Luke Kennard

Clippers Notes: Beverley, Rondo, Kennard, Batum

Clippers guard Patrick Beverley will face a suspension at the start of next season for shoving Chris Paul from behind in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reports. The incident occurred during the fourth quarter of the Suns’ clinching victory. Beverley has since apologized on Twitter, stating, “@CP3 emotions got the best of me last night gang. My bad wasn’t meant for you. Congrats on making it to the Finals. Best of Luck.”

We have more on the Clippers:

  • With Kawhi Leonard dealing with an unknown knee injury and potentially opting out, and Reggie Jackson and Nicolas Batum headed to unrestricted free agency, the team faces an uncertain future after reaching the conference finals for the first time, Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times writes. The expiring contracts of Beverley and Rajon Rondo could be used as trade chips, and the Clips could also explore trade options for Luke Kennard, whose didn’t play up to expectations after signing a four-year extension, Greif adds.
  • Batum isn’t sure what his future holds but he’s grateful to the organization for reviving his career after it went sour in Charlotte, according to Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times. “Now look where I am right now, just incredible. It’s amazing to what happened to me this year,” he said. “I can’t thank enough the Clippers’ organization for giving me a chance to be a basketball player again. I wasn’t sure what I could do this year, and they give me a chance to be a player again.”
  • In case you missed it, Paul George believes the team would have made the Finals if Leonard was healthy. He’s also eager to recruit players for next season. Get the details here.

Mavericks, Heat Would Be Top Suitors For Kawhi Leonard In Free Agency

The Mavericks and Heat plan to make a “hard push” to add Clippers star Kawhi Leonard this summer and other teams will be in the mix as well, sources tell Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer. Leonard holds a player option for next season and is expected to bypass a $36MM salary to become a free agent.

Some executives consider Dallas to be in the best position to land Leonard because of the chance to play alongside Luka Doncic and the ability of the front office to create cap room or work out a sign-and-trade arrangement. Leonard has spent several years with Nike and has a strong relationship with longtime executive Nico Harrison, who was recently hired as the Mavericks’ general manager.

O’Connor notes that Leonard tried to talk Jimmy Butler into joining him with the Clippers two years ago before the team traded for Paul George. Butler opted for Miami, and O’Connor suggests that Leonard might have an interest in forming a partnership there. The Heat don’t have a realistic path for creating enough cap space to add Leonard in free agency and would have to rely on a sign-and-trade.

The Knicks do have plenty of cap room and will be in the market for any available star, O’Connor adds, and virtually any team would try to work out the details if Leonard shows an interest in joining them.

Even so, O’Connor states that there are plenty of indications Leonard will re-sign with the Clippers. He’s originally from Los Angeles and purchased a $17.1MM home in the area in March.

O’Connor foresees a lot of roster changes this summer, whether Leonard returns or not. Serge Ibaka has a $9.7MM player option, and Reggie Jackson and Nicolas Batum are both headed for unrestricted free agency. Keeping Jackson has become a priority after his stellar postseason, but the demand for him will be high and he could move beyond the Clippers’ price range.

L.A. is already in luxury tax territory, O’Connor notes, and adding more salary would be expensive. The team’s only path for signing a player will be the $5.9MM taxpayer midlevel exception. The Clippers have the No. 25 pick to offer in trade talks, but don’t own another first-rounder until 2027. They may try to move Luke Kennard, who has a four-year, $64MM extension that starts next season.

Clippers’ Beverley Has Fractured Hand, Undergoes Surgery

Clippers guard Patrick Beverley underwent surgery on Friday to repair a fracture of the fourth metacarpal bone in his left hand, the team’s PR department tweets. He’ll be re-evaluated in three or four weeks and there’s no timetable for his return.

Beverley suffered the injury while pursuing a rebound in the fourth quarter against Phoenix on Thursday. He had just returned to action after missing nearly four weeks due to a right knee injury.

Beverley has started all 31 games he’s played this season. The defensive specialist is averaging 8.0 PPG, 3.6 RPG and 2.1 APG.

Beverley, 32, is signed through next season. He’s making $13.3MM this season and will bank $14.3MM in his walk year.

Given there’s no timetable for his return, Beverley could be out until the postseason. Beverley’s injury opens the door for more playing time for Reggie Jackson, recently-acquired Rajon Rondo and Terance Mann. Luke Kennard could also see additional ball-handling duties.

