Clippers Rumors

Pacific Notes: Cousins, Bridges, Davis, Paschall

DeMarcus Cousins has earned a second 10-day contract with the Clippers and may turn out to be a keeper for the rest of the season, writes Mirjam Swanson of The Orange County Register. The 30-year-old center was out of the league for about six weeks after the Rockets waived him in February, but he was ready to play when he arrived in Los Angeles.

“I’ve put an incredible amount of work to get to this place,” Cousins said. “I feel great, my body feels great. I’m in probably the best shape I’ve been in my entire career. At this point, it’s about going out there and just putting everything together and just trying to continue to show that I’m healthy and I’m here to play this game at a high level. I understand the situation that I’m in, whatever opportunity is given to me, I plan on just taking full advantage of it, just controlling what I can control.”

Cousins has gotten into four games so far with the Clippers and is averaging 4.5 points and 2.8 rebounds in 8.5 minutes per night. Coach Tyronn Lue said the six-time All-Star is making a strong effort to fit in.

“Every single day, he’s working to try to pick up what we’re trying to do, and trying to get better,” Lue said. “For sure, every day. He’s coming in with the young guys early, putting in the work, going over the plays. He gets conditioning in, he does all the right things that he’s supposed to get his self to where he wants to be.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Suns coach Monty Williams credits a “pretty vulnerable conversation” with helping to turn around Mikal Bridges last season, according to Kevin Zimmerman of Arizona Sports 98.7. Bridges has become one of Williams’ most trusted players, ranking second on the team in minutes this year. “He’s always been a great kid, a great person,” Williams said, “but when I saw him take that conversation the right way, kind of knew he had a chance to grow, he had the capacity to grow as a player and a person.”
  • Anthony Davis is close to making his return, but Lakers coach Frank Vogel doesn’t expect it to happen Monday against the Jazz, tweets Jovan Buha of The Athletic. Davis hasn’t played since February 14 because of a right calf strain and tendinosis.
  • Warriors forward Eric Paschall is going through controlled individual workouts and hopes to practice with the team after its current road trip is finished, according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic (Twitter link). Paschall suffered a hip flexor strain that has kept him out of action since April 2.

Clippers Sign DeMarcus Cousins To Second 10-Day Contract

The Clippers have officially re-signed DeMarcus Cousins, announcing today that the big man has inked a second 10-day contract with the team.

Cousins, 30, started the season with the Rockets but was released in February as Houston shifted into retooling mode. He signed a 10-day contract with the Clippers earlier this month and appeared in three games in his first 10 days with the team, averaging 6.0 PPG and 3.0 RPG in just 9.7 minutes per contest.

Cousins will earn $175,668 on his second contract with Los Angeles, while the team takes on a $110,998 cap hit. The deal will cover L.A.’s next five games, including tonight’s contest in Philadelphia.

With Cousins back under contract, the Clippers once again have a full 15-man roster, though only 13 of those players are on full-season deals — Cousins and Malik Fitts are on 10-day pacts.

Fitts could be re-signed to a second 10-day contract when his first one expires this weekend. However, when Cousins’ new deal expires, the Clippers will have to either let him go or sign him for the rest of the season. At this point, a rest-of-season contract seems like the most likely outcome, but we’ll have to see how the next 10 days go.

L.A. Notes: Davis, Gasol, Cousins, Rondo

Lakers star Anthony Davis has been cleared to participate in full-contact practices and is close to returning to action, head coach Frank Vogel told reporters on Thursday (link via ESPN’s Dave Mcmenamin).

The eight-time All-Star, who has been dealing with a right calf strain and tendinosis, has now been sidelined for over two months, having last played on February 14. According to Vogel, Davis is unlikely to suit up for either of the Lakers’ games against Utah on Saturday and Monday, but the head coach didn’t entirely rule out that possibility, McMenamin writes.

When Davis does return, the plan is to incorporate him back into the lineup slowly, beginning with a playing-time limit in the 15-minute range, per Vogel.

