Clippers Rumors

SI Writer Lee Jenkins Joins Clippers’ Front Office

The Clippers have officially hired Sports Illustrated senior NBA writer Lee Jenkins, naming him the team’s executive director of research and identity, the club announced in a press release late on Monday night. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski first reported that Jenkins was leaving his job with SI for a front office role with the Clippers.

The newly-created position is the first of its kind for any NBA club, per the Clippers’ announcement. According to the team, “Jenkins will use his extensive reporting background and unique interviewing style to contribute to the franchise’s amateur and professional scouting infrastructure, as well as help to enhance the Clipper experience.”

As Wojnarowski details, Jenkins said he had never considered the possibility of working for an NBA franchise until Clippers president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank and GM Michael Winger approached him a few months ago with the idea.

Jenkins acknowledges that there will be some “trial and error” when it comes to his new role, but says he’s excited to bring his media and reporting experience to the Clips’ front office.

“In our line of work, we ask questions from different angles, assemble information in different ways,” Jenkins told Wojnarowski. “We try to put it together like puzzles until we’ve formed a portrait of a person. I’m going to try to bring that same process to the Clippers in hopes it will complement what their incredible group of evaluators already accomplish. This team is interested not just in what players do, but who they are — how they’re wired, how they’re motivated — and that’s an area I love to explore.”

This isn’t the first time an NBA team has hired a media member to its front office, but typically those moves involve writers who focus on analytics and data, like when former ESPN stats guru John Hollinger joined the Grizzlies several years ago. It will be interesting to see how the Clippers use Jenkins, who is a storyteller rather than a statistician.

Clippers Want First-Rounder From Suns For Beverley

The Clippers’ Patrick Beverley is at the top of the Suns’ list of potential point guards, but the teams haven’t been able to work out a price, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

In a video, Charania says L.A. is asking for a first-rounder in exchange for Beverley, but Phoenix has only been willing to offer second-round picks. Charania calls Beverley a “culture setter” and says the Suns “view him as a guy who could come in and play a very good complementary role to Devin Booker” similar to what he did alongside James Harden in Houston.

Phoenix has been without a starting-caliber point guard since trading Brandon Knight to the Rockets last month. The team has been exploring several options and has apparently focused on Beverley as the best fit.

The Clippers are willing to part with Beverley because they have a crowded backcourt and 15 players with guaranteed contracts. Beverley, whose $5,027,028 deal is non-guaranteed,  received full medical clearance in June after undergoing microfracture and meniscus surgery on his knee last November. He played just 11 games in his first season after being acquired from the Rockets.

Clippers The Top Destination For Kawhi Leonard Next Summer?

Before Kawhi Leonard has even suited up for the Raptors, his top destination in free agency next summer is the Clippers, according to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne. During an appearance on 710 ESPN Mason and Ireland, Shelburne labeled the Clippers as Leonard’s top pick with the Raptors his second choice and Lakers coming in third.

The Los Angeles native has reportedly preferred to end up back home with either the Lakers or Clippers. Several reports over the past year suggested that Leonard’s preference was joining the Lakers, who already signed LeBron James.

After a tumultuous and injured-riddled 2017/18 in San Antonio, the Spurs dealt their superstar to Toronto earlier this summer. Based on several reports, Leonard is excited and prepared for the upcoming season. Just last month, we relayed that Leonard was “keeping an open mind” about his future with the Raptors.

Early impressions on Leonard out of the Toronto camp have been positive. Recently, assistant coach Phil Handy provided an update on Leonard, who missed most of last season with a quad injury.

“He’s doing great,” Handy said. “He’s in great shape. Body looks good, he’s feeling good, he’s moving well. I don’t anticipate any issues or any problems. He’s working hard and he’s a hard worker.”

Earlier this week, Leonard’s longtime teammate with the Spurs and current teammate with the Raptors, Danny Green, opined that the two-time Defensive Player of the Year would have a hard time leaving Toronto.

“The city of Toronto is gonna be hard to turn down after being there,” Green said.

Clippers Hold Tryouts For G-League Team

  • Two rookies in the division were able to secure shoe deals, with Moritz Wagner of the Lakers signing with the Jordan brand and the Clippers Jerome Robinson signing with Nike. Both players were first round picks in the 2018 Draft and could become key parts of the young cores on their respective teams in the upcoming season, although the veteran depth ahead of them will likely limit their playing time in the immediate future.
  • The Clippers‘ G-League team (the Agua Caliente Clippers) held open tryouts this weekend, as hopefuls worked to earn a spot on the squad, per Mirjam Swanson of The Orange County Register. Last season, the organization’s NBA team was bolstered by contributions from players such as C.J. Williams, Tyrone Wallace and Jamil Wilson, who split their time between the G-League and NBA. Attendees had varying levels of basketball experience, but are looking to earn a spot on the roster and perhaps continue the team’s success for the NBA club.

