Clippers Rumors

Harden, Giannis, George Named MVP Finalists

Defending champion James Harden, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Paul George are the finalists for this season’s Most Valuable Player award, the league announced in a press release.

The voting is expected to be close between Harden, who averaged 36.1 PPG and 7.5 APG during the regular season, and Antetokounmpo, who carried the Bucks to the best record in the league while averaging 27.7 PPG, 12.5 RPG and 5.9 APG. George averaged 28.0 PPG, 8.2 RPG and 4.1 APG.

[RELATED: Hoops Rumors’ 2019 NBA Award Picks: Most Valuable Player]

The league also released the finalists for its other awards. The winners will be revealed during a TNT broadcast on Monday, June 24.

Deandre Ayton, Luka Doncic and Trae Young are the finalists for the Rookie of the Year award, while Lou Williams heads the field for the Sixth Man award. His Clippers teammate, Montrezl Harrell, and Domantas Sabonis are the other finalists.

Antetokounmpo and George are also finalists for the Defensive Player of the Year award along with Rudy GobertDe’Aaron Fox, D’Angelo Russell and Pascal Siakam will vie for the Most Improved Player honor, while Mike Budenholzer, Michael Malone and Doc Rivers received the most votes for the Coach of the Year award.

2019 NBA Draft Picks By Team

While the Sixers and Celtics suffered disappointing losses in the Eastern Conference Semifinals and face uncertain futures, both teams can at least fall back on the fact that they’re still loaded with draft assets. Philadelphia and Boston are two of only three NBA teams – the Hawks are the other – that possess at least four picks in the 2019 NBA draft.

As our full 2019 draft order shows, there are five other teams that more than two selections in this year’s draft. On the other end of the spectrum, nine teams own just one pick in 2018, while two teams – the Nuggets and Rockets – don’t have any selections.

To present a clearer picture of which teams are most – and least – stocked with picks for the 2019 NBA draft, we’ve rounded up all 60 picks by team in the space below. Let’s dive in…

Teams with more than two picks:

  • Atlanta Hawks (5): 8, 10, 35, 41, 44
  • Philadelphia 76ers (5): 24, 33, 34, 42, 54
  • Boston Celtics (4): 14, 20, 22, 51
  • New Orleans Pelicans (3): 1, 39, 57
  • Charlotte Hornets (3): 12, 36, 52
  • Brooklyn Nets (3): 17, 27, 31
  • San Antonio Spurs (3): 19, 29, 49
  • Sacramento Kings (3): 40, 47, 60

Teams with two picks:

  • New York Knicks: 3, 55
  • Cleveland Cavaliers: 5, 26
  • Phoenix Suns: 6, 32
  • Chicago Bulls: 7, 38
  • Minnesota Timberwolves: 11, 43
  • Detroit Pistons: 15, 45
  • Orlando Magic: 16, 46
  • Indiana Pacers: 18, 50
  • Utah Jazz: 23, 53
  • Golden State Warriors: 28, 58
  • Los Angeles Clippers: 48, 56

Teams with one pick:

  • Memphis Grizzlies: 2
  • Los Angeles Lakers: 4
  • Washington Wizards: 9
  • Miami Heat: 13
  • Oklahoma City Thunder: 21
  • Portland Trail Blazers: 25
  • Milwaukee Bucks: 30
  • Dallas Mavericks: 37
  • Toronto Raptors: 59

Teams with no picks:

  • Denver Nuggets
  • Houston Rockets

Jerry West To Return To Clippers For Another Season

Jerry West will return to the Clippers as a consultant for another season, Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times reports.

West is one of three key front office members who decided to remain with the franchise this offseason. The Wolves pursued GM Michael Winger and the Pelicans aimed to poach assistant GM Trent Redden, though both executives turned down promotions to stay in Los Angeles.

West, whose Hall-of-Fame NBA career began in 1960, joined the Clippers in June of 2017 as an advisor and he assisted in the overhaul from the Lob City era to the current state of the franchise, which is in position to pursue two max-level free agents. Kawhi Leonard is expected to be a top target this offseason. The team will also pursue Kevin Durant.

Pacific Notes: Beverley, Kerr, LeBron, Vogel

Clippers guard Patrick Beverley is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, a process the 30-year-old is looking forward to after his seventh NBA season.

Beverley, who averaged 7.6 points, 3.8 assists, 0.9 steals and 27.4 minutes in 78 games with Los Angeles this year, discussed a variety of subjects with Khari Arnold in a story posted to NBA.com this week — including where his mind stands ahead of the free agency period.

“I feel like I can play with any team,” Beverley said. “Whatever team that is, I feel like I can make an instant impact. It’s all about doing the right things. Building a new culture. Whether it’s a young team that I’m with and I have to build a new culture, or if it’s a team that’s already established and I have to figure out how can I fit in and make this team better, I’m selfless when it comes to that.”

