Clippers Rumors

LeBron James, Others React To Kobe Bryant’s Death

LeBron James issued his first comments since the tragic death of Kobe Bryant, which were posted on the Yahoo Sports Twitter feed and by other news organizations. James spoke with Bryant – who died in a helicopter crash on Sunday morning – on Saturday evening after passing him on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.

“Didn’t think for one bit in a million years that would be the last conversation we’d have,” James wrote. James also vowed to carry on Bryant’s legacy. “It’s my responsibility to put this (bleep) on my back and keep it going!! Please give me the strength from the heavens above and watch over me!”

We have more reaction from around the league on the loss of the Lakers legend:

  • The Lakers brought in grief counselors to the team’s offices on Monday to help not only players and staff members cope with Bryant’s tragic death but also employees throughout the organization, Dave McMenamin of ESPN tweets. Bryant had many relationships with other Laker employees during his 20-year playing career, McMenamin notes. The counselors provided comfort and guidance in both group and one-on-one sessions, McMenamin adds. The league decided on Monday afternoon to postpone the team’s scheduled game with the Clippers on Tuesday out of respect for the Lakers organization.
  • The organization thanked fans and well-wishers from around the world for the overwhelming support it has received since the tragedy. It issued a statement via the team’s PR department (Twitter link) which read, “The Los Angeles Lakers would like to thank all of you for the tremendous outpouring of support and condolences. This is a very difficult time for all of us. We continue to support the Bryant family and will share more information as it is available.”
  • Kings coach and ex-teammate Luke Walton said the loss has not only deeply affected him but everyone around his team, as he told Chad Graff of The Athletic and other media members. “We talked about it. Life is hard. There are moments that challenge us,” Walton said. “What I’ve found is together we can get through that easier and more efficiently than we can alone. Guys here are hurting whether you knew him or not. He was that type of guy, and he had that type of impact on the NBA world that everybody is hurting.”
  • Pop music icon Michael Jackson fueled Bryant’s passion for excellence, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski recalls in a November 2010 interview he did with Bryant. “He would teach me what he did: how to make a ‘Thriller’ album, a ‘Bad’ album, all the details that went into it,” Bryant told Wojnarowski. “It was all the validation that I needed — to know that I had to focus on my craft and never waver. Because what he did — and how he did it — was psychotic. He helped me get to a level where I was able to win three titles playing with Shaq (Shaquille O’Neal) because of my preparation, my study. And it’s only all grown.”
  • The fact that three teenagers, including Bryant’s daughter Gianna, perished in the helicopter crash was especially heartbreaking for Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, as Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel relays. “Obviously this has been a horrible 24 hours,” he said. “And, as a parent, it absolutely crushes your heart to think about this. When something like this happens it can be so wrong and so arbitrary.”
  • Bryant played the game with ferocity but he wasn’t fearless, Ramona Shelburne of ESPN writes. However, Bryant’s determination allowed him to overcome his fears. “To a certain extent, every day I was vulnerable,” he told Shelburne. “You’re always dealing with fear, with something in your imagination. Something that you think can happen. But you just say, ‘I don’t know if I can do that. But I’ll give it a try.'”

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 1/27/20

Here are Monday’s G League assignments and recalls from around the league:

  • The Clippers recalled rookie forward Mfiondu Kabengele from their Agua Caliente affiliate, the team’s PR department tweets. Kabengele has averaged 19.2 PPG, 9.3 RPG and 1.9 BPG in 19 G League starts.
  • The Nets assigned Theo Pinson and Dzanan Musa to their Long Island affiliate, according to the G League transactions log. Pinson, a second-year guard, has appeared in 27 games with Brooklyn this season, averaging 4.4 PPG in 12.3 MPG. Musa, a second-year swingman, is averaging 4.3 PPG and 12.2 MPG as 32 appearances with the NBA club.
  • The Warriors recalled guard Jacob Evans III from their affiliate in Santa Cruz, according to a team press release. Evans has played two G League games this season. In 22 games with Golden State, he is averaging 4.4 PPG in 15.0 MPG.

