Lou Williams

Pacific Notes: Fox, Warren, Waiters, Williams

De’Aaron Fox becomes eligible for his rookie scale extension this offseason and he’s strengthening his case for a high-end offer. Even though the Kings lost their first three games during the restart, their potent point guard averaged 26.7 PPG and 6.0 APG, James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area notes. He followed that up with a 30-point, 10-assist outing in the Kings’ victory over the Pelicans on Thursday.

“I definitely feel confident that we’re seeing what kind of player we’re going to have here as the future plays out,” Kings coach Luke Walton said of Fox.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • T.J. Warren‘s explosive scoring has been one of the biggest stories of the restart. The Suns traded him to the Pacers last offseason in a salary dump but Warren claims to harbor no grudges against his former team, as IndianaSportsCoverage.com relays. “I don’t have no ill blood between anybody,” he said. “I’m just fortunate enough to be doing what I’m doing, playing basketball at the highest level. With me, it’s all love.” Warren has two years and $24.5MM remaining on his contract, which is increasingly looking like a bargain.
  • Dion Waiters has been getting steady playing time with the Lakers as Rajon Rondo mends from a thumb injury, Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register notes. Waiters is averaging 10 PPG during the restart despite shooting poorly from 3-point range. “Situation like that, you just try to take full advantage of it ’til Rondo get back and things like that,” Waiters said.  The enigmatic guard was signed by the Lakers for the remainder of the season just prior to the suspension of play in March.
  • Clippers guard Lou Williams took a lot of flack for visiting an Atlanta strip club after temporarily leaving the Orlando campus and he admits to making a bad decision, Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN writes. “It’s been documented how much I talk about this place, how much I eat there,” Williams said of Magic City. “I just did something that was routine for me. … At the time, I thought I was making a responsible decision. After looking back on it, with everything going on in the world, the pandemic, maybe it wasn’t the best-quality decision.” Williams is back in action after clearing quarantine.

Lou Williams Set To Return For Clippers

Clippers guard Lou Williams has cleared quarantine and will be available to play on Tuesday against the Suns, agent Wallace Prather tells Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Williams, who left the NBA’s Walt Disney World campus last month to attend a funeral, was photographed at popular Atlanta strip club Magic City during his absence. Although Williams said he was only there for the food – Magic City’s lemon pepper BBQ wings are named after him – he had to undergo a 10-day quarantine upon returning to Orlando.

Players who leave the NBA’s campus with permission can quarantine for as few as four days when they return, but any potential violations of the league’s protocols can instead result in a 10-to-14-day quarantine period, as was the case for Williams.

The extended quarantine period sidelined Williams for the Clippers’ first two seeding games, but it sounds like he’ll be ready to resume his sixth-man role on Tuesday vs. Phoenix. His return figures to result in a reduction in minutes for the likes of Reggie Jackson and Landry Shamet.

With Williams back, the Clippers are nearing full strength. However, L.A. is still missing Montrezl Harrell, who is taking some time away from the team to deal with his grief following the death of his grandmother.

Pacific Notes: Kings, Len, LeBron, Williams, Warriors

The Kings, who previously furloughed some employees starting on June 1, have now laid off some staffers as well, according to Sean Cunningham of ABC10 Sacramento (Twitter links). According to Cunningham, no members of the Kings’ basketball operations department were part of this week’s layoffs.

Cunningham estimates that about 100 employees within the organization were impacted by the earlier furloughs. And based on a statement from John Rinehart, the Kings’ president of business operations, it sounds like a portion of those workers have now been laid off.

