Los Angeles Clippers

Takeaways From Preseason; Latest On Willie Reed

The Clippers were punished by injuries during preseason but regardless of the short-staffed lineups there were observations to be taken away, Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times writes. For one, star player Blake Griffin‘s toe appears to have held up despite his having undergone surgery for it in May.

I haven’t had any problems,” Griffin said. “I haven’t sat out any practices. I haven’t had any restrictions. I didn’t really anticipate that. At the beginning of the season, I met with probably four of the top foot surgeons in the United States and I never anticipated sitting out [Clippers] training camp.

  • The reason Jerry West left his executive role with the Warriors to join up with the Clippers‘ front office is because he would have had to take a pay cut in the realm of $1MM. Daniel Mano of the Mercury News cites an excerpt from Jack McCallum’s book on California basketball.
  • Offseason Clippers addition Willie Reed can have his misdemeanor domestic battery charge dismissed if he agrees to a diversion program, Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel writes.

And-Ones: Trade Predictions, Perkins, Extensions

In his latest predictions feature, Zach Lowe of ESPN speculates that a number of players will be put on the block this season if not officially traded. Since we already know that there’s at least some truth to the oddly specific guess that the Timberwolves would trade Cole Aldrich for Jared Dudley, perhaps we should take a closer look at some of the rest.

Among the other trade predictions that Lowe makes is one that has the Raptors seeking to shop big man Jonas Valanciunas. Considering that the traditional Lithuanian center has been the subject of speculation over the course of the past few seasons, this one seems like rather low hanging fruit.

Similarly, Lowe makes the thoroughly uncrazy prediction that Eric Bledsoe will be on the move. What bonus points Lowe doesn’t earn for predicting a Bledsoe trade, however, he does earn for earmarking the Nuggets and Clippers as possible interested suitors. Alas Denver, it’s worth noting, is already rather backloaded at the guard positions.

Other players that come up in Lowe’s column include the likes Dennis Schroder, DeAndre Jordan and Tobias Harris.

There’s more from around the league:

  • The NBA will name Michelle Johnson their new Senior Vice President and Head of Referee Operations, Shams Charania of The Vertical tweets. Johnson is a retired U.S. Air Force Lieutenant General.
  • The NBA coaching community could soon have another recent league veteran join its ranks. As Bryan Kalbrosky of HoopsHype writes, Kendrick Perkins – who played 11 seasons in the NBA – believes he would have plenty of options to accept a role on the sidelines.
  • Only a few players from the 2014 NBA Draft class have landed sizable pay days and that’s for good reason, Mitch Lawrence of Forbes writes. Beyond players like Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid, few have earned substantial rookie contract extensions. Only Marcus Smart, he writes, has been a notable contributor to an elite playoff team.

Clippers Waive Plumlee, Iroegbu, Wallace

The Clippers reached the roster limit by waiving Marshall Plumlee, Ike Iroegbu and Tyrone Wallace, tweets Brad Turner of The Los Angeles Times.

Plumlee was in camp on a non-guaranteed contract, hoping to win a spot as a third center behind DeAndre Jordan and Willie Reed. The 25-year-old spent part of last season with Knicks, appearing in 21 games, after going undrafted out of Duke. New York had interest in re-signing him, but Plumlee chose the opportunity with the Clippers.

Iroegbu, a 22-year-old point guard, signed with L.A. on Friday in a move designed to get him to the Clippers’ new G League affiliate. The Washington State alum went undrafted and played briefly with the Suns’ summer league team.

Wallace, 23, played for Utah’s G League affiliate last season after being the final pick in the 2016 draft. Even though he came to camp with the Clippers, his rights still belonged to the Salt Lake City Stars. However, the Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario made a trade to acquire Wallace’s rights earlier today.

Earlier today, we told you the Clippers opted to keep shooting guard C.J. Williams by converting his contract to a two-way deal. That will limit him to 45 days in the NBA this season.

Clippers Converting C.J. Williams’ Deal To Two-Way Contract

With the regular season around the corner, the Clippers have decided to convert shooting guard C.J. Williams‘ NBA contract into a two-way deal, per Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link).

Williams’ agreement with the Clippers included an Exhibit 10 clause, giving the club the opportunity to convert it into a two-way contract before the regular season begins. Los Angeles will have until Monday to make it official.

Williams, 27, was part of the Team USA squad that brought home gold at last month’s AmeriCup. He subsequently joined the Clippers for camp and got the chance to play in four preseason games for the team. On Friday night, he put up eight points, five assists, and four steals in a loss to the Lakers.

With Williams’ contract turning into a two-way deal, the Clippers will have a couple more roster moves to make before opening night. Ike Iroegbu and Tyrone Wallace are the most likely candidates to be waived, while Marshall Plumlee‘s status also remains uncertain.

