Clippers Rumors

Checking In On Protected 2019 First Round Picks

With just over two weeks left in the 2018/19 regular season, we’re getting a clearer picture of what this year’s draft order might look like. We’re also getting a pretty clear sense of which of the traded 2019 picks with protections will or won’t change hands this spring.

Using our 2018/19 Reverse Standings as a reference point, here’s our latest check-in on where things stand for those traded 2019 first-rounders, based on their protections.

Locks to change hands:

  • Kings‘ pick to Celtics (unprotected)
    • Current projection: No. 14
    • Note: Pick will instead be sent to Sixers if it jumps to No. 1 (current odds: 0.5%)
  • Clippers‘ pick to Celtics (top-14 protected)
    • Current projection: No. 22
  • Rockets‘ pick to Cavaliers (top-14 protected)
    • Current projection: No. 25
  • Nuggets‘ pick to Nets (top-12 protected)
    • Current projection: No. 27
  • Raptors‘ pick to Spurs (top-20 protected)
    • Current projection: No. 29

The Raptors‘ and Nuggets‘ have been sure bets to change hands all season long. The Rockets‘ and Clippers‘ picks have now joined them in that group due to impressive surges by both teams — Houston has won 14 of its last 16 games and clinched a playoff spot last night, while the Clippers have lost just one of their last 11 contests. Both of those picks appear likely to end up in the 20s.

The Kings, meanwhile, will definitely lose their first-round selection, but its eventual destination is the only unresolved question for this group of picks. The Sixers will receive it if it’s No. 1 overall; otherwise it will head to the Celtics. As long as Sacramento remains at No. 14 in the lottery order, the odds of the pick jumping all the way up to No. 1 would be just 0.5%, so it’s probably safe to assume it’ll end up in Boston.

Locks to be protected:

  • Cavaliers‘ pick to Hawks (top-10 protected)
    • Current projection: No. 3
  • Bucks‘ pick to Suns (top-3 and 17-30 protected)
    • Current projection: No. 30

The Cavaliers are unlikely to fall further than No. 4 in the lottery order, which means the furthest that their pick could slip would be to No. 8. They’ll keep their pick, and will owe the Hawks a top-10 protected pick in 2020.

As for the Bucks, they’ll almost certainly convey the first-rounder they owe to the Suns next season, when it’s just top-7 protected.

Still up in the air:

  • Grizzlies‘ pick to Celtics (top-8 protected)
    • Current projection: No. 6/7 (tie)
  • Mavericks‘ pick to Hawks (top-5 protected)
    • Current projection: No. 6/7 (tie)

Currently, the Grizzlies and Mavericks are deadlocked at 29-44, so the final nine games for the two teams could go a long way toward determining whether or not they’ll keep their first-rounders. The Celtics and Hawks could each end up receiving top-10 picks, depending on how things play out.

The Grizzlies would actually prefer to convey that pick this year so that they can move forward with their rebuild without worrying about a future commitment. If they can win some games down the stretch, their odds of giving up that first-rounder should increase drastically — Washington (30-44) and New Orleans (31-44) are both bunched up with Memphis and Dallas in the 6-9 range of the lottery standings.

The difference between finishing sixth and ninth in the lottery order is significant. The No. 6 team will have a 37.2% chance at a top-five pick and a 96.2% chance of remaining in the top eight. The No. 9 team will have just a 20.2% chance of moving up.

This race is one worth keeping a close eye during the final two weeks of the season, though each pick’s owner won’t be officially finalized until lottery night.

Information from RealGM was used in the creation of this post.

Knicks Notes: Free Agency, Knox, Ntilikina, Robinson

Today’s game with the Clippers barely mattered to the Knicks; it’s the summer battle over free agents that’s going to be important, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. There have been whispers around the league that New York is in good position to land Kevin Durant and another elite free agent after clearing tons of cap room with the Kristaps Porzingis trade.

However, the Clippers could be the toughest obstacle in the Knicks’ way. They can already offer one maximum contract and might have plans to unload enough salary to hand out another. Plus, as Berman notes, they have a playoff team already in place, while New York is at the bottom of the league standings. The battle of owners — the gregarious Steve Ballmer vs. the enigmatic James Dolan — may be the biggest mismatch of all.