“As part of the organization’s ongoing evolution of efforts to align with the changes in our business, we have made the difficult decision to transition a portion of previously furloughed full-time roles to a reduction in workforce effective July 31 and extend the furlough period for the remaining segment of previously furloughed employees to tentatively November 1 due to continued uncertainty surrounding the resumption of live events at Golden 1 Center resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic,” Rinehart said, per Cunningham.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • Kings center Alex Len, who reported to the NBA campus late after a bout with COVID-19, will likely miss the team’s first summer game on Friday, head coach Luke Walton said today (Twitter link via James Ham of NBC Sports California). However, it shouldn’t be too much longer before Len is ready to go.
  • Within an ESPN.com piece about the Lakers‘ unusual 2019/20 season, Dave McMenamin suggests that LeBron James wasn’t thrilled about Lakers players being asked last fall to address the NBA/China controversy before commissioner Adam Silver or Rockets GM Daryl Morey did. Morey’s tweet supporting Hong Kong protestors instigated that dispute between the league and its Chinese partners.
  • Lou Williams‘ violation of the NBA’s protocols means he’s serving a 10-day quarantine and missing at least two seeding games, but his Clippers teammates and head coach Doc Rivers have Williams’ back, as Mark Medina of USA Today writes. “Lou’s one of the most-liked guys in the whole organization and is always trying to get everyone together on the road,” center Ivica Zubac said. “Lou is a true leader. The fact that everyone is coming to the defense of him speaks everything about him.”
  • Anthony Slater of The Athletic takes a deep dive into James Wiseman‘s potential fit with the Warriors, pointing out that if Golden State does end up using its top-five pick this fall, it will represent an opportunity to secure a long-term building block — not just a role player who can fit in with the current core.

Western Notes: Clippers, Lakers, House, Blazers

The Lakers and Clippers will play in the second game of Thursday’s “re-opening” night. However, both teams could be missing key players.

According to Anthony Slater of The Athletic, Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell are listed as out on the status report, while Patrick Beverley is considered questionable for the Clippers (Twitter link). For the Lakers, Anthony Davis is listed as questionable, while LeBron James, Kyle Kuzma, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope are listed as probable and should play.

With Williams in quarantine for 10 days, the Clippers are hoping Beverley, who just returned to the NBA’s Walt Disney Campus after being away for a personal matter, can step in.

Davis practiced on Wednesday with goggles on after being poked in the eye last week against the Magic. All signs point to the Lakers forward playing tomorrow night.

Here’s more from around the Western Conference:

  • Clippers head coach Doc Rivers spoke at length about how deep his team’s roster is despite missing multiple players, writes Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. “Well, a deep roster is built for that,” Rivers said. “And we’ve done that. Now, when you have five and six guys out at one time, that’s asking too much on any roster. By the time the [seeding] games start, we won’t have that many out, but we’ll have maybe two to three key guys out, and that’s asking a lot.” As previously noted, Los Angeles will be without Williams and Harrell on Thursday night. But Kawhi Leonard echoes the same sentiment of his head coach about the depth of the roster.“I knew that we had a pretty deep squad,” he said. “I knew how talented we could be. It’s about executing now.”
  • With Eric Gordon being sidelined for two weeks with an ankle injury, Danuel House will be inserted into the Rockets’ starting lineup, per Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). This season, House has started in 47 games for Houston, while averaging 10.2 PPG and 4.2 RPG. He is also shooting 36.3 percent from three-point range.
  • Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts told reporters this week that he expects to have a full team available for Friday’s seeding game against the Grizzlies, per Jason Quick of The Athletic (Twitter link). Portland currently trails Memphis by 3.5 games for the eighth seed in the Western Conference playoffs.

Lou Williams Must Quarantine For 10 Days

Lou Williams will be required to go through a 10-day quarantine after visiting a strip club during his absence from the Walt Disney World campus, according to Sam Amick, Shams Charania and Joe Vardon of The Athletic. He will miss the Clippers‘ first two seeding games against the Lakers on Thursday and the Pelicans on Saturday.

More details have emerged about Williams’ trip to Magic City in Atlanta during an excused absence to attend a funeral. Sources tell the authors that Williams was part of a group, including rapper Jack Harlow, that went to the club for dinner Thursday after the funeral viewing. They didn’t stay long, sources add, and were there mainly for the food.

“Ask any of my teammates what’s my favorite restaurant in Atlanta,” Williams tweeted Saturday night. “Ain’t nobody partying. Chill out lol #Maskon #inandout.” He later added, “Magic City is my favorite restaurant in the world.”

The funeral for Williams’ friend took place Friday and he returned to the WDW campus Saturday.

Williams’ situation is one of many for the short-handed Clippers, who are just four days away from their opening game. Ivica Zubac is in quarantine after joining the team Friday, and Landry Shamet is reportedly headed to Orlando after testing positive for COVID-19 earlier this month. Patrick Beverley and Montrezl Harrell are both away from the team on excused absences.