Suns Considering Beverley, Joseph, Dinwiddie

Some more names have emerged in the Suns’ search for a point guard, according to John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 FM, who reports that the team has targeted the Clippers’ Patrick Beverley, the Pacers’ Cory Joseph and the Nets’ Spencer Dinwiddie.

Beverley may be expendable in L.A. after the Clippers matched an offer sheet this week for Tyrone Wallace. That move gives the team 17 players with guaranteed contracts and adds to a crowded backcourt that also includes Avery Bradley, Jawun Evans, Milos Teodosic, Sindarius Thornwell, Lou Williams and first-round picks Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Jerome Robinson.

Beverley has a non-guaranteed deal that will pay him a little more than $5MM for the upcoming season. The 30-year-old received full medical clearance in June after having microfracture and meniscus surgery on his knee last November. He started all 11 games he appeared in before the injury, posting a 12.2/4.1/2.9 line, and is considered among the NBA’s best defensive point guards.

Joseph, 27, has a $7.9MM expiring contract. One of the league’s best sixth men, he averaged 7.9/3.2/3.2 while playing all 82 games in his first year with the Pacers. However, Indiana has Darren Collison entrenched as its starter and selected Aaron Holiday in the first round of this year’s draft.

Dinwiddie, 25, would come much cheaper at $1.6MM and is also on an expiring contract. He played 80 games for the Nets last season with a 12.6/3.2/6.6 line.

The Suns have been in the market for point guard help since trading Brandon Knight to the Rockets last month. Isaiah Canaan, Shaquille Harrison, De’Anthony Melton and Elie Okobo are the only options on the current roster.

Clippers Sign Desi Rodriguez

The Clippers have officially added Desi Rodriguez to their offseason roster, signing him to a one-year deal, according to RealGM’s transactions log. It’s an Exhibit 10 contract, a source tells Keith Smith of (Twitter link). Los Angeles now has a full 20-man roster.

Rodriguez’s agreement with the Clippers was originally reported shortly after he went undrafted back in June. The Seton Hall forward averaged 17.5 PPG, 4.8 RPG, and 2.0 APG during his senior season in 2017/18. He also posted a shooting line of .498/.373/.736 and knocked down a career-best 1.8 threes per game.

The Clippers, who also signed Rodriguez’s college teammate Angel Delgado to a two-way contract this offseason, had Rodriguez play for their Summer League team in July. In six games in Las Vegas, the 22-year-old posted 7.0 PPG on 34.6% shooting.

While Rodriguez is poised to attend camp with the Clippers, he’s more likely to end up playing for the club’s G League affiliate, the Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario. L.A.’s NBA squad has 15 players on guaranteed contracts, plus Patrick Beverley and Tyrone Wallace on non-guaranteed deals, and both of its two-way contract slots are full as well.

If Rodriguez is cut by the Clippers and then spends two months with the team’s G League affiliate, his Exhibit 10 deal will put him in line for a bonus worth up to $50K.

Wallace Can't Be Traded Without Consent

  • Shooting guard Tyrone Wallace can’t be traded by the Clippers without his consent as a result of Los Angeles matching his offer sheet, salary cap expert Albert Nahmad tweets. The restricted free agent signed a two-year, $2.9MM offer sheet with the Pelicans but the Clippers opted to match it on Wednesday despite a roster logjam. The Clippers are prohibited from trading Wallace to the Pelicans for one year, Nahmad adds.

Clippers Match Offer Sheet For Tyrone Wallace

The Clippers have matched the Pelicans’ offer sheet for guard Tyrone Wallace, according to a team press release.

“We identified Tyrone as a versatile, competitive and tough-minded player who adds to the organizational culture,” Clippers president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank said in a statement. “Ty worked hard with our staff at Agua Caliente and Los Angeles, and his growth has been a reflection of his commitment to getting better. Together with our team’s player development program, Ty demonstrated impressive improvement and contributed meaningfully to our team last season. We are excited to welcome Ty back to the Clippers.”

The Pelicans signed Wallace on Monday to an offer sheet worth the veteran’s minimum, approximately $2.9MM over two years. The Clippers had two days once Wallace signed the offer sheet to decide whether to match it or let him go.

It was generally assumed the Clippers wouldn’t match the offer sheet for the 6’5” restricted free agent, who played last season on a two-way deal. With Wallace back in the mix, the Clips now have 15 players with guaranteed deals, plus non-guaranteed contracts for Wallace and Patrick Beverley, so they’ll have to trade or release a couple of those players by the end of the preseason.

Still, as ESPN cap expert Bobby Marks points out (via Twitter), even though retaining Wallace doesn’t help the Clippers clear their roster logjam, there’s little risk involved in bringing him back for the time being. His new deal features a partial guarantee of $300K (as of September 12), but won’t become fully guaranteed until the new year, and the second season is fully non-guaranteed, with no trigger dates.