“Whenever it is that he returns, it’s not going to be a full return to playing 30-something minutes a night,” Vogel said. “Especially with the nature of practice and how shorthanded we are, he’s going to have to use some games to try to get himself back in shape. So the first two games he’s back will likely be short-minute performances.”

Here’s more on the NBA’s two Los Angeles teams:

  • Lakers center Marc Gasol sustained a volar plate fracture in his left pinky finger on Thursday, but he may not miss much – or any – time, according to Kyle Goon of The Southern California News Group, who tweets that Gasol has been listed as questionable for Saturday’s game vs. Utah. “It’s my left hand, I don’t use it much anyways,” Gasol said. “So we’ll see.”
  • Before DeMarcus Cousins‘ 10-day contract with the Clippers expired on Wednesday night, head coach Tyronn Lue said the team was looking forward to continuing on with the veteran center, as Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN tweets. The Clippers didn’t re-sign Cousins to a new deal on Thursday, so we’ll see if they do so today before tonight’s game in Philadelphia.
  • The Clippers paid a high price at the trade deadline for Rajon Rondo (Lou Williams, two second-round picks, and cash), but the veteran point guard has made that deal look like a smart one so far, as Mirjam Swanson of The Southern California News Group details. Since Rondo made his debut on April 4, L.A. is 7-0 and has a staggering +32.0 net rating when the 35-year-old is on the court.

L.A. Notes: Drummond, Gasol, George, Rondo

Andre Drummond is giving the Lakers a lot of what they expected, but he still hasn’t found his scoring touch, writes Dave McMenamin of ESPN. Drummond scored just four points Tuesday in Charlotte and three points Monday at New York. He’s averaging 9.2 PPG in his five games with L.A.

“Offensively, this is probably the worst I’ve played in my career,” he said. “I’m still trying to figure it out here. I’m not allowing it to take me out of my game. I know why I’m here, which is to help this team defensively. Offensively, it will come for me.”

Part of the problem is the absence of Anthony Davis and LeBron James, who have been injured since Drummond signed with the team late last month. Drummond believes he’ll settle into a more natural role once the two stars return.

“We’re going to find a way to get it done when guys come back healthy,” he said. “Because you got to think, we’re playing with a different five every night when we’re stepping on the court. So you can’t expect us to have much chemistry when we don’t know who we’re playing with each and every night. So we’re hanging our hat on defense and allowing that to project us to a win.”

There’s more from Los Angeles:

  • Marc Gasol became the Lakers‘ third center after Drummond was signed, but Jovan Buha of The Athletic contends there are games where he should play ahead of Montrezl Harrell. Gasol has outplayed Harrell lately, Buha notes, and is a better fit in certain matchups.
  • Clippers forward Paul George is determined to not let his injured toe affect him mentally, according to Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. George knows the pain may last for the rest of the season, but he has learned to accept it, scoring at least 30 points in each of his last four games. “The injury allowed me to kind of make an excuse for myself,” he said. “But then I put it in perspective … if I’m gonna play, then don’t let it limit me. I feel like I’ve had a breakthrough because of that mindset.”
  • By playing in 33 games this season, Rajon Rondo is in line for a $750K bonus if and when the Clippers reach the first round of the playoffs, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN. The bonus was switched from unlikely to likely when Rondo was traded to L.A. last month.

Checking In On Traded 2021 First-Round Picks

It’s been nearly two months since we checked in on the status of 2021’s traded first-round picks, and there have been plenty of shifts in the NBA standings since then. Those changes have an impact on where in the draft certain traded picks will land, as well as whether or not some protected picks will change hands at all.

With just over a month left in the 2020/21 regular season, it’s worth revisiting the traded first-round picks for 2021. With the help of our reverse standings tool, here’s our latest look at which of those traded picks are most and least likely to change hands, and which ones are still up in the air:


Picks that will definitely change hands:

  • Knicks acquiring Mavericks‘ pick (unprotected).
  • Rockets acquiring Bucks‘ pick (top-nine protected swap).