“I’m not going to give you my spiel, man,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said when reporters asked how he would sell free agents on L.A. over New York. “Come on. Other than the weather, we’re going to stop there. No, I don’t talk about free agency a lot.”

There’s more from New York:

  • Getting their 60th loss wasn’t the worst thing that happened to the Knicks this afternoon, Berman adds in a separate story. Kevin Knox and Frank Ntilikina, lottery picks from the past two seasons, left the game with injuries a few minutes apart. Ntilikina aggravated a groin strain that kept him out for 24 games before he returned Friday. It could mark the end of his time in New York, as the Knicks are expected to make him available in trades this summer. Knox suffered a sprained right ankle, but coach David Fizdale called it “day to day” and said he’s optimistic that it won’t be a long-term issue.
  • The Knicks’ lack of a veteran core has exposed Knox’s weaknesses as a main option for the offense, observes Steve Popper of Newsday. Fizdale contrasts his situation with Tayshaun Prince‘s, who had limited skills as a rookie but was surrounded by veterans in Detroit. “Kevin’s warts show, because everybody else is screwing up, too,” Fizdale said. “So we can’t tuck him away and hide those things right now. But I think going through this is as good as going through it with veterans, because this fast-tracks you.”
  • Mitchell Robinson has already set a Knicks’ rookie record with 137 blocks, and Fizdale believes he can develop into a Defensive Player of the Year candidate, relays Peter Botte of The New York Post.

Clippers Sign Justin Bibbs To Second 10-Day Deal

The Clippers have inked guard Justin Bibbs to a second 10-day contract, the team announced on Saturday (Twitter link). Los Angeles assigned Bibbs to the Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario.

Bibbs, 23, joined the Clippers on his first 10-day deal on March 13. Since then, he has appeared in four games with the team’s G League affiliate, averaging 9.8 PPG and 4.3 RPG. In 48 total NBAGL games, Bibbs has averaged 11.6 PPG and 3.1 RPG for the Maine Red Claws and Clippers.

The Dayton, Ohio native went undrafted out of Virginia Tech last year and was in training camp with the Celtics before being waived prior to the start of the season.

Clippers Players Appreciate Long-Term Commitment From Doc Rivers

  • Players on the Clippers appreciate the long-term commitment given by head coach Doc Rivers this week, Mirjam Swanson of the Orange County Register writes. Rivers revealed that he and team owner Steve Ballmer verbally agreed on a contract extension last summer, one that will likely become official in the coming months. “It’s gonna be fun,” Shai Gilgeous-Alexander said. “Obviously, I like playing for Doc. Good coach. He’s helped me get better in ways I couldn’t have imagined. The fact that he’s committed to us the same way we’re committed to him every night on the floor is cool.”

Doc Rivers Plans To Be With Clippers For A “Long Time”

Everyone is going to the Lakers — or at least that’s what the rumor mill might lead readers to believe. The latest subject of Lakers-related speculation was Doc Rivers, as there were whispers that he might be considering leaving the Clippers for the club’s intra-city rivals. Rivers dismissed that idea today.

“I have a job and the Lakers have a coach,” Rivers said, via Ben Golliver of the Washington Post (Twitter link). “I’m going nowhere. I can tell you that, straight, up front. I’m going to be here until [Clippers owner] Steve Ballmer says get out. I plan on being here a long time.”

Ballmer previously reworked Rivers’ contract, allowing him an opt-out in 2019. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link), that extension has been again reworked into a longer deal.

“This summer, we decided to extend my contract,” Rivers explained. “…[Steve] did something I don’t think any owner would do. He gave me an out where I could opt out this summer.

“We wanted to test each other, we thought this was the right fit, but we wanted to make sure. As my dad said, ‘Trust everybody, but cut the cards.’ It was one of those things.

“Early this year, we both decided let’s end this thing, take this out, extend it and make it a longer deal. We’ve long decided on that but we chose not to say anything about it.

“…Steve was a man of his word. He gave a coach a chance to do what he wanted to do. This coach chose to stay right where he’s at and I’m very happy about it.”

The exact terms of the extension have not yet been made public, but Rivers said that his job “is not done,” adding that one of the reasons he came to the Clippers was to win a championship. Another goal was to make the franchise a free agent destination.

