Los Angeles Clippers

Clippers Sign Second-Rounder Sindarius Thornwell

4:20pm: Thornwell will get a three-year, $3.8MM deal, according to Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders, who adds that the first two years are fully guaranteed (Twitter link).

The fact that it’s a three-year pact means that the Clips used their mid-level exception, leaving a very small portion of that MLE available. Assuming Thornwell signed for the minimum, the exact value of the deal over three years will be $3,812,377.

4:05pm: The Clippers have signed rookie shooting guard Sindarius Thornwell, the team announced today (via Twitter). Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, but there’s no mention of it being a two-way contract, so Thornwell appears to have received a spot on the NBA roster.

[RELATED: 2017 NBA Draft Pick Signings]

The 48th overall pick in this year’s draft, Thornwell was the SEC Player of the Year in 2016/17 for South Carolina, averaging 21.4 PPG to go along with 7.2 RPG and 2.1 SPG. He also upped his shooting percentages to .445/.395/.830, all career-bests.

The Clippers entered this year’s draft without any picks, but used cash to buy a pair of second-rounders and inject some youth into their roster. In addition to trading for Thornwell’s rights, Los Angeles also drafted and signed Jawun Evans with the 39th overall pick.

Evans received a portion of the Clippers’ mid-level exception, as did Euroleague point guard Milos Teodosic, but the club still has about $1.6MM of that MLE left. It appears likely that L.A. will use another chunk of that MLE to finalize Thornwell’s deal — a report last week from The State indicated that the rookie guard would sign a three-year contract, which is more than he could get with the minimum salary exception.

Bulls, Blazers, Raptors Hold Largest Trade Exceptions

When an over-the-cap NBA team sends out more salary than it receives in a given trade, that team can generally create a traded player exception. As we explain in our glossary entry, a traded player exception serves as a way for a team to acquire talent without using cap room to do so.

Traded player exceptions last for one year from the time they’re created, and can be used to absorb a player’s contract in a trade without sending out any salary in return. Trade exceptions can’t be combined with another exception or another contract, but they have $100K worth of wiggle room. So, a team with a $9.9MM TPE could trade for a player earning $10MM without any outgoing salary involved in the deal.

In recent weeks, a handful of teams – including the Hornets, Clippers, and Cavaliers – have seen trade exceptions created last July expire without being used. However, none of those TPEs was substantial. All of this year’s biggest TPEs are still available, though some are more likely to be used than others.

Here’s the current list of the top 10 traded player exceptions available around the NBA, along with each TPE’s expiration date:

  1. Chicago Bulls: $15,311,329 (6/22/18)
  2. Portland Trail Blazers: $12,969,502 (7/25/18)
  3. Toronto Raptors: $11,800,000 (7/13/18)
  4. Toronto Raptors: $7,630,000 (7/14/18)
  5. Los Angeles Clippers: $7,273,631 (6/28/18)
  6. Milwaukee Bucks: $5,000,000 (2/23/18)
  7. Oklahoma City Thunder: $4,936,529 (11/1/17)
  8. Cleveland Cavaliers: $4,837,500 (1/7/18)
  9. New Orleans Pelicans: $3,517,200 (2/20/18)
  10. Oklahoma City Thunder: $2,550,000 (7/6/18)

While some of these TPEs are quite sizable, there’s a good chance that most of them will go unused. Many of the clubs on this list are near or above the luxury tax threshold, and will be reluctant to acquire an expensive player without dumping any salary as part of the deal.

The Blazers, Raptors, Clippers, Bucks, Thunder, and Cavaliers all fit that bill, though some of those clubs may be willing to bite the tax-penalty bullet, while others could wait until next July when some contracts expire to use their respective TPEs.