The only unprotected traded pick for the 2021 draft, the Mavs’ selection currently projects to be the No. 21 overall pick. That would be a reasonably good outcome for the Knicks, but there’s even more upside here — since Dallas is currently the No. 7 seed in the West, a win in the play-in tournament may be necessary to secure a playoff spot.

The NBA has yet to clarify exactly how draft positioning will be affected by the play-in results, but presumably if the Mavs don’t clinch a postseason berth in the play-in, that pick would move into the lottery.

Meanwhile, the Rockets will acquire the Bucks’ pick, currently projected to land at No. 24 overall, in a swap for their own second-rounder (No. 32, for now).


Picks that definitely won’t change hands:

  • Grizzlies acquiring Jazz‘s pick (1-7 and 15-30 protection).
  • Pelicans acquiring Lakers‘ pick (8-30 protection).
  • Rockets acquiring Pistons‘ pick (top-16 protected).

The Jazz are definitely making the postseason and the Pistons definitely aren’t, so their picks (currently projected to be No. 30 and No. 4, respectively) won’t change hands.

The Grizzlies should at least be able to count on getting Utah’s first-rounder in 2022, when it will become top-six protected. It may be a while before the Rockets get a pick from Detroit though — that first-rounder remains heavily protected in 2022 (top-16), 2023 (top-18), and 2024 (top-18) before those protections start to loosen a little.

As for the Lakers‘ pick, it isn’t technically a lock yet — there’s theoretically a scenario in which L.A. misses the playoffs and then moves into the top four in the lottery, sending its pick to the Pelicans. But that’s an extreme long shot. The Lakers’ pick is at No. 23 for now.

It’s also worth mentioning that the Knicks have the ability to swap their own 2021 first-rounder for the Clippers‘ pick. At the moment though, New York’s pick would be No. 15 and L.A.’s would be No. 26, so that won’t happen.


Still up in the air:

  • Warriors acquiring Timberwolves‘ pick (top-three protected).
  • Magic acquiring Bulls‘ pick (top-four protected).
  • Thunder acquiring Warriors‘ pick (top-20 protected).

That Timberwolves pick will be a fascinating one to watch in the lottery. If Minnesota finishes with a bottom-three record, there will be a 40.1% chance it remains in the top three.

The Warriors will actually be rooting for the Wolves to finish with the NBA’s worst record, since in that scenario, there’s a 59.9% chance the pick lands at No. 4 or No. 5. If the Wolves instead have the third-worst record, the pick would be just as likely to land in the top three, but could slip as far as No. 6 or No. 7.

The Magic will have a good chance of landing the Bulls‘ pick, which currently projects to be the No. 10 overall selection. If Chicago remains in that spot, there would only be about a 14% chance of the pick moving up into the top four.

Golden State’s own pick, which currently projects to be No. 13, is unlikely to be sent to the Thunder unless the Warriors get hot late in the season. Assuming the Warriors’ first-rounder is protected, Oklahoma City would instead receive Minnesota’s second-round pick (currently No. 31).


Latest on the Rockets/Thunder/Heat/Blazers/Nets situation:

As a reminder, this series of trades and pick swaps is too convoluted to fit cleanly into any of the above sections. Here’s a breakdown of how it works:

  1. The Thunder will have the right to swap either their own first-round pick or the Heat’s first-round pick for the Rockets‘ first-round pick, but only if Houston’s pick doesn’t fall in the top four. In other words, if Houston gets a top-four pick, the Rockets will keep their own first-rounder; if not, the Thunder will get the two most favorable picks of their own, the Heat’s, and the Rockets’, and Houston will get the least favorable.
  2. Once the first step is complete, the Rockets will be left with at least one first-round pick, and almost certainly two, since they’re also owed the Trail Blazers‘ first-rounder (top-14 protected). They would then have the right to swap either of those picks for the Nets‘ first-rounder (unprotected).

As of today, the Rockets have the second-worst record in the league, giving them a 52.1% chance of having their pick land in its top-four protected range on lottery night. In that scenario, Houston would keep its first-rounder (tentatively No. 2) and would get the Trail Blazers’ pick at No. 22. The Thunder would keep their own pick (No. 6, pending lottery results) and receive the Heat’s first-rounder (No. 17), while the Nets would hang onto their own selection (No. 27).

