Jason Preston

Pacific Notes: Preston, Westbrook, Booker, Mann

Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue expressed confidence that rookie guard Jason Preston will succeed once he gets past his rehab, Mirjam Swanson of The Orange County Register writes.

Preston, 22, was drafted by Los Angeles with the No. 33 pick in July. He recently underwent surgery to repair ligaments in his right foot, a procedure that’s expected to cost him a significant portion of the season.

“He’s always asking questions about the offensive sets, about the defensive coverages, and then moving forward,” Lue explained, praising the Ohio University product. “So everything I’ve told him, he’s retained and repeated right back to you every single time.

“From the start of summer league to where he’s at now, he’s made a huge jump, and that’s because he’s asking questions, he’s watching film, he wants to get better and he wants to be better. So I don’t think it’ll be a problem for him at all, he’s very attentive and very smart and picks things up very well.”

Here are some other notes from the Pacific Division:

  • Jovan Buha of The Athletic gave his first impressions of Russell Westbrook‘s preseason debut with the Lakers on Friday. Westbrook mostly struggled in his 17 minutes, recording two points, seven rebounds, four assists and six turnovers on 1-for-7 shooting.
  • Despite missing the game against the Lakers on Wednesday, Suns star Devin Booker is starting to ramp his conditioning back up, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic writes. Booker tested positive for COVID-19 at the end of September. He’ll miss the team’s second game against Los Angeles on Sunday.
  • Clippers guard Terance Mann is poised to have a breakout season with the team, Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times opines. Mann is coming off a season where he averaged seven points and 18.9 minutes per game, shooting 51% from the floor and 42% from behind-the-arc.

Clippers’ Jason Preston Undergoes Right Foot Surgery

Clippers rookie guard Jason Preston underwent surgery on his right foot on Thursday in Los Angeles, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link), who hears from sources that Preston is expected to miss a “significant” portion of the 2021/22 season.

The team confirmed the procedure, announcing in a press release that Preston had ligaments in his foot repaired. He’ll miss an “extended” period of time and has no timetable for a return.

It’s a tough blow for the Clippers and for Preston, who was the 33rd overall pick in the 2021 draft and signed a three-year contract with two fully guaranteed seasons. He reportedly sustained the injury in a group workout prior to the start of training camp.

A 6’4″ guard, Preston played his college ball at Ohio University, where he averaged 15.7 PPG, 7.3 APG, and 7.3 RPG in 20 games (34.6 MPG) as a junior in 2020/21. The Clippers are high on his passing skills, per Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN (Twitter link), and thought he had made strides since playing for the team in Summer League, according to Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times (Twitter link).

Preston joins Kawhi Leonard as the Clippers players who are expected to miss a substantial chunk of the season.

Clippers Notes: Leonard, Ibaka, Preston, Offseason Grade, New Coaches

The Clippers made it to the conference finals for the first time in franchise history last season, but they’ll have to wait quite a while for Kawhi Leonard to return from the partially torn ACL he suffered in the playoffs — possibly until the 2022/23 season.

President of basketball operations Lawrence Frank says the team doesn’t even broach the subject of Leonard’s recovery timeline, stating that “no one knows” when he’ll return, per Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.

In the same piece, Youngmisuk relays that Serge Ibaka, who’s recovering from back surgery, will be limited to non-contact drills at the start of training camp, according to Frank.

Youngmisuk also notes that rookie Jason Preston, the 33rd pick in the draft, suffered a foot injury in a group workout recently and will not be available for the start of training camp, which begins next Tuesday, September 28th. Frank said team physicians will determine the severity of the injury in the next couple of days.

Frank declined to say whether all of the players and staff members on the team are fully vaccinated, per Youngmisuk, although he did say that he’s a “huge advocate of the vaccinations.”

