Clippers Rumors

L.A. Notes: Bradley, Clippers, Thomas, Ball

As the Clippers headed to Phoenix for Friday night’s game against the Suns, Avery Bradley stayed behind in Los Angeles to receive treatment on a sports hernia injury that has nagged at him for much of the season, per Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times. The Clippers, who could have used Bradley on defense during Thursday’s 134-127 loss to Golden State, aren’t sure exactly when the veteran guard will return to action.

“We are concerned,” Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said. “We’ve got to go through the right stuff and make sure he’s in a good place with his health. I think we’re going to send him to a doctor and let him check and see.”

Here’s more out of Los Angles on both the Clippers and Lakers:

  • The Clippers currently have one opening on their 15-man roster, which would allow the team to give a full-fledged roster spot to one of its two-way players. However, it’s not clear whether Tyrone Wallace or C.J. Williams would be first in line for that spot, as both players are expected to receive consideration, according to Turner. “Hopefully we can get something resolved pretty soon,” Rivers said. “We just got to figure out what we’re going to do. We may be able to sign one.”
  • With the Lakers focusing on developing younger players and Isaiah Thomas in need of a showcase before he hits free agency, the union between the two doesn’t exactly look like a marriage made in heaven, writes Rob Mahoney of SI.com. Still, Lonzo Ball is looking forward to playing with Thomas, suggesting that his pass-first style and Thomas’ score-first mentality should mesh well together, as Bill Oram of The Orange County Register details.
  • In a conversation with Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype, Lakers rookie Kyle Kuzma addressed several topics, including the team’s recent trades of Larry Nance and Jordan Clarkson, his friendship with Ball, and the possibility of the Lakers landing a star in free agency.

DeAndre Jordan Has Tough Choice This Summer

The lack of teams with ample salary-cap space this summer will present a tough choice for Clippers center DeAndre Jordan, as Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer explains. Jordan has a player option of $24.1MM this summer and multiple league executives told O’Connor he probably wouldn’t receive an annual salary approaching that on the open market. Some of the teams that will have cap room, such as the Nets, Hawks and Sixers, aren’t looking to add a veteran center at a high salary, O’Connor continues. It’s plausible that Jordan will opt in and take his chances on the open market in 2019, O’Connor adds.

  • The lack of elite, established players on their current rosters will make it tough sell for the Lakers and Clippers to land LeBron James this summer, Marc Spears of The Undefeated opines. The Lakers could sign two major free agents this summer, but the Clippers don’t have that much cap room, Spears notes. The Clippers may have hurt their cause to sign a top free agent by trading away Blake Griffin in the first year of his long-term contract, Spears adds.
  • Forward Tobias Harris has been traded three times during his career and he’s taken the latest one in stride, as he told Joel Brigham of Basketball Insiders. Harris was the top player acquired by the Clippers in the Griffin blockbuster. “My first trade from Milwaukee to Orlando was a situation where I just wanted to prove myself to the league,” Harris said. “When I was traded from Orlando to Detroit, it was a situation where I wanted to help the team get to the playoffs, and that’s similar to this one here, too.” 

Harrell Maximizing His Minutes With Clippers

  • Acquired in last summer’s Chris Paul trade, Montrezl Harrell has played well for the Clippers and has solidified his role as the backup center. It’s not easy to pinpoint one specific thing Harrell does well, but he says he just maximizes his minutes, Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times writes. “I just took the minutes I had and made the best of it when I got in,” Harrell said. “I just kept working on my game, off the court and on the court.”

Woj’s Latest: Cavaliers, Clippers, Kings, Jazz

In his latest piece for ESPN.com, Adrian Wojnarowski goes into extensive detail on the deadline deals completed last week by the Cavaliers, and offers some fascinating tidbits on how those trades got done, and one potential blockbuster that didn’t get done. Let’s dive in and round up the highlights…