Beverley sent a cryptic tweet to Mavericks star Luka Doncic last week, which prompted Arnold to ask him a question about potentially joining the Mavs and how he would see himself fitting in.

“Of course [I can fit in]. He’s ball dominant, makes the right plays,” Beverley said of Doncic. “If that does come, it would be me, Luka, Tim Hardaway Jr., (Kristaps) Porzingis, Courtney Lee. It’s tough when you actually think about it. But I’m going to have fun with free agency man. I work hard. I’m gonna enjoy this process.”

The Mavericks are said to be pursuing a point guard this summer and have also been linked to Hornets star Kemba Walker.

There’s more out of the Pacific Division tonight:

  • Warriors coach Steve Kerr regrets not playing his bench more in the team’s series against Houston, Mark Medina of The Mercury News writes. “I probably should’ve used them earlier,” Kerr said. Regardless, the Warriors wound up winning the series, with Kevon Looney (14 points) and Shaun Livingston (11 points) giving key performances off the bench.
  • Lakers star LeBron James is many things, but a victim isn’t one of those things, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel writes. James has had a sensational career filled with good luck, despite being shocked about Magic Johnson’s recent exit, Tyronn Lue’s contract-negotiation breakdown and an underwhelming regular season from his team.
  • Kevin Pelton of ESPN examines whether Frank Vogel will be able to turn around the Lakers in his first season as head coach. Vogel was hired by the organization this past week, with former NBA head coach Jason Kidd set to join his staff in an assistant coaching role.

Draft Notes: Zion, Norvell, Ponds, Tinkle

There’s a ton at stake this offseason for many of the teams involved in next week’s draft lottery, but there’s plenty at stake for consensus top prospect Zion Williamson as well. As ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, Mike Schmitz, Kevin Pelton, and Bobby Marks outline in an Insider-only article, not every team that has a shot at Williamson would be an ideal fit for him.

In the view of ESPN’s insiders, the Hawks, Mavericks, and Pelicans would be the most preferable landing spots for Williamson. The opportunity to play with up-and-coming play-makers – Trae Young in Atlanta, or Luka Doncic in Dallas – would help unlock Williamson’s potential.

On the other hand, ESPN’s panel doesn’t consider the Lakers, Bulls, and Sixers great fits for Williamson. Spacing is the primary concern for the Lakers and Sixers, and it’s unclear how a pairing with Joel Embiid would work. For the Bulls, Zach LaVine‘s ball dominance and Jim Boylen‘s “outdated” offense are viewed as red flags.

Here are several more draft-related notes:

  • Gonzaga sophomore guard Zach Norvell Jr. told reporters today that he intends to keep his name in the 2019 NBA draft, tweets Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports. Norvell was one of 66 prospects announced on Wednesday as a 2019 draft combine participant.
  • St. John’s guard Shamorie Ponds, another one of those 66, has workouts lined up with the Warriors, Bulls, Kings, Jazz, Celtics, and Mavericks, tweets Michael Scotto of The Athletic. Ponds is ranked as the No. 51 prospect on ESPN’s big board.
  • After working out for Utah and Philadelphia, Oregon State forward Tres Tinkle has auditions this week with the Raptors, Celtics, and Hornets, and will work out for the Hawks next week, writes Nick Daschel of The Oregonian.
  • After turning in an impressive performance at the Portsmouth Invitational, forward Jarrell Brantley (Charleston) has workouts lined up with 10 teams, including the Celtics, Nets, Timberwolves, Hornets, and Clippers, tweets Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv.

Kyler: Clippers, Raptors Viewed As Kawhi Frontrunners

While they’ll face competition from the Clippers – and likely a handful of other teams – the Raptors feel as if they’ve done all they can to gain Leonard’s trust and to make sure he understands what the future could look like if he returns, according to Kyler. That doesn’t mean Leonard won’t take meetings with other teams, or that he’s a lock to re-sign, but Toronto is at least viewed as one of the two frontrunners for the star forward, along with the Clips.

[SOURCE LINK]

  • There’s a growing belief in agent circles that the Clippers, Nets, and Pacers will be more attractive free agent destinations this summer than many league observers may have expected, writes Kyler. L.A. and Brooklyn are more likely than Indiana to land a max free agent, but the Pacers are still worth watching and could also be a player in the Mike Conley sweepstakes if the Grizzlies look to move him, Kyler notes.

Raptors Making Progress In Kawhi Sweepstakes?