There’s more on the Clippers:

  • Zach Harper of The Athletic gave the Clippers a B-minus for their offseason moves. He liked their draft picks and thought Justise Winslow and Harry Giles were decent “buy-low” pickups, but states that ultimately their offseason will depend on how Leonard and Ibaka recover from their surgeries.
  • The Clippers announced in a press release that Brian Shaw and Jay Larranaga will be assistant coaches under Tyronn Lue. The team also promoted Shaun Fein to assistant coach. Shaw’s and Larranaga’s additions were reported in July. Shaw played 14 seasons in the NBA and was the former head coach of the Lakers and Nuggets. He spent last season as the head coach of G League Ignite. Larranaga was an assistant with the Celtics the past nine seasons.
  • In the same release, the Clippers said former NBA player Wesley Johnson will be joining the team in a coaching and development role, along with Cookie Belcher.
  • Frank loves Patrick Beverley and said it wasn’t easy parting with him, but he’s excited for what new addition Eric Bledsoe will bring to the team, per Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN (via Twitter).

Pacific Notes: Kerr, Buss, Clippers, Durant, Green

The mantra for the Warriors this coming season appears to be “balance,” writes Dalton Johnson of NBC Sports Bay Area. According to Johnson, the way the team has re-balanced through its veteran signings and draft class is one of the main things that excites head coach Steve Kerr coming into the season.

I think this year’s team will offer a much better mix of mentors and veterans to go along with those young guys,” Kerr said on the latest episode of Dubs Talk podcast. “… It’s real exciting to think of the structure of the team and the balance and what we can accomplish.”

After two straight years of missing the playoffs, Kerr says he feels the team is back to a level where it can compete every night, especially once star Klay Thompson returns from his two-year hiatus due to ACL and Achilles injuries.

It’s really hard to gauge where we are against the rest of the Western Conference,” Kerr said. “Obviously there’s a lot of great teams. We haven’t even had a practice to put the group together. But I’m very excited about the potential.”

We have more news from around the Pacific Division:

  • Lakers owner Jeanie Buss recently sat down with Daniel Kaplan of The Athletic. In the interview, she describes why the legacy of her father’s Showtime Lakers impels her to build not just a great basketball team, but a stylish one. She talks about why she doesn’t like the play-in tournament, why Kobe Bryant‘s 20-year run with a single team is unlikely to be repeated, and says “our fans are going to be just cuckoo for (Russell Westbrook), are going to be so happy that he’s here.
  • The Clippers may not have shaken up their roster in a major way, but Summer League provided some reasons for excitement, writes Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times. No. 51 pick Brandon Boston outperformed expectations, knocking down shots and creating off the dribble, No. 33 pick Jason Preston overcame a rough start to show his ability to orchestrate the offense and get into the paint, while hyper-athletic wings Jay Scrubb and Keon Johnson both showcased why they’re intriguing talents while also laying bare the flaws that could keep them off the floor early on.
  • In a much-discussed interview with Bleacher Report, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green explored the last year of their time together with the Warriors, as well as their infamous blow-up in November of 2018. As Nick Friedell of ESPN explores, Durant and Green blamed head coach Steve Kerr and president of basketball operations Bob Myers for mishandling the response to that dust-up. “Y’all are about to f— this up,” Green said he told the Warriors front office. “I said, ‘The only person that can make this right is me and (Durant). And there is nothing that y’all can do, and y’all are going to f— this up.’ And in my opinion, they f—ed it up.” In response, Durant said, “I think so too.”

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 Jason Preston To Multiyear Deal

The Clippers have signed second-round pick Jason Preston, the team announced today in a press release. While the team didn’t disclose the terms of the contract, Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times (Twitter link) hears from a source that the deal includes two guaranteed seasons with a team option on year three.

It sounds like it’ll be the same as – or very similar to – Brandon Boston Jr.‘s new deal with the Clippers, which was also confirmed today by the team. Both signings were completed using a leftover portion of the club’s taxpayer mid-level exception in order to add the third year.

The Clippers sent a future second-round pick and cash to Orlando on draft night in order to secure the No. 33 pick and select Preston. The 6’4″ guard (and former basketball blogger) played his college ball at Ohio, filling up the box score with 15.7 PPG, 7.3 APG, 7.3 RPG, and 1.5 SPG on .514/.390/.596 shooting in 20 games (34.6 MPG) as a junior in 2020/21.

Interestingly, the Clippers now project to have 16 players on fully guaranteed salaries once Kawhi Leonard, Reggie Jackson, and Nicolas Batum officially sign their new deals. Since 15 is the regular season limit, a player with a guaranteed contract will have to be traded or cut before the regular season begins. It also doesn’t look like there will be room for Yogi Ferrell, who is on a non-guaranteed deal.

