying a career year and his production has jumped since he joined the starting lineup. Rivers is averaging 17.7 PPG, 3.9 APG and 2.8 RPG over the last 14 games. He signed a three-year contract this summer to rejoin the Clippers with a starting salary of $11MM.

That alone won’t be nearly enough to match up salaries, as Anthony is making $24.6MM this season. Jamal Crawford, who is making $13.25MM, has also had his name tossed into trade discussions, according to Turner. J.J. Redick, who is making $7.38MM, is another logical candidate in potential trade scenarios, Amick adds.

Of course, Anthony would have to waive his no-trade clause to make any deal come to fruition.

One unnamed GM believes it will happen, telling Sam Amico of AmicoHoops.net, “I’m betting he is playing next to Blake, Chris Paul and DeAndre right after (trade) deadline.” (Twitter link).

Clippers Notes: Griffin, Rivers, Paul, Mavericks

The Clippers are hoping Blake Griffin will be able to play during their upcoming road trip, according to Dan Woike of The Orange County Register. The star forward has been sidelined since undergoing surgery in December to clear some “loose bodies” in his right knee. Griffin underwent stress tests on the knee Thursday and is expected to participate in some contact work today. The team is hoping he will be medically cleared for game action during the five-game trip, which extends through February 1st.

There’s more Clippers news out of Los Angeles:

  • Coach Doc Rivers suspected a problem with Griffin’s knee when he noticed the All-Star forward wasn’t getting past defenders as easily as he normally does. Rivers told Rowan Kavner of NBA.com that Griffin is starting to regain that ability again. “He looks great,” the coach said. “I don’t think the timeframe has changed. I know he feels wonderful. He looks like he’s explosive again.”
  • Rivers is planning to use several players to make up for the loss of Chris Paul, who will be out six to eight weeks following thumb surgery, Woike writes in a separate story. That means increased minutes for Raymond Felton, Jamal Crawford, J.J. Redick and possibly Austin Rivers. “It’s still next man up,” Doc Rivers said. “You take the top two players from any team, it makes it harder, but I don’t agree that it means that you struggle. You lose two guys, there’s nothing you can do about it. I think our guys have handled it well.”
  • The Mavericks have a surplus of point guards who might interest the Clippers, suggests Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News. Dallas could offer Deron Williams, who will be a free agent after this season, Devin Harris, who is signed for one more year at a little more than $4.4MM, or J.J. Barea, who has two seasons left at about $3.9MM and $3.7MM.
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