Asked Saturday about whether he expected a full roster for Thursday’s game, coach Doc Rivers responded, “My guess is I would doubt it.”

NBA Investigating Why Lou Williams Left Orlando

The NBA is investigating what Clippers guard Lou Williams did during his absence from Orlando to determine how long he will be required to quarantine, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne tweets that pictures emerged of Williams at an Atlanta gentleman’s club Thursday night alongside rapper Jack Harlow, who later deleted the post from Instagram. Harlow claimed Friday that Williams wasn’t at the club, tweeting, “That was an old pic of me and Lou. I was just reminiscing cuz I miss him.”

Sources tell Shelburne that NBA security interviewed Williams, who admitted briefly being at the Magic City gentleman’s club on Thursday (Twitter link).

Williams received permission to leave Walt Disney World this week, making him the third Clipper in the past few days to exit the campus environment to attend to personal matters. Coach Doc Rivers confirmed that Williams returned today, according to Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN (Twitter link).

Williams will be required to quarantine for four days if he maintained negative test results over each of the past seven days. However, a longer quarantine could be imposed, depending on the results of the league investigation. The Clippers will begin their seeding games Thursday against the Lakers.

“I can’t share much with his journey (since leaving Orlando), I wasn’t on that journey with him,” Rivers told reporters (Twitter link). “But he’s back here, I can tell you that much. Those (pictures) got out and that’s something that we obviously didn’t enjoy seeing or like.”

If Williams’ quarantine is extended to 10 days, he will miss two seeding games and would forfeit up to $150K in salary, notes Bobby Marks of ESPN (Twitter link).

Lou Williams Temporarily Leaves NBA Campus

A third Clippers player has left the NBA’s Walt Disney World campus, according to Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times (Twitter link), who hears that Lou Williams has been excused for personal reasons and is expected to return soon.

Williams joins Montrezl Harrell and Patrick Beverley as Clippers players who have left the Disney campus to attend to personal matters within the last few days.

While it seems likely that those three players will all return well before the postseason begins in mid-August, the Clippers could have another absence to prepare for down the road. According to Tania Ganguli of The Los Angeles Times (Twitter link), forward Marcus Morris said today that he has a son due in September and plans to be there for the birth.

“Wouldn’t miss it for the world,” he said.

Depending on when exactly Morris leaves and how the Clippers fare in the playoffs, he could end up missing a portion of the Western Conference Semifinals or Western Finals.

Players who leave the NBA’s campus with team and/or league approval must quarantine for four days upon returning, as long as they return negative coronavirus tests every day they’re away (or for each of their last seven days away, if they’re gone for more than a week). Failing to take those tests on a daily basis would result in a quarantine period of up to 10-14 days — obviously, a positive COVID-19 test would result in a longer absence.

L.A. Notes: Noah, Williams, Leonard, LeBron

Joakim Noah, who recently signed with the Clippers for the rest of the season, might have joined the team earlier if not for an accident in September, writes Garrett Chorpenning of Sports Illustrated. Noah had a workout scheduled, but was forced to cancel after getting hurt.

“In September, I had a freak accident and cut my Achilles, and you know, I told myself that that’s just not how I wanted to end my career,” Noah told reporters today. “So you know, the day after the surgery, I was in the gym working out with the hope of making this team. I knew that if I didn’t keep training and if I got a call from the Clippers and I wasn’t ready, I knew I would have regrets for the rest of my life. … Being in a position to win a championship, it’s not something that I take for granted.”

The 35-year-old center finally joined the team on a 10-day contract in March, just two days before the hiatus began. Late last month, he signed a deal that covers the remainder of this season and is non-guaranteed for 2020/21.