Clippers Acquire No. 33 Pick Jason Preston From Magic

11:05pm: The trade is now official, according to a Magic press release.

10:30pm: The Clippers and Magic have agreed to a trade that will send the rights to No. 33 pick Jason Preston to Los Angeles, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

According to Wojnarowski, Orlando is receiving a future second-round pick and cash in return for the 33rd overall pick. The second-rounder going to the Magic from L.A. is the Pistons’ pick for 2026, tweets Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times.

Preston, 21, built a reputation as a sharpshooter at Ohio University, connecting at 51.4% from the field and 39% from three-point range as a senior while averaging 15.7 points per game. He earned first-team All-MAC honors and was named MVP of the MAC Tournament.

Southeast Notes: Magic, Kuminga, Unseld, Oladipo, Hawks

Projected top-eight pick Jonathan Kuminga worked out for the Magic on Tuesday, writes Josh Cohen of OrlandoMagic.com. Kuminga has also worked out for the Cavaliers, Raptors and Thunder, and has an upcoming workout with the Warriors.

According to Chris Hays of The Orlando Sentinel, Kuminga said that the workout with Orlando went well and that his shooting is better than he showed during his time with the G League Ignite.

I’m not for sure if I’m a top-five pick, but I’m not worried about that,” Kuminga said. “That’s just the rankings. We don’t know where I might end up, so I don’t really be concerned about draft picks.”

We have more from around the Southeast Division:

Draft Notes: Warriors, Hornets, Green Room Invites, Preston

The Warriors brought in some first-round prospects for workouts on Friday, Anthony Slater of The Athletic tweetsChris Duarte, Keon Johnson, Corey Kispert, Trey Murphy III, Ziaire Williams and Ayo Dosunmu visited the Warriors’ training facility. Johnson is the highest-rated prospect on the list, as the Tennessee guard is currently ranked No. 9 overall by ESPN.

Gonzaga’s Kispert (No. 13), Virginia’s Murphy (18), Oregon’s Duarte (23), Stanford’s Williams (24) and Illinois’ Dosunmu (34) could all be off the board by the second round. Golden State holds the seventh and 14th overall picks.

We have more draft-related news and tidbits:

Northwest Notes: Jazz, Barton, Edwards, Nuggets Workouts

Keeping Mike Conley is a top priority for the Jazz, writes Tony Jones of The Athletic in his off-season primer, but there are plenty of other questions beyond that facing this year’s No. 1 seed in the West.

One such question will be if the Jazz can hit on the 30th pick in the draft. While it’s not historically a wellspring for players who can help a team with championship ambitions, this is a deep draft and there are plenty of examples of success stories at that spot, such as Jimmy Butler, Kevin Porter Jr.., Kevon Looney, and Kyle Anderson, among others.

There’s also the question of their current young players on the roster. Though Donovan Mitchell is the only young player who is a member of the team’s core, the Jazz will have to decide which other youngsters they keep and try to develop, and which they let go.

We have more from around the Northwest Division:

  • Will Barton of the Nuggets was cagey about the topic of his impending player option deadline and whether he’ll look to enter free agency, writes Mike Singer of The Denver Post.  “Being appreciated,” Barton said of what he’s looking for in free agency. “Team knowing my value. Of course, an important role. Just the right situation. I want to win.” Barton will have to decide whether he picks up his $14.6MM player option by July 17.
  • The Timberwolves have brought Anthony Edwards back to Minnesota for an injury evaluation, reports Christina Long of The Star Tribune. Edwards was among the players chosen to practice with Team USA as part of the Select Team, but was seen limping off the floor last week. A Star Tribune source reports that the injury is non-knee related, and is a sprain.
  • The Nuggets held a workout for six draft prospects yesterday, tweets Mike Singer: Josh Christopher, Quentin Grimes, Jason Preston, Duane Washington, Jordan Goodman, and Matt Coleman. Of the six, Christopher and Grimes are the highest-ranked, and either one could potentially be in play when the Nuggets are on the board with the 26th pick.