As for the Bulls, no team has a more significant TPE than the one Chicago created as part of June’s Jimmy Butler trade. But that exception is somewhat hollow at the moment — the Bulls only have $73.25MM in guaranteed salaries on their 2017/18 cap, so the club could actually create an even greater chunk of cap room by renouncing its trade exception, along with its other cap holds and exceptions. Still, there’s no reason to do that now. That TPE could come in handy later if the Bulls re-sign Nikola Mirotic and much of that potential cap space disappears.

The full list of current NBA trade exceptions can be found right here.

Clippers Have Sent Out $4.5MM Cash In Trades

  • The Clippers sent $1.3MM to the Hawks as part of the three-way deal that landed Jamal Crawford in Atlanta, tweets Pincus. Meanwhile, the Clippers also paid $3.2MM to the Sixers to land the second-round pick that became Jawun Evans (Twitter link). That leaves the Clippers with just $600K available to send out in trades for the rest of the 2017/18 league year.
  • The Sixers can no longer receive cash in trades during the current league year, which runs through June 30, 2018. In addition to receiving $3.2MM from the Clippers, they were sent $1.9MM by the Bucks in exchange for the No. 46 pick (Sterling Brown), per Pincus (Twitter link). The limit for cash received in trades this season is $5.1MM.
  • The Knicks sent $400K to the Kings as part of their “trade” that allowed them to hire Scott Perry away from Sacramento, tweets Pincus. Pincus adds (via Twitter) that the Kings and Knicks are now ineligible to trade with one another through the 2017/18 season. We saw that same restriction occur with the Clippers and Celtics a few years ago after L.A. sent Boston compensation to land Doc Rivers.

Jamal Crawford Talks Trade, Free Agency Decision

While Chris Paul and J.J. Redick were the most notable departures for the Clippers this offseason, the team also lost Jamal Crawford, who became a roster casualty when the club needed to move salary in order to complete a sign-and-trade deal for Danilo Gallinari.

Speaking to Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype, Crawford spoke about the Clippers’ decision to trade him, his accelerated free agency process, and his decision to sign with the Timberwolves. Kennedy’s whole transcript is worth checking out, as is the corresponding podcast with Crawford, but here are a few of the veteran guard’s notable comments from their conversation:

On whether he was surprised by being traded:

“I did feel somewhat blindsided. I mean, we all knew this could potentially happen. We knew that it could be a very different team. Paul [Pierce] was retiring and we had so many free agents, from Blake [Griffin] to Chris to J.J. to Luc Mbah a Moute – that was four of our five starters. We knew that things might look different, but we didn’t think it would go to this magnitude and play out the way it did. … But this is a business. That’s life in the NBA. You have to just roll with the punches and make the best out of every situation.”

On why he strongly considered the Wizards or Cavaliers before joining the Timberwolves:

“With Washington, I felt like with them almost going to the Eastern Conference Finals last year – going to Game 7 [against the Celtics] – they’re a team on the rise. People don’t know this, but I was actually really close to signing with them last year before I decided to re-sign with the Clippers.

“Then, with Cleveland, they’ve obviously been the best team in the East over the last few years. Obviously having LeBron [James] there, having Kyrie Irving there [makes it attractive]. I’ve known Kyrie for a long time as well. They have all those guys there and they have Ty Lue, who I played for when he was an assistant coach on the Clippers. They also have Larry Drew as an assistant coach and I’ve played for him too. I had a lot of connections there and then just with how good they are, it’s intriguing. I mean, going to the last three NBA Finals speaks for itself.”

On the mutual interest between Crawford and the Lakers:

“They were one of the first teams to reach out once the buyout and everything was clear. They were really, really interested and I was interested too. I feel like they’re a team that’s on the rise and I think Rob Pelinka and Magic Johnson are going to do great things.

“It made sense with my family already being in L.A. They wouldn’t have to adjust much and they could have the same routine, the same lifestyle, so that was all interesting to me. But after [the early talks], they started looking other places and I started looking at other teams and it kind of fizzled out a bit. They were a team I was really interested in early on, and they showed interest as well, but they wanted to be patient and see how some things played out. And, as you know, things can move really fast and I didn’t feel that I had the time to be able to wait for them.”