The Clippers will now have the opportunity to evaluate Wallace and the rest of their roster in training camp, and will only be out $300K if they decide that the second-year guard isn’t part of their plans after all. That wouldn’t be a terrible outcome for Wallace either, as he’d have the opportunity to reach unrestricted free agency after having collected $300K for a few weeks of work.

With 17 players now vying for 15 spots in L.A., Jawun Evans‘ roster spot becomes even more precarious. The 6’0″ Evans has a guaranteed contract, but it’s only worth the minimum and doesn’t feature any guaranteed money beyond 2018/19. The Clippers also have numerous point guard options, including Patrick Beverley, Avery Bradley, Milos Teodosic, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Clippers’ Decision On Tyrone Wallace Due Soon

The Clippers have until the end of Wednesday to decide whether or not to match the Pelicans‘ offer sheet for Tyrone Wallace, according to Keith Smith of (Twitter link), who hears from a source that L.A. received the signed offer sheet on Monday. RealGM’s log of NBA transactions confirms that Wallace signed his offer sheet with New Orleans on September 3.

[RELATED: Pelicans, Tyrone Wallace agree to offer sheet]

Under the NBA’s current Collective Bargaining Agreement, a team has just two days after receiving an offer sheet to decide whether or not to exercise the right of first refusal. If the Clippers decide not to match the Pelicans’ offer for Wallace, his deal with New Orleans will become official.

Wallace, who finished last season on a two-way contract with the Clippers, received a qualifying offer from the team in June. For two-way players, a qualifying offer is equivalent to another two-way contract offer, with a $50K guarantee. So even though the reported terms of Wallace’s deal with the Pelicans are modest – the veteran’s minimum for two years, with a $300K partial guarantee due next week – they’re more player-friendly than his QO from L.A.

Matching Wallace’s offer sheet wouldn’t cost the Clippers much financially, but a roster logjam makes it unlikely that they’ll bring back the former second-round pick. For now, the Clippers have 15 players with guaranteed salaries, plus Patrick Beverley on a non-guaranteed deal, so they’ll already have to trade or release one veteran on a guaranteed contract to reach the 15-man regular season limit. Retaining Wallace would force the club to make another preseason roster decision.

Additionally, the Clippers’ backcourt is so crowded that there probably wouldn’t be many minutes available for Wallace if he were to return to Los Angeles. Beverley, Lou Williams, Avery Bradley, Milos Teodosic, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Jerome Robinson, Sindarius Thornwell, and Jawun Evans are all currently under contract with the franchise.

Pelicans, Tyrone Wallace Agree To Offer Sheet

SEPTEMBER 4, 12:42pm: Wallace’s two-year offer sheet with the Pelicans will feature a $300K partial guarantee as of September 12, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

SEPTEMBER 3, 11:55am: The Pelicans’ offer sheet for Wallace is a two-year, minimum salary deal that is partially guaranteed, sources tell ESPN’s Ian Begley (Twitter link). The cap hits would be $1,349,383 for year one and $1,588,231 for year two.

SEPTEMBER 3, 11:26am: The Pelicans have reached an agreement with restricted free agent guard Tyrone Wallace, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who reports (via Twitter) that Wallace will sign an offer sheet with New Orleans.

Wallace finished the 2017/18 season on a two-way contract with the Clippers, who extended a qualifying offer to the rookie guard. The 24-year-old isn’t a traditional restricted NBA free agent like Rodney Hood or Patrick McCaw, but he’s a two-way RFA, which essentially gives the Clips the same rights — they’d have the opportunity to match the Pelicans’ offer sheet.

A former second-round pick out of the University of California, Wallace made his NBA debut for the Clippers last season after signing a two-way deal with the club, and became a crucial part of L.A.’s rotation. In total, Wallace appeared in 30 games (19 starts), averaging 9.7 PPG, 3.5 RPG, and 2.4 APG in 28.4 minutes per contest.

Wallace was one of a handful of point guards to work out for the Pelicans in August as the club sought depth at the position. Ty Lawson, Darius Morris, and Erick Green were among the other free agents who earned a look from New Orleans, but the team apparently liked what it saw from Wallace. If the Pelicans add Wallace or another point guard to their regular season roster to join Elfrid Payton and Frank Jackson, it would allow Jrue Holiday to see more action off the ball.

Assuming Wallace officially signs his agreed-upon offer sheet with the Pelicans, the Clippers would have two days to decide whether or not to match it. The Clips already have an overcrowded backcourt and a full roster, so they may simply let Wallace go. Still, the Pelicans’ cap flexibility is limited and their offer will have to be for the minimum salary, so it’s not out of the question that L.A. would match the offer and figure out its roster logjam later.

The Clippers currently have 15 players on guaranteed salaries, plus Patrick Beverley‘s non-guaranteed contract.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.