There’s more regarding the L.A. teams:

  • Clippers guard Lou Williams was “50-50” about coming to Orlando, but respected the results of a team vote, tweets Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. “We decided our decision was going to be everybody or nobody,” Williams said. “… We decided to come as a group. I’m part of the group. I have a lot of thoughts, ideas I felt strongly about personally, but I represent a group.”
  • After not traveling with the Clippers to Orlando, Kawhi Leonard joined the team last night, tweets Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. Coach Doc Rivers said he hasn’t decided what to do with Leonard’s minutes yet, but having a fully healthy team will make it easier to rest him, tweets Jovan Buha of The Athletic.
  • Lakers star LeBron James will wear his name on the back of his jersey rather than one of the league-approved messages regarding social justice, according to ESPN. James said the available options “didn’t seriously resonate with my mission, with my goal.” He adds that he never feared that the NBA wouldn’t finish its season. “No, never crossed my mind that we did not need to play this beautiful game of basketball that brings so many people together,” James said. “That brings happiness. That brings joy to the households of so many families.”

Lou Williams Expected To Play In Restart; Beal Still Undecided

Seven players so far have opted out of the NBA’s restart this summer, but Clippers guard Lou Williams is unlikely to join that group. Despite previously expressing uncertainty about his status, Williams is expected to suit up for the Clippers as they pursue a title at Walt Disney World, head coach Doc Rivers said on Wednesday.

“As far as Lou, all indications (are) that yes, he is (playing),” Rivers said on a Zoom call, per Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.com. “Obviously, up until we get on the plane, anything can happen. But I do expect Lou to be with us. I would be very surprised if he’s not.”

Meanwhile, another high-scoring guard, Bradley Beal, remains uncertain about his status for Orlando, as Youngmisuk writes in a separate story. Beal’s teammate Davis Bertans has already pulled out due to injury concerns ahead of his upcoming free agency. Beal’s backcourt mate and fellow All-Star John Wall won’t be in attendance either, as he continues to focus on his Achilles rehab and a 2020/21 return.

According to Youngmisuk, Beal is considering health factors too as he weighs his options.

“I have yet to make (my decision),” Beal told reporters on Wednesday. “I am still working my tail off every single day as if I am playing. It is more or less a decision that will come down to the medical staff and coming back from zero to 100, and then I have some nagging stuff from the end of the year that we are trying to clean up, too. We are looking at it from all angles. I am definitely working out every single day here. It is good to be back in the facility. … I am not swayed one way or another.”

Here’s more on certain players’ participation decisions:

Restart Notes: Orlando, China, Williams, “Smart Rings”

With COVID-19 cases rising rapidly in Central Florida, Iliana Limon Romero and Roy Parry of The Orlando Sentinel examine whether it’s safe for the NBA and MLS to follow through with plans to resume their seasons at the Walt Disney World complex. They talked to several health officials, along with executives from Orlando’s teams in both leagues, who insist that the risk to players will be minimal.

“A lot of time and effort has been put into the safety protocols,” said Magic CEO Alex Martins. “We’re confident that the protocols that are in place will keep everybody on the Disney campus confined and amongst each other, and with little to no exposure of anyone else from the community. So in saying that, I’m confident that we have a safe plan in place and that despite the recent rise in cases in Florida that it will be a safe environment for all of our players, coaches and staff that are at Disney.”

Neither league has a concrete plan that would force play to stop, the authors add. Both plan to isolate any players or staff members who test positive, and several negative tests will be necessary for them to be deemed healthy. Also, representatives of both leagues maintain that the high number of COVID-19 tests they will need won’t impact their availability for medical professionals in the Orlando area.

There’s more related to the league’s restart:

  • The Chinese Basketball Association resumed play today after being shut down for nearly five months, The Associated Press reports. Games are being played in empty arenas as the semifinals started with 20 teams split into two divisions. “Everything you have experienced this season will surely write a strong stroke in the history of the CBA league, and the history will also bear in mind the hardship, dedication and contribution of each of us,” league chairman Yao Ming wrote in a message to players and fans on the CBA’s website. “As the first national large-scale sports event to be restarted in China, the CBA rematch has a strategic significance for comprehensively promoting the resumption of production and restoring life, and its social impact has exceeded the basketball itself.”
  • Clippers guard Lou Williams remains “50-50” about resuming the season, writes Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times. Williams is concerned that playing again will take the focus off the push for racial justice. The Clippers had internal discussions about how they can assist with the movement, and Williams called support from the team and the NBA office “like a weight lifted off our shoulders.”
  • Several players are expressing reservations about wearing “smart rings” in the bubble environment, with Kyle Kuzma saying it looks like a “tracking device,” according to Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today.