On choosing the Timberwolves:

“It was a tough call, but I knew it was the right call. Once I decided that this was it, I felt really, really good about my decision.

“I think we can be one of the best teams out there. I really do. We have to prove it, and it’s obviously been a long time since they’ve been in the playoffs. We know that we have a lot of work to do and that this won’t be easy because the West is stacked, as everyone knows. But for us, we’re really embracing the journey.”

Speights Close To Signing With Magic

3:31 PM: Speights’ deal with Orlando will be a minimum salary arrangement, Pick tells Hoops Rumors.

12:22 PM: Marreese Speights is “on course” to sign with the Magic, tweets international basketball writer David Pick.

Speights recently held a face-to-face meeting with Orlando officials, who have been searching for shooting help. The 6’10” Speights is a reliable shooter from distance for a big man, connecting on 37% from 3-point range for the Clippers last season while averaging 8.7 points and 4.5 rebounds per game.

The Magic have their $4.328MM room exception available, so all or part of that could be used to add Speights. Even if he signs for the veteran’s minimum of $2.1MM, it will match the value of the contract he opted out of with the Clippers.

Speights spent one season in L.A. after signing there last summer. Before that, he was part of the rotation for Warriors teams that captured the 2015 NBA title and won 73 games in 2015/16. A first-round pick of the Sixers in 2008, he also spent time with the Grizzlies and Cavaliers.

Knicks To Hire Gerald Madkins as Assistant GM

The Knicks will hire Gerald Madkins as assistant GM, tweets Brad Turner of The Los Angeles Times. The Kings and Bucks also expressed interest in him (Twitter link).

Madkins, 48, had been an assistant GM with the Clippers for the past two seasons. Since joining the organization in 2012, he also served as director of basketball operations and director of scouting.

Before joining the Clippers, Madkins held scouting positions with the SuperSonics and Rockets and was VP of player personnel for the Hornets.

A former NBA player, Madkins spent time with the Cavaliers and Warriors in the 1990s. He was named Continental Basketball Association Rookie of the Year in 1993.

Clippers Offered Reed Something The Heat Couldn't

  • Jamal Crawford gave up $4MM in his buyout arrangement with the Hawks, tweets Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders. The Clippers sent Crawford to Atlanta in a three-team deal earlier this month, and he quickly agreed to a buyout that enabled him to sign with Minnesota. Crawford’s contract guaranteed him $14.2MM next season and $3MM for 2018/19, and Pincus says he accepted $10.9MM and $2.3MM.
  • It was playing time, rather than finances, that ended Willie Reed‘s stay in Miami, according to Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. Reed signed with the Clippers last week, accepting a $1.6MM veterans minimum offer. With their $4.3MM mid-level exception still available, the Heat could have offered more, but Reed wanted a guarantee of playing time, which Winderman says the Clippers were willing to provide. Miami signed Kelly Olynyk this summer and drafted Bam Adebayo, so Reed would have been in a fight for minutes with the Heat.

Marreese Speights Meets With Magic

The Magic held a face-to-face meeting with free agent center/power forward Marreese Speights, tweets international basketball writer David Pick.

Orlando, which has been looking for shooting help, could benefit from the addition of the 6’10” veteran, who played all 82 games with the Clippers last season. He shot 37% from 3-point range while averaging 8.7 points and 4.5 rebounds per night.

The Magic still have their $4.328MM room exception available and could offer Speights a nice raise from the minimum-salary deal he opted out of in L.A.

Speights spent just one season with the Clippers after joining the team as a free agent last summer. A 2008 first-round pick by the Sixers, he has also played for the Grizzlies, Cavaliers and Warriors in his nine-year career.

The meeting with Orlando comes a week after negotiations broke off with Atlanta. The Clippers are also reportedly interested in having him return.

Poll: Where Should Derrick Rose Sign?