On the other hand, if the Rockets’ pick falls outside of the top four, the Thunder would acquire it along with their own first-rounder, while Houston would get Miami’s pick at No. 17.


No matter how the rest of the season plays out, it’s safe to assume that lottery night on June 22 will have massive implications for the Timberwolves, Warriors, Rockets, and Thunder, and potentially for the Magic and Bulls as well.

While the Pistons, Cavaliers, and a handful of other lottery teams will also be invested in the results that night, the outcome won’t be quite as all-or-nothing for those clubs.

Pacific Notes: Morris, Schneider, Ayton, Haliburton

Clippers power forward Marcus Morris has thrived across the 16 games he has played since replacing Nicolas Batum in the team’s starting lineup, as Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times details. Los Angeles is 13-3 since head coach Tyronn Lue made the change.

Ahead of tonight’s 126-115 victory over the Pacers, Morris had been connecting on 48.8% on his 6.2 three-pointers a night and 51% overall from the floor since taking over as a starter.

My production is the same, minutes (have) been the same,” Batum said of the switch. “But Marcus has been great for us. He has been even better since he has been starting.”

There’s more out of the Pacific Division:

  • The Warriors have announced (Twitter link) that Brandon Schneider will replace departing Rick Welts as Golden State’s president and COO when the latter retires at the end of the 2020/21 season. Schneider has served as the Warriors’ chief revenue officer since 2018, and has spent 19 seasons with Golden State overall.
  • Suns center Deandre Ayton has been a big, but subtle, contributor to the club’s newfound success this season, writes Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic. Though he is known more for his scoring and rebounding, Ayton has been able to juggle his impressive skill set with a growing defensive game and improved screening.
  • Kings rookie shooting guard Tyrese Haliburton acknowledged his frustration over his team’s current seven-game losing streak, according to James Ham of NBC Sports California“We know we’re better than this, we’ve proven we’re better than this throughout the year,” Haliburton said. “But obviously, consistency has plagued us our whole season.” With a 22-32 record, the Kings are currently four games behind the tenth-seeded Warriors for a chance at a play-in tournament berth.

Mann Gets Additional Playing Time With Beverley Out

Clippers big man Serge Ibaka will not join the team on its three-game road trip this week, Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times tweets. He hasn’t played since March 14 due to a back injury.

Ibaka signed a two-year contract with the Clippers last offseason that included a $9.72MM player option for next season. He has appeared in 39 games, averaging 10.9 PPG and 6.7 RPG.

  • Patrick Beverley‘s injury has opened up some playing time for Terance Mann, Mirjam Swanson of the Orange County Register notes. Beverley underwent surgery on Friday for a fractured hand. Mann has played a combined 58 minutes over the last two games, contributing 21 points and 11 assists. “I’ll tell you this, with the guys being injured and guys being out of the lineup, these young guys have really taken advantage of it,” Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue said.

Clippers Plan To Start Jackson In Place Of Beverley; Exploring Rondo's Hall Of Fame Case

  • The Clippers plan to start Reggie Jackson at point guard for “the long haul” with Patrick Beverley sidelined, coach Tyronn Lue said, as relayed by Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times (Twitter link). Beverley is expected to miss at least three-to-four weeks after suffering a fracture of the fourth metacarpal bone in his left hand.
  • Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe explores Clippers veteran Rajon Rondo‘s case for the Hall of Fame. Rondo is a two-time NBA champion, four-time All-Star and has made four All-Defensive teams in his career, playing 15 seasons with eight teams.

Clippers Expected To Sign Yogi Ferrell To 10-Day Deal

1:42pm: Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times cautions (Twitter link) that Ferrell is one of a few options the Clippers are eyeing to shore up their guard depth, and a signing of Ferrell is not a lock due to the NBA’s coronavirus protocols.


12:10pm: The Clippers intend to ink free agent combo guard Yogi Ferrell to a 10-day deal next week, provided he clears the league’s COVID-19 health and protocols, per Shams Charania of The Athletic (via Twitter).