Lakers-Clippers Game Postponed

The scheduled game between the Lakers and Clippers at the Staples Center on Tuesday has been postponed as the Los Angeles community continues to mourn the death of Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, according to an NBA press release (hat tip to The Athletic’s Blake Murphy).

The decision was made out of respect for the Lakers organization, which has been devastated by the loss of Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven other people in a helicopter crash on Sunday. The game will be rescheduled at a later date.

While the NBA did not postpone any games on Sunday and Monday in the aftermath of the news, the decision to move the Lakers-Clippers game to a later date didn’t come as a surprise. As a source told The Athletic’s Shams Charania, “These guys are not ready to play basketball right now.”

There had been ongoing discussions between the league and the Lakers since the tragedy and it was ultimately decided that an organization that spent the day meeting with grief counselors wasn’t ready to put on an NBA game, Ramona Shelburne of ESPN tweets.

The Lakers’ next game is a home date against the Trail Blazers on Friday.

Zach LaVine Would Like To Have Input On Bulls’ Roster Moves

Zach LaVine has arguably been the Bulls‘ most important player through the first half of the season. He’s a borderline All-Star candidate and any chance of Chicago making the postseason likely hinges on his success.

So does he expect to be involved in the team’s decisions leading up to the trade deadline? Not necessarily, though he would embrace that kind of power, as Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times relays.

“I mean if they come to me and let me know, I think it would be great,’’ LaVine said of the team speaking with him about potential moves. “If not I’m not taking offense to it either. It’s not something that I’m asking for.

“I know what I stand for. I’m trying to help us get there and I don’t think you can question what my intentions are.’’

Thaddeus Young and Kris Dunn could both be on the move. The Clippers have interest in each player, sources tell Cowley, though Los Angeles could simply wait until the offseason to pursue Dunn, as he will be a restricted free agent.

Clippers Still Working Through Chemistry Issues

Some players on the Clippers are not thrilled with the team’s preferential treatment to Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, sources tell Jovan Buha and Sam Amick of The Athletic. This sort of handling is common in the NBA nowadays. Stars play by different rules, however, that doesn’t mean things are always smooth behind the scenes.

Look across the Staples Center to LeBron James to see another example of stars getting different treatment. James frequently sets the Lakers’ practice and shootaround schedules, coordinating with coach Frank Vogel as they try to figure out what works best for the team. Yet, LBJ’s situation is generally accepted by teammates because of his leadership style; he has an ability to inspire and connect with his teammates in a way that facilitates it.

Leonard and George have different personalities. Leonard is a lead-by-example type and with George having the same approach, there’s a bit of uncertainty about whose voice should be the loudest.

“I think it boils down to Kawhi not talking, and so who is their true leader?” one source with knowledge of the Clippers’ dynamics said. “How do you get around that?”


After a loss to the Grizzlies earlier this month, Montrezl Harrell was particularly vocal about the team’s performance, telling the media that the Clippers were not a great team” while explaining that the club needed to “wake up and figure it out.” Harrell was asked about the vibe in the locker room and the center’s response was noteworthy.

“I don’t know, brother,” Harrell said at the time. “I don’t know. And that might be another problem right there.”

Doc Rivers addressed Harrell’s comments and Buha and Amick hear that tension had been rising in the locker room leading up to those remarks. The big man’s words also rubbed some teammates the wrong way as they felt Harrell’s post-game mood was, at times, reliant on his individual box score.

Harrell is in a contract year and could be in line for a major raise in free agency. However, sources tell The Athletic duo that the 25-year-old remains focused on the team’s goal of winning a championship over any sort of personal agenda.

“Everything he does is out of his passion for winning,” one source said. “He kind of walks to his own beat a little bit, but it’s not from a selfish perspective at all.”