Former first overall draft pick and the 2011 NBA Most Valuable Player Derrick Rose is nowhere near the player he used to be thanks to a litany of devastating leg injuries. However, he is coming off a productive offensive season and is easily the most coveted unrestricted free agent on the market.

Rose averaged 18.0 PPG, 4.4 APG, and 3.8 RPG last season with the Knicks, while shooting 47.1% from the field. The point guard also logged 32.5 minutes per his 64 contests, the most playing time he has had in the past four seasons. Despite Rose’s solid season, the rebuilding Knicks appear unlikely to bring him back.

Reports suggest that the leaders for Pooh’s services are the Cavaliers and Lakers. Cleveland will meet with Rose in the coming days and reportedly are offering him a starting position, either alongside Kyrie Irving or in Irving’s place if Cleveland’s point guard is traded. As for the Lakers, Rose had an approximately three-hour meeting with the purple and gold and reports indicate that the meeting went well for both sides. While it is unclear whether Rose would start for the Lake Show, he would be expected to mentor rookie Lonzo Ball on a much improved team.

Two other squads that have met with Rose in recent weeks are the Bucks and Clippers. The Bucks could appeal to Rose’s desire to win, boasting several rising stars in Giannis AntetokounmpoKhris Middleton, and Jabari Parker. Milwaukee is also coached by legendary point guard Jason Kidd and is situated very close to Chicago, where the family-minded Rose’s family resides. The Clippers already have Patrick Beverley and Milos Teodosic at point guard, as well as Austin Rivers, who is more of a combo guard, but when replacing Chris Paul, can a team ever really do too much?

What do you think? Where should Rose end up signing? Place your vote in our poll and then catapult into the comments section below to share your thoughts.

Pacific Notes: Ingram, Beverley, KCP

The Lakers have been active and persistent this offseason, from drafting UCLA product Lonzo Ball, to shipping out former first round pick D’Angelo Russell to the Nets, to signing Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to a one-year deal. While trade talks persist, the team is adamantly against trading last year’s second overall pick Brandon Ingram, Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News writes.

Ingram, soon-to-be 20 years old, did not post eye-popping numbers in his rookie season, averaging 9.4 PPG, 4.1 RPG and shot 40.2 % from the floor. However, his work ethic and potential is the reason why Lakers brass has been abruptly ending phone calls once opposing teams inquire about his availability. Team president Magic Johnson‘s endorsement is a glowing one for the Duke product.

“The guy only cares about winning and basketball,” Johnson said. “He’s quiet and doesn’t do anything else. He is a very intelligent young man and is our hardest worker.”

As the Lakers continue their drift toward youth, Ingram figures to crack the starting lineup next season. Alongside the hotshot prospect Ball, veteran acquisition Lopez, and other youngsters, Ingram’s development remains a crucial point and goal for the Lakers.

Below are additional notes surrounding the Lakers and the Pacific division:

  • The Lakers‘ signing of KCP is a risk for both sides but one that could pay dividends, Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times writes. Caldwell-Pope signed a one-year, $18MM deal with Los Angeles and was introduced earlier this week. The Lakers’ hope is that the 24-year-old, who is technically considered a veteran as he enters his fifth NBA season, will be a leader for a young team.
  • Conversely, Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press ponders whether KCP’s decision to reject a four-year, $80MM offer from the Pistons last season was a wise move. While KCP will do fine financially this season, injuries, poor performance, and a change in the market could harm his value after 2017/18. Caldwell-Pope’s hope will be to have a strong season and hit the market at 25 years old looking for security.
  • Mark Medina adds in a separate piece that the Lakers are looking to fill out their roster in the next few weeks.
  • One of the Clippers‘ many acquisitions in the Chris Paul sign-and-trade was defensive standout Patrick Beverley. USA Today highlighted Beverly and his desire to not be compared with Paul and rather let his game speak for itself. Many Clippers officials are also quoted in stating their longtime appreciation of Beverley’s talents.
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