Blake Griffin: I Will Be A Vocal Leader

Blake Griffin signed a long-term deal to stay with the Clippers this past offseason and when he signed on the dotted line, he became the undisputed face of a revamped franchise. Longtime point guard Chris Paul was traded to the Rockets, ending an era that saw the Clippers as perennial playoff contenders but also a team that never advanced past the first round.

In an interview with ESPN’s Sam Alipour, Griffin addressed the Clippers’ changed roster but said that change is not always a bad thing.

Clippers Sign Ike Iroegbu

The Clippers signed point guard Ike Iroegbu to a deal on Friday, as reported by Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times (Twitter link). Iroegbu played for 17 minutes in the Clippers’ preseason finale against the Lakers, posting seven points, five rebounds and one assist.

Iroegbu, 22, spent the last four seasons at Washington State University. He appeared in 31 games in each of his four years at the school, averaging just under 10 points, three rebounds and three assists during his tenure. After going undrafted, Iroegbu participated in Afrobasket this year representing Nigeria and appeared in one game with the Suns during Summer League.

It is likely that the Clippers waive Iroegbu ahead of the deadline for teams to finalize rosters at 15 players. Signing and then waiving Iroegbu will give the Clips first dibs to make the young guard an affiliate player for their G League affiliate, the Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario.

Sindarius Thornwell A Favorite Of Head Coach Doc Rivers

Clippers Waive LaDontae Henton

One of the Clippers camp invitees is no longer on the roster, with the team confirming that LaDontae Henton has been waived. He’ll become an unrestricted free agent later this week if and when he clears waivers, and there’s a good chance he ultimately ends up with the Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario, L.A.’s G League affiliate.

Henton, 25, went undrafted in 2015 after playing his college ball at Providence. Since then, the 6’6″ small forward has spent time with teams in Spain and the Philippines. He also played for the Santa Cruz Warriors in the G League last season, averaging 13.6 PPG and 5.3 RPG with a .402/.383/.735 shooting line in 37 games.

The Clippers ensured in August that they’d secured Henton’s returning G League rights, acquiring him in a trade with Santa Cruz, so he’ll be eligible to join L.A.’s new affiliate.

The Clippers now have 17 players on NBA contracts and one on a two-way deal, so they’ll have to make at least a couple more roster moves before opening night.

Pistons Notes: Drummond, Ellenson, Johnson, Jackson

Many teams remain interested in trading for Pistons center Andre Drummond, according to Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press. Ellis talked to several talent evaluators around the league, who say that at age 24, Drummond still has the potential to become a successful big man despite questions about his energy and defense. Teams don’t seem reluctant to take on Drummond’s contract, which will pay him more than $105MM over the next four seasons.

The people Ellis spoke with don’t believe the Pistons are currently shopping Drummond, athough they were over the offseason and before February’s trade deadline. However, he cites two potentially interested parties in Knicks GM Scott Perry, who was an assistant GM in Detroit when Drummond was drafted, and Clippers executive VP Lawrence Frank, who coached the Pistons when Drummond was a rookie.

There’s more this morning out of Detroit:

  • Henry Ellenson‘s impressive preseason could mean more minutes for the second-year big man, Ellis adds in the same piece. Coach Stan Van Gundy said Ellenson is “playing at a high level” after he scored 16 points in 17 minutes Friday. He is competing with Tobias Harris, Jon Leuer and Anthony Tolliver for playing time at power forward.
  • The competition at power forward will keep Stanley Johnson at small forward, which may not be his best position, Ellis writes in a separate story. Many observers believe Johnson would excel as a stretch four, but Van Gundy expects nearly all of Johnson’s minutes this season to come at small forward. “We just don’t really have a need for another [power forward],” Van Gundy said. “There may be some defensive things late in the game where teams go small and we could go small with him, but we’ve got enough stuff we could run without having him to spend a lot of time there. I’m not going to confuse him and have him having to work and know all the sets at [power forward].”
  • Point guard Reggie Jackson is ready to take on a larger leadership role this season, Ellis writes in a another story. Now one of the oldest players on the team at 27, Jackson wants to erase the nightmare of last year when knee problems forced him to miss the start of the season and the team wasn’t able to incorporate him smoothly once he returned. Part of the problem was physical, as assistant coach Tim Hardaway says Jackson never fully recovered. “He’s the catalyst,” Hardaway said. “He wants to come out here and be the man. He can be the man, but first he has to be healthy. Once he’s 100% and shape, everybody’s going to see a different Reggie because last year he was hurt all the time.”

Patrick Beverley Popular With New Clippers Teammates

Patrick Beverley has earned the reputation of a defensive pest who can get under the skin of his opponents and the Clippers are glad he is on their side, Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times writes.

Last season, Beverley averaged 9.5 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 4.2 APG, and 1.5 SPG for the Rockets last season. If he replicates the on-court performance and retains his outspoken style, the Clippers should be set at the position, according to his coaches and teammates.

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