  • Before making his series of trades, Cavaliers GM Koby Altman got an elusive face-to-face sitdown with LeBron James to let his star player know what he was working on. Altman later met with LeBron again to tell him that the trades for Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance, George Hill, and Rodney Hood were complete, and to ask for his blessing on the deal that sent Dwyane Wade to Miami, says Wojnarowski.
  • Altman had received ownership approval to trade Jae Crowder, Channing Frye, Iman Shumpert, and the Cavs’ own 2018 first-round pick to the Clippers for DeAndre Jordan, according to Wojnarowski. Los Angeles was on board with the deal, but wanted to find a third team to take Shumpert and to give the Clips a center, since they didn’t want another shooting guard. Altman and Clippers GM Michael Winger weren’t able to find that third team, and since L.A. was unwilling to take on Shumpert (or Tristan Thompson or J.R. Smith) and the Cavs had some reservations about extending Jordan’s contract in the offseason, the deal ultimately fell through.
  • The three-way trade between the Cavaliers, Kings, and Jazz nearly fell apart on deadline day when Sacramento insisted that Georgios Papagiannis be included in the deal. According to Woj, Cleveland and Utah were “adamant” that Papagiannis had never been discussed, but Kings assistant GM Brandon Williams insists that his notes confirm that either Papagiannis or Malachi Richardson would be included.
  • As an aside, Wojnarowski writes that Williams was handling negotiations because GM Vlade Divac “seldom gets on the phone for the trade-building parts,” even though any Kings trade requires his approval, along with the approval of owner Vivek Ranadive.
  • The Cavaliers were very much against Papagiannis’ inclusion in the trade, since taking on his $2.3MM cap hit would have cost the club significantly more than that in tax payments. Utah also had no interest in acquiring the former lottery pick, with Wojnarowski suggesting that Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey was “livid” about the insertion of Papagiannis and was ready to call off the trade. As for the Kings, they were hoping to move 2016’s 13th overall pick to avoid the embarrassment of waiving him themselves, says Woj.
  • Eventually, Altman was able to work out a solution and talked Lindsey into it, per Wojnarowski. Papagiannis’ rest-of-season salary for this year and his guaranteed salary for 2018/19 totaled $3.2MM, and the Cavaliers were willing to pay that amount to Sacramento, but Cleveland was limited to sending out $2.1MM for the rest of this league year. Altman convinced the Jazz to send the Kings the remaining $1.1MM, with Lindsey getting a little something out of the deal: the ability to swap 2024 second-round picks with the Cavs. The Kings, having been compensated for Papagiannis’ remaining salary, simply waived him rather than insisting he be a part of the trade.

Bradley Trying To Find Offensive Role

  • Clippers shooting guard Avery Bradley admits he’s having trouble finding his place in the team’s offensive scheme, Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times reports. Bradley is averaging just 9.0 PPG in 28.6 MPG since he was dealt by the Pistons to Los Angeles as part of the Blake Griffin blockbuster. “I think it’s a mix of me trying to find my rhythm and my game and trying to learn how to play off these guys,” Bradley told Turner. “They have a lot of offensive-minded guys on this team. So I have to figure out, and not only myself, but (coach Doc Rivers) has to figure out how he wants to use me.”

NBA Teams With Open Roster Spots

Now that the dust has settled on last Thursday’s trade-deadline deals and the first round of veteran buyouts and cuts has been completed, it’s worth taking stock of which NBA teams have the flexibility to add a player or two without waivers anyone else.

With the help of our roster counts page, which we update all season, here are the NBA teams with open spots on their 15-man rosters. Open two-way contract slots aren’t included here, since teams are ineligible to sign new two-way contracts at this point in the season.

Teams with a player on a 10-day contract filling their open spot:

  • Phoenix Suns
  • Utah Jazz

Both the Suns and Jazz have 14 players on fully guaranteed NBA contracts, leaving one potential opening. For now, Josh Gray is filling that 15th spot in Phoenix and Naz Mitrou-Long is doing the same in Utah. However, they’re only on 10-day contracts, so both of these teams could soon create an open spot if necessary.

Teams with one open spot:

  • Charlotte Hornets
  • Chicago Bulls
  • Dallas Mavericks
  • Indiana Pacers
  • Los Angeles Clippers
  • Los Angeles Lakers
  • Memphis Grizzlies
  • Minnesota Timberwolves
  • New Orleans Pelicans
  • New York Knicks
  • Oklahoma City Thunder
  • Orlando Magic
  • Sacramento Kings
  • Toronto Raptors

The teams listed above represent a mix of playoff-bound squads and rebuilding non-contenders. Teams like the Bulls, Mavericks, and Knicks could use their open roster spots to take fliers on young players via 10-day contracts, while clubs like the Timberwolves, Thunder, and Raptors may be eyeing the buyout market for veterans who could fortify their respective benches.