Ferrell may be able to help spell veteran point guards Reggie Jackson and Rajon Rondo, both of whom have seen a minutes increase (with Jackson starting) necessitated by another long-term injury absence for starting guard Patrick Beverley, out indefinitely with a fractured bone in his left hand. Beverley will be reassessed by the club in three-to-four weeks.

This marks Ferrell’s second 10-day deal of the season, as he previously signed such a contract with the Cavaliers in January. The 27-year-old appeared in two games with Cleveland this season. He averaged 9.5 PPG, 3.5 RPG, and 2.5 APG across 20.0 MPG.

After his stint with the Cavaliers, Ferrell joined the Jazz’s NBAGL affiliate, the Salt Lake City Stars, for the G League’s truncated Orlando “bubble” campus season. He started in all 14 of his games with Salt Lake City, averaging 15.4 PPG, 4.0 APG, 2.7 RPG, and 1.3 SPG, and boasted stellar shooting splits of .451/.388/1.000.

Ferrell went undrafted in 2016 out of Indiana. Prior to this season, he logged stints with the Nets, Mavericks, and Kings. A career 36.7% three-point shooter, Ferrell could potentially see time off the ball in limited minutes for L.A. At 36-18, the Clippers are currently the No. 3 seed in the West. The Nuggets, riding high on an eight-game win streak, are within a single game of tying LA.

Free Agent Stock Watch: Pacific Division

Throughout the season, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents this off-season. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. This week, we take a look at players from the Pacific Division:

Nicolas Batum, Clippers, 32, PF/SF (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $2.56MM deal in 2020

Batum had several teams interested in him last fall when Charlotte waived him and stretched out the $27.1MM remaining on his contract. He’s proven to be a bargain for the Clippers after signing for the veteran’s minimum.

Batum has been a regular presence in the rotation (28.4 MPG), serving as a “glue guy,” content to play defense and grab some rebounds without getting a lot of shot opportunities. His shooting percentage has dropped lately, but he’s still averaging a career-best 41.4% on 3-point attempts. It’s been a bounce-back season after he languished on the Hornets’ bench a year ago. He’ll get offers commensurate for a veteran role player.

Andre Drummond, Lakers, 27, C (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $794K deal in 2021

Cleveland couldn’t find a way to trade Drummond due to the $28.75MM in the final year of his contract. Once he cleared waivers, he had a choice of contenders and landed with the defending champions. It’s a tricky situation with Marc Gasol still on the roster and not thrilled about losing his starting role, but Drummond finds himself pursuing a championship for the first time in his career. If he can blend well with LeBron James and Anthony Davis once they return from injuries, the league’s most prolific rebounder can enhance his resume as he heads into unrestricted free agency this summer.

Damion Lee, Warriors, 28, SG/PG (Down) – Signed to a three-year, $4.5MM deal in 2019

Lee started 36 games for Golden State last season after the team went into tank mode. He earned his way from a two-way contract to a standard three-year deal. However, his 2021/22 salary – albeit a modest $1.9MM by NBA standards – isn’t guaranteed. It includes a partial guarantee of $500K if he’s still on the roster in mid-summer.

Lee has gotten steady minutes as a second-unit player, but really hasn’t contributed much offensively – he’s averaging 4.4 PPG over his last seven games. As a tax team, Golden State needs to fill its bench with low-cost options, so Lee could stick but the club could also seek a better scoring threat at that spot.

Frank Kaminsky, Suns, 28, PF, (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $1.88MM deal in 2020

It’s been a rough stretch for Kaminsky, who was placed under the league’s health and safety protocols at the beginning of the month. Prior to being sidelined, Kaminsky saw his playing time diminish – he averaged 3.5 PPG in 13.3 MPG during six appearances in March. Kaminsky was on Phoenix’s roster last season, had a $5MM option declined, then returned to the Suns after the Kings placed him on waivers. The ninth overall pick of the 2015 draft will find it difficult to regain his second-unit role once he returns. Kaminsky will likely have to settle for the veteran’s minimum to stick around in the league next season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.