What’s clear is that Rivers plans to be part of the Clippers’ free agent pitches this summer as they compete with the Lakers and many other teams for top available talent.

Los Angeles Notes: Rivers, Clippers’ Bench, LeBron

With 12 games to go, the Lakers are not mathematically eliminated from the postseason. However, they have less than a one percent chance to make the NBA’s second season, according to FiveThirtyEight’s playoff probabilities. The Clippers, on the other hand, have yet to officially clinch, but the franchise has slightly higher than a 99% chance to make the playoffs.

Both results are far from what many predicted prior to the season. As the two teams head in opposite directions, let’s take a look at some more notes from Southern California:

  • Clippers head coach Doc Rivers believes teams are giving up on young prospects too early, citing the Lakers trading away D’Angelo Russell, as Brian Lewis of The New York Post relays. “You look at each draft and there’s guys that come out at 19 and they don’t take off right away. They get moved around, and the next thing you know, they’re players. It happens more than we know, and it happened to D’Angelo,” Rivers explained.
  • The Clippers‘ bench sets the team apart and while it’s easy to point to two-time Sixth Man of the Year winner Lou Williams, the unit is deeper than one player, Martin Rogers of USA Today writes. “A lot of people would love to have one game changer in that role. We have two of them,” Rivers said referring to Williams and Montrezl Harrell. “To be able to do it you have to have that personality where you say, ‘I am going to come in and just grab the moment.'”
  • The Lakers should bench LeBron James for the remainder of the season, Arash Markazi of The Los Angeles Times contends. Markazi believes the team needs to focus on making sure James is healthy heading into next season and not worry about the improbable chance it has to make the playoffs.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls 3/18/19

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

  • The Clippers have assigned Justin Bibbs and Jerome Robinson to the Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario, according to the team’s Twitter feed. The pair were recalled from the G League on Sunday.
  • The Heat have recalled Charles Cooke from the Sioux Falls Skyforce, according to the team’s website. Cooke, who was signed to a 10-day deal last week, has spent the majority of the season with the team’s G League affiliate, appearing in 39 games with the Skyforce.
  • The Thunder have recalled Hamidou Diallo from the Oklahoma City Blue, according to a team press release. Diallo has played in five G League games this season and he’s averaging 17.8 points, 7.2 rebounds

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls 3/17/19

Here are Sunday’s assignments and recalls from around the NBA G League:

  • The Thunder have assigned Hamidou Diallo to the Oklahoma City Blue, according to a team press release. Hamidou has appeared in 47 games for the Thunder this season, averaging 4.0 points and 2.0 rebounds in 11.1 minutes per contest.
  • The Clippers have recalled Justin Bibbs and Jerome Robinson from the Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario, according to the team’s Twitter feed.
  • The Grizzlies have assigned Tyler Dorsey to the Memphis Hustle, per the team’s Twitter feed.
  • The Bucks have recalled Christian Wood from the Wisconsin Herd, per the team’s Twitter feed. The latest assignment was Wood’s 15th in the G League this season.

And-Ones: G League, T. Robinson, Hawes, Ajinca

More G League players than ever are either leaving their teams for personal reasons or being “removed from a team,” writes Adam Johnson of 2 Ways and 10 Days. Terrence Jones, who recently completed a pair of 10-day contracts with the Rockets, is the latest example, as Johnson tweets that he has been removed from the active roster of the Erie BayHawks.

Jeff Ledbetter, Lavoy Allen, Jarnell Stokes, Raphiael Putney, Quincy Acy, DeAndre Liggins and Chris McCullough have also left their G League teams this season for various reasons. Some ultimately returned, but Johnson sees the pattern as an issue for the league. He notes the stress involved in being so close to the big leagues can make players react poorly if they have a bad game in front of NBA scouts.

Johnson urges new G League President Shareef Abdur-Rahim to expand the availability of mental health services available to players and encourage more discussion on the topic, just like the NBA did after revelations from Kevin Love and DeMar DeRozan.