Teams with two open spots:

  • Atlanta Hawks
  • Cleveland Cavaliers
  • Portland Trail Blazers
  • Washington Wizards

NBA rules generally prohibit teams from carrying fewer than 14 players on their 15-man squads. However, clubs are permitted to dip to 13 – or even 12 – in special circumstances, as long as they get back up to 14 within two weeks. Roster moves made last week by the Hawks, Cavaliers, Trail Blazers, and Wizards left them below the limit, so they’ll each have to add at least one player by the end of the All-Star break.

Note: Roster info current as of Tuesday, February 13 at 2:00pm CT.

Milos Teodosic Discusses NBA Transisition

  • Marc Stein of the New York Times has an entertaining feature on Clippers point guard Milos Teodosic. The Serbian playmaker was regarded as the best player in the world not signed to an NBA deal until he arrived stateside this past offseason. In his chat with Stein, Teodosic discusses the myth that he eats cheeseburgers for breakfast, as well as his NBA future.
  • The Clippers are still in the thick of the playoff race, but their injury-riddled season has forced the team to get creative with lineups. After a busy trade deadline, the team can now focus on establishing a routine lineup for the remainder of the season, Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times writes.

L.A. Notes: Thomas, Ball, Rivers, Jordan

Isaiah Thomas looked more like his old self in his Lakers debut Saturday night, writes Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. Two days after being acquired in a trade with the Cavaliers, Thomas posted 22 points and six assists and showed flashes of the dynamic offense he displayed in Boston.

“I wanted to bring something to the table,” Thomas said. “I felt like I got my powers back playing on this team.”

During a Friday night dinner with coach Luke Walton, Thomas received a crash course in Lakers philosophy. He studied the team’s playbook on his iPad, but admitted he had little knowledge of the plays when he took the court last night. It barely mattered as his natural talents took over.

“He brings another dimension to what we have,” Walton said. “When he is able to control pick-and-rolls and get people shots, obviously we couldn’t run a ton of stuff because he has been with us for one day, but he was good.”

There’s more this morning from Los Angeles:

  • Thomas’ duties with his new team will include serving as a mentor for rookie point guard Lonzo Ball, Youngmisuk adds in the same story. Lakers president Magic Johnson said Ball, who has been sidelined since mid-January with a knee injury, will remain in the starting lineup when he returns. “I mean, that’s fine,” Thomas said. “I have been in the league six more years than he has. Obviously, I am going to help him out. We are part of the same team, he’s a special young player, and he is going to be an incredible talent in this league for years to come. My job is to help where I can. I am still in my prime. So it is not like I am taking a backseat to anybody. I am here to be who I am and here to make a difference on this team, and I am excited about the opportunity.”
  • Clippers guard Austin Rivers is focused on making the playoffs after missing nearly six weeks with an injured right ankle, relays Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times. Rivers was diagnosed with post interior ankle impingement and had to have anti-inflammatory injections to keep the swelling down. He said he did so much conditioning work that he wasn’t tired when he returned to the court Friday. “Yeah, man, it has been 18 games. That’s the most games I’ve ever missed,” Rivers said. “It was new for me. I had to take that rehab process more seriously. But I feel great, though.”
  • DeAndre Jordan remained with the Clippers through the trade deadline, but the veteran center still isn’t sure he’s in the team’s long-range plans. In a video tweeted by ESPN’s Sports Center, Jordan responded to a reporter’s question of whether he feels wanted in L.A. by saying, “What you think?” When the reporter said, “I don’t know,” Jordan retorted, “Me neither.”

Los Angeles Notes: Thomas, Cap Space, Williams

Isaiah Thomas was traded from the Cavaliers to the Lakers on Thursday, ending a tumultuous 15-game run in Cleveland. Coming off a serious hip injury, Thomas’ MVP-caliber performance from Boston disappeared and his public and private comments during the Cavs’ slump contributed to turmoil in the locker room.