Buha and Amick spoke to over a dozen sources and the entire piece is worth a read. Here are more highlights from the duo’s latest:

  • Multiple Clippers players don’t feel the team practices as hard or as seriously as it should be. Leonard’s load management plays a role in that.
  • The Clippers prefer to call the strategy with Leonard “injury management.” Los Angeles’ medical team still doesn’t consider Leonard a fully healthy player and maintains that Leonard should not play back-to-backs.
  • Leonard has become more vocal recently. He’s coordinated player-only film sessions that many around the team believe have been a key to the Clippers’ recent surge in the standings. “It wasn’t one of those crazy players-only meetings, but they started doing it two or three games ago,” Rivers said earlier this month. “They just felt like watching the game together instead of everybody watching their iPads, watching it alone, would be better.”
  • The team’s success over the next week or so (which includes games against the Heat and Lakers) could determine what Los Angeles does at the trade deadline. Many players and team employees feel the dynamics have improved and the team has begun to jell over the past few weeks.
  • Buha and Amick write that Leonard most frequently speaks with George, Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams, and Maurice Harkless. The pair notes that Leonard is not standoffish to others, but has grown the most comfortable with that group.
  • As a reminder, both Kawhi and PG can hit the free agent market in the summer of 2021, as each player’s deal contains a player option for the following season.

Clippers, Mavs Exploring Market For Wings, Bigs

The Clippers are exploring the trade market in search of “dependable size” and possible depth on the wing, league sources tell Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter links). According to Stein, the Clippers have some concern about how they match up with the Lakers up front, as well as Kawhi Leonard‘s and Paul George‘s nagging health issues.

As we observed earlier this month, the Clippers are in a good position to pursue a roster upgrade at this year’s deadline. Their 2020 first-round pick is available to include in a deal, Maurice Harkless‘ expiring contract is a good salary-matching piece, and their young prospects like Jerome Robinson, Terance Mann, and Mfiondu Kabengele could appeal to trade partners.

On top of that, while there’s no indication that the Clippers are looking to trade either Montrezl Harrell or Ivica Zubac, both centers would have plenty of trade value if the team makes them available in search of an upgrade. Harrell is earning just $6MM and will be a restricted free agent, while Zubac is locked up at a reasonable rate (about $7MM per year) through 2022/23.

The Clippers have been linked this winter to Marcus Morris and Thaddeus Young, among other potential trade targets.

Meanwhile, Stein adds (via Twitter) that the Mavericks are in a similar boat to the Clippers, scouring the market for possible help on the wing and/or in the frontcourt, especially in the wake of Dwight Powell‘s season-ending Achilles injury.

Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer suggested earlier today that the Mavs have expressed interest in Danilo Gallinari and Robert Covington. Dallas reportedly checked in on free agent big man Joakim Noah as well.

As the Clippers, Mavs, and other teams explore the idea of trading for a big, Stein also cites league sources who say the Suns aren’t shopping Aron Baynes but haven’t ruled out moving him at the deadline if the price is right (Twitter link). With a $5.45MM expiring contract, Baynes might be a more realistic target for a contender than a big-money player like Andre Drummond or Steven Adams.

Thad Young Discusses Trade Rumors, Bulls’ Woeful Season

Thaddeus Young signed a three-year deal with the Bulls and it’s not certain that he finishes his contract in Chicago, K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports writes.

“I’m just playing basketball. I’m a Chicago Bull. Whatever happens happens. I understand it’s a business,” Young told NBC Sports Chicago. “If I’m traded, I’m traded and have to go to the next city. If I’m not, then I’m here with my brothers, here with my teammates, and ready to fight.”

Young envisioned a different role with Chicago when he signed his three-year deal with the club this offseason, previously expressing mild discontent through the media. He anticipated playing more than the 22.4 minutes per game he’s currently seeing. He also anticipated having a larger role in crunch time.