There’s more NBA-related news to pass along:

  • Former NBA forward Thomas Robinson, who signed a G League contract this week, has been claimed on waivers by the Celtics‘ affiliate in Maine, Johnson tweets. The league mistakenly awarded Robinson to the Red Claws a day early, as players must spend at least 48 hours on waivers unless they are claimed by the team with the top waiver spot. Robinson prefers to go to Maine, and Johnson states that still appears to be his destination (Twitter link). The fifth player selected in the 2012 draft, Robinson played for six NBA teams in five seasons.
  • Spencer Hawes has been impressive in the G League and is “on the radar” for an NBA call-up, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Playing for the Lakers‘ affiliate, Hawes had a 29-point game last night and is shooting 59% from 3-point range.
  • A few unlikely teams appear to have done very well at the trade deadline, according to Matt John of Basketball Insiders. Many observers thought the Clippers were giving up on this season when they traded away leading scorer Tobias Harris, but they got a nice collection of young talent and future assets in return and acquired Ivica Zubac from the Lakers in a separate deal. The Clippers have solidified a playoff spot at 40-30 and appear in stronger position to make an offseason run at Kawhi Leonard. The Pistons only made minor moves, John adds, but trading away Stanley Johnson and Reggie Bullock created more playing time for Luke Kennard and Wayne Ellington, who have helped Detroit to a 10-4 record since the deadline. The Grizzlies have been playing better since unloading Marc GasolJaMychal Green and Garrett Temple. Avery Bradley and Jonas Valanciunas have been standouts in Memphis and have increased the chances that the Grizzlies will convey their first-round pick to the Celtics this year rather than having to worry about it in the future.
  • Italian club Grison Bon Reggio Emilia has expressed interest in former NBA center Alexis Ajinca, who left his French team last week, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando.

Los Angeles Notes: Davis, Clippers, Ingram, Zubac

The Lakers and Pelicans paused trade discussions centered around Anthony Davis once the February 7 deadline arrived, but the sides could choose to circle back and open new discussions once the regular season comes to an end.

New Orleans fired general manager Dell Demps and is expected to ramp up its search for a new GM in the coming weeks, someone who will likely assist in moving Davis to a new team this upcoming offseason.

“We get off the phone with (the Lakers), and a minute later, offers are out there,” one Pelicans source told The Athletic’s Shams Charania around the trade deadline.

The Pelicans believed the Lakers were negotiating through the media, coupled with the fact that Davis’ agent Rich Paul — who also represents Lakers star LeBron James — delivered his client’s trade request just months after signing him to his agency. New Orleans’ management was clearly angered by these tactics, and it’s unclear if they’ll even consider moving Davis to Los Angeles this summer.

“I have been told that there’s no way Anthony Davis is coming here (to the Lakers), through the Pelicans,” ESPN’s Marc Spears said this week, as relayed by Dan Feldman of NBC Sports. “They’re just not going to do it.”

The Celtics would likely be considered front-runners to land Davis if they choose to pursue the NBA All-Star, owning a collection of young talent, future picks and promising assets to offer in a deal. Davis has averaged 26.5 points and 12.2 rebounds in 53 games this season.

There’s more today out of Los Angeles:

  • JaMychal Green, Garrett Temple and Wilson Chandler are going through an adjustment process in their first full month with the Clippers, Mirjam Swanson of the Orange County Register writes. All three players were acquired by the team via trade in February, with each player holding multiple years of NBA experience.
  • Andre Ingram is once again taking the stage in his new deal with the Lakers, Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register writes. Ingram has spent the past 11 seasons in the NBA G League, inking a 10-day contract with Los Angeles this week after briefly shining with the team last spring. “Last year was amazing, but this year, it means a little more,” Ingram said. “This is not just an Andre Ingram Day, it’s a Los Angeles Lakers game that you need to win, and this trip will be a good one to get some wins on. So that’s really the focus, genuinely to help the team win any way I can, whatever part I play in it.”
  • The rim protection of Ivica Zubac has helped the Clippers drastically improve on defense, writes Jovan Buha of The Athletic. The Clippers acquired Zubac, an underrated two-way center, in a trade with the Lakers last month. “We have a rim-protector. Bottom line,” coach Doc Rivers said. “Trezz [Montrezl Harrell] does it at times. But Zu is a true rim-protector, and Zu has been great at it. So that’s why (we’ve improved).”