Sean Deveney of Sporting News examines Thomas’ value as he heads for unrestricted free agency in the summer. Thomas was legitimately a top-five player in the league with the Celtics who did not mince words about wanting a maximum deal once he hits the market. Now that he’s gone from Cleveland, Thomas lost the chance of the Cavaliers using Bird rights to sign him to a max contract. Instead, he is unlikely to stay in Los Angeles and one general manager told Deveney before the trade that Thomas’ chances at a max deal are unlikely.

“It’s a tough position because he has certain expectations but it’s hard to see where he could have those expectations met,” the GM said. “He is going to be disappointed, a lot, if he is not with Cleveland but still thinks he is getting a max deal out there. The money is just not there.”

Check out other Lakers news below:

  • Thomas’ agent Aaron Goodwin spoke to USA Today’s Sam Amick after his client was dealt on Thursday. Goodwin made it clear that Thomas worked hard to get back to health with the Cavs and wanted it to work out. However, Goodwin insisted that Thomas does not want to come off the bench in Los Angeles and wants to prove he is still an impactful player. Per ESPN’s Chris Haynes and Ohm Youngmisuk, Thomas will come off the bench for the Lakers in his debut on Saturday. However, sources tell Haynes and Youngmisuk that the plan is for Thomas to eventually start.
  • ESPN Insider’s Bobby Marks (subscription required and recommended) examined the Lakers’ healthy salary cap entering this summer and beyond. Shedding the contracts of Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. gives the Lakers enough cap space this summer for two elite free agents. However, Marks also looks at the possibility of the team being patient and waiting for summer 2019 to avoid another situation of Timofey Mozgov and Luol Deng.
  • Lou Williams signed a three-year extension with the Clippers before the deadline, ending any rumors he would be dealt. After suiting up for four teams in four years, Williams was happy with the Clippers and wanted a sense of stability, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN.

Windhorst/Lowe On Cavs, Clips, Dinwiddie, Hood

The Cavaliers had an eventful trade deadline, trading away six players and taking back four new ones in three Thursday trades. However, it sounds as if the team was somewhat close to making an even bigger splash. Appearing today on Zach Lowe’s Lowe Post podcast, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said that there were people around the NBA who believed on Thursday morning that the Cavs and Clippers were gaining traction on a DeAndre Jordan deal.

“The reason people thought that was because there were other teams that were engaged in trade talks with pieces that would have spun off from that trade,” Windhorst explained. “So it got to the point where the Cavs and Clippers felt like they were close enough to some sort of agreement with each other that they could begin looking to bring in third teams and that’s why I know about it.”

According to Lowe, who says that the Cavaliers were never willing to send the Nets’ 2018 first-rounder to the Clippers in exchange for Jordan, talks between Clevleand and L.A. never got into “the red zone.” Still, Windhorst says that the two teams got at least “some distance down the road” before the Cavs opted to make other deals and the Clippers decided to keep Jordan.

Here’s more from Windhorst and Lowe:

  • The Nets were asking for “a lot” in return for Spencer Dinwiddie, according to Lowe, who says the Cavaliers explored a trade for Dinwiddie that involved Cleveland’s own 2018 first-rounder. Such a deal would have had the added benefit of improving the value of Brooklyn’s first-rounder for the Cavs, the Nets’ asking price was too high for Cleveland.
  • According to Lowe, Avery Bradley‘s asking price for his upcoming free agency is “gargantuan.” Lowe expects the Clippers guard to have to recalibrate his expectations at some point.
  • Lowe doesn’t think Rodney Hood‘s deal in restricted free agency this summer will be exorbitant, speculating that the Cavaliers might be able to lock him up for something in the neighborhood of $10-12MM per year.
  • Windhorst, who said last week that the Cavaliers had explored whether George Hill would be open to a buyout next year if they were to acquire him, clarified some details on that report. Since Hill was believed to be “miserable” with the Kings, per Windhorst, the Cavs looked into whether he’d be willing to reduce the guarantee on his $19MM salary for 2018/19 in order to facilitate a trade. That didn’t end up happening though.
  • Windhorst and Lowe said today there has been a lot of chatter around the NBA about the Grizzlies‘ approach to the deadline. For about 36 to 48 hours, Memphis was giving the teams the impression that they were on the verge of moving Tyreke Evans, presumably in an effort to get clubs to increase their offers, according to Lowe, who says the Grizzlies may have “out-thought themselves.”
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