The Raptors have made “pretty good progress”in their efforts to retain Kawhi Leonard, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN said on his podcast. (Hat tip to RealGM)

While the Clippers have long been considered the frontrunners when Leonard hits free agency this summer, the Raptors’ gamble by trading for Leonard last offseason might pay long-term dividends. Toronto’s success in the playoffs thus far and the bonds Leonard has formed with the team has improved the Raptors’ chances of re-signing Leonard.

They put themselves in it,” Wojnarowski said. “And when Kawhi showed up there, I’m not sure he imagined any future in Toronto. I do think it’s a serious consideration now.”

The season-long courtship has been facilitated by the emergence of young forward Pascal Siakam and Leonard’s good relationship with point guard Kyle Lowry. However, the Raptors’ main selling point is their ability to win with the group they have. The Raptors tied their conference semifinal series with Philadelphia 2-2 behind Leonard’s 39-point eruption on Sunday.

“Toronto is selling winning on him,” Wojnarowski said. “They can’t sell geography to him, I don’t think. I don’t think they can’t sell weather on him. There’s nothing they can do about that. When you have that kind of organization, you sell winning and again, the chance to make the most money.”

Leonard gave up an opportunity for a super max deal in the vicinity of $219MM when he asked out of San Antonio and was granted his wish. He can sign a five-year deal with Toronto for approximately $189MM or head elsewhere on a four-year, $141MM contract.

Summer Of “Seismic Change” Coming For Warriors?

The Warriors are on a quest to win three-straight championships and while the team remains focused on achieving that goal, internally, the franchise is preparing for a summer of change.

“Internally in Golden State, there’s a sense of let’s try to put aside what’s coming in July,” ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said on the network’s show Get Up! (h/t Tyler Conley of Bleacher Report). “Let’s try to keep our focus there and win the title, then let July play out the way it’s going to. But I think the Warriors are bracing for possibly seismic change within that organization,”

Klay Thompson is unlikely to switch teams as long as the Warriors present him with a five-year, max deal.

“If they come with a five-year, $190MM max deal for Klay Thompson, that’s done on July 1—he’s going into the new building with Steph Curry,” Woj said.

Many teams will pursue Thompson if the shooting guard does not receive that offer from Golden State. The Lakers will surely have interest in Thompson, but Wojnarowski names the Clippers as the bigger Los Angeles threat to sign the five-time All-Star.

The Clippers are one of a few teams that will have the ability to carve out two max slots. The Knicks are another franchise expected to chase a pair of superstars and Kevin Durant has been regularly linked to the Big Apple.

“I don’t know if there’s a lot of talking that has to happen between the Warriors and Kevin Durant,” Wojnarowski said. “I think he knows what it is, what he wants, and there may be nothing the Warriors can do or say to change that.”

2019 NBA Offseason Salary Cap Digest: Los Angeles Clippers

After trading away Chris Paul in the summer of 2017 and Blake Griffin at the 2018 trade deadline, the Clippers moved leading scorer Tobias Harris at 2019’s deadline. Somehow, the club looked better than ever after the exodus of its stars, posting a 18-8 record down the stretch and securing a playoff spot. While Los Angeles’ playoff run was brief, the team notched a pair of impressive victories over the Warriors before being eliminated, and now heads into the offseason well positioned to land a star.

Here’s where things currently stand for the Clippers financially, as we continue our Offseason Salary Cap Digest series for 2019:

Guaranteed Salary

Player Options

  • None

Team Options

  • None

Non-Guaranteed Salary

Restricted Free Agents

Unrestricted Free Agents / Other Cap Holds

Projected Salary Cap: $109,000,000
Projected Tax Line: $132,000,000

Offseason Cap Outlook

  • Realistic cap room projection: $56.5MM
  • This projection assumes that the Clippers retain their six players on guaranteed contracts and keep Zubac’s cap hold on their books. Hanging onto any other players would reduce this figure.
  • On the other hand, if the Clips were able to trade Gallinari without taking back any salary, they could keep Zubac and their other five guaranteed contracts and increase their cap projection $78.2MM. That would be more than enough space for two maximum salary free agents.

Cap Exceptions Available

  • Room exception: $4,760,000 4

Footnotes

  1. Thornwell’s salary becomes fully guaranteed after June 20.
  2. Wallace’s salary becomes partially guaranteed ($300K) after September 12.
  3. The salaries for two-way players don’t count against a team’s cap, but their cap holds do during the offseason.
  4. This is a projected value. In the unlikely event the Clippers remain over the cap, they’d instead have access to the full mid-level exception ($9,246,000), the bi-annual exception ($3,619,000), and three trade exceptions (their most valuable TPE is worth $9,800,000 and expires on 2/6/20).

Note: Minimum-salary and rookie-scale cap holds are estimates based on salary cap projections and could increase or decrease depending on where the cap lands.

Salary information from Basketball Insiders and RealGM was used in the creation of this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Having Successful Free Agency Imperative For Clippers