The Clippers‘ interest in Young is legitimate, Johnson hears. Los Angeles had a scout at a recent Bulls game (the team doesn’t play Chicago until April). Dan Woike of The Los Angeles Times previously reported that the Clippers may have interest in the veteran. A move to the West Coast likely won’t significantly increase his playing time, but being a part of a contending squad might make those concerns easier to deal with.

Young has done his best to ignore the trade rumors, instead remaining professional and focusing on how he can help the team he’s currently on.

“We’re very upset we keep losing games,” Young said. “It’s hard to win in this league. We have to understand that as a team. We have to face the hardness of the game and take advantage of the opportunities we do have. We need to play harder than other teams. We can play great for 38-40 minutes. But there’s an eight-minute span that can be detrimental to our team.”

Clippers' First Half Was Bumpy; Examining Lawrence Frank's Career Path

  • The Clippers have moved into a tie for second place in the Western Conference with a 30-13 record, but it hasn’t exactly been smooth sailing for the franchise in the first season of its new super-team era, writes ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. After a first half that saw players express frustration about a lack of cohesion and Doc Rivers express annoyance at inconsistent effort, the club will be looking to put it all together in the second half as the postseason approaches.
  • Chris Iseman of NorthJersey.com provides an interesting behind-the-scenes look at how Lawrence Frank ascended to the top of the Clippers‘ front office after a long career as a coach. As Iseman details, the Clippers’ current president of basketball operations was initially reluctant to take on the role due to his lack of management experience.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 1/20/20

Here are Monday’s G League assignments and recalls from around the league:

  • The Celtics recalled rookie guard Carsen Edwards prior to their game against the Lakers, the team’s PR department tweets. Edwards has come off the bench in 27 games with Boston this season, averaging 3.2 PPG in 9.9 MPG.
  • The Knicks recalled rookie forward Ignas Brazdeikis from their Westchester affiliate, the team’s PR department tweets. Brazdeikis has appeared in nine games with the NBA club, averaging 1.9 PPG in 5.9 MPG.
  • The Pacers assigned guard Victor Oladipo to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants for a practice, the team tweets. Oladipo is expected to make his long-awaited season debut next week.
  • The Wizards recalled rookie guard Admiral Schofield, the team tweets. Schofield has appeared in 24 games with the Wizards this season but did not play in the team’s win over Detroit on Monday.
  • The Clippers recalled guard Terance Mann from their Agua Caliente affiliate, the team announced today. Mann has played 27 games for the Clippers this season, averaging 1.9 PPG in 8.1 MPG.
  • The Thunder assigned center Justin Patton to the Oklahoma City Blue, according to a team press release. Patton is averaging 12.1 PPG and 8.2 RPG in 23 games with the Blue. He has appeared in five games for the Thunder this season, averaging 1.8 PPG in 4.8 MPG.

Lakers, Sixers Interested In Derrick Rose

The Lakers, Sixers and several other playoff-bound teams have expressed interest in trading for Pistons point guard Derrick Rose, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reports.

The Lakers and Sixers are each looking to upgrade their point guard rotation, Haynes continues.  The Clippers have also inquired about Rose but appear to have nominal interest in making a deal for the former Most Valuable Player.

Rose has been one of the few bright spots in an otherwise dismal season for the Pistons, who appear to be ready to embrace a rebuild. Rose has scored 20-plus points in each of the last nine games, including a 21-point outing against Washington on Monday.

Rose was signed to a two-year, $15MM contract as a free agent last summer. Coach Dwane Casey moved Rose into the starting lineup last week and has expanded his playing time after being cautious earlier this season with the oft-injured point guard.

Rose isn’t looking to be traded, according to Haynes, but it would make sense for the Pistons to sell high and acquire future assets for him.

Trade rumors have also swirled around Pistons center Andre Drummond, who can opt out this summer and become a free agent. However, those talks have apparently cooled off.