Clippers Notes: Rondo, George, Cousins, Zubac, Kennard

Rajon Rondo will try to maximize the production of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George when he’s on the court for the Clippers, Mark Medina of USA Today writes. “I’ll try to get our two main guys the ball in a lot easier spots as far as them not having to work so hard to get the ball against a set defense,” Rondo said. “If we’re able to create the stops and get out on the break, it’s my job to advance the ball and let those guys attack one-on-one before the defense gets set.” Rondo has already noted opponent tendencies that his teammates have found helpful, Medina adds.

We have more on the Clippers:

  • George has no issue with Rondo jumping right in as a team leader and sage voice, according to Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN“Rondo’s a leader, you know the point guard, he’s a leader,” George said. “We’re going to listen to him. I look at him as a leader, a leader of this group. He’ll hold a lot of weight. He holds a lot of weight in the locker room. As he gets more comfortable within our system, getting games under his feet, he’ll hold us accountable.”
  • DeMarcus Cousins‘ 10-day contract will pay him $175,668, with $110,998 counting toward the cap, ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets. Cousins was officially signed on Monday to provide frontcourt depth with Serge Ibaka currently out due to a back injury.
  • A couple of tweaks could help both the starting lineup and second unit. A Western Conference scout told the Los Angeles Times’ Dan Woike the team should keep Ivica Zubac in the starting lineup, even when Ibaka returns. A executive within the conference believes the coaching staff should unleash Luke Kennard as the primary second-unit point guard.

Pacific Notes: Lakers, Poole, Kennard, Ramsey

As a hard-capped team lacking in tradeable pieces, the Lakers will find it difficult to make a significant deal before this month’s deadline, according to Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register. Their best bargaining chip heading into the season, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, hasn’t lived up to his $12MM contract. Goon suggests the best the team could hope for is to sign Andre Drummond if the Cavaliers choose to buy out the exiled center.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Warriors guard Jordan Poole made a strong impression after being recalled from the G League and he could eventually supplant Brad Wanamaker as the backup point, Anthony Slater of The Athletic writes. Poole had 26 points in 26 minutes in a loss to Phoenix on Thursday. The 2019 first-round pick averaged 22.4 PPG in 11 G League contests with Santa Cruz.
  • Luke Kennard‘s last outing was a promising development for the Clippers, Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times notes. Kennard contributed 14 points and four assists in 21 minutes against Washington. After acquiring Kennard in a multi-team trade during the offseason, the Clippers signed Kennard to a four-year, $64MM extension in December.
  • The Kings recalled rookie guard Jahmi’us Ramsey from the G League’s Agua Caliente Clippers, according to a team press release. Ramsey appeared in 12 games at the Orlando bubble and averaged 9.8 PPG in 21.0 MPG. The second-round pick has seen action in four games with Sacramento this season.

L.A. Notes: George, Leonard, Schröder, LeBron

The Clippers picked up a win over the league-leading Jazz Friday night as L.A.’s starting lineup was together for the first time since January 24, writes Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times. Paul George, Kawhi Leonard and Nicolas Batum all returned from injuries, with George and Batum playing under minutes restrictions. George scored 15 points in 27 minutes after missing the past seven games with swelling in a toe on his right foot.

“Got to get back to that basketball conditioning and get that wind back to where it was,” George said. “As much as I would’ve loved to play, I probably would’ve hurt the team being on the floor past the minutes I played.”

Leonard, who had been dealing with a contusion in his lower left leg, wore a compression sleeve with padding underneath his knee as he logged 38 minutes. Batum was back on the court after missing two games with a concussion.

“We’re all pros, I think that starting lineup all played 10-plus years so that’s how we can sort of get a rhythm early,” Leonard said. “But it takes time, you haven’t seen those bodies on the floor. Obviously, playing with me and PG is a lot different. We might isolate sometimes or take some tough shots so it’s just all that combined. And that’s why we got to keep playing and staying healthy.”

There’s more from Los Angeles:

  • Luke Kennard was replaced in the rotation Friday by Terance Mann, notes Law Murray of The Athletic, who adds that Mann earned more playing time with his performance while George was sidelined.
  • Lakers guard Dennis Schröder, who is in the NBA’s health and safety protocol, tested negative for COVID-19 but will have to quarantine for at least a week, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN. Coach Frank Vogel offered an update on Schröder before tonight’s game, saying the team hopes to have him back for Friday’s contest against the Trail Blazers. Wesley Matthews started tonight in Schröder’s place.
  • The Lakers face a difficult decision about whether to increase LeBron James‘ playing time while Anthony Davis is injured, writes Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register. L.A. is in a tight race for the top spot in the West, but is concerned about not wearing down James before the playoffs. Goon notes that his minutes have already increased from 31.4 per game in December to 37.7 in February.

Western Notes: Schroder, Allen, Grizzlies, Kennard

Dennis Schroder‘s contract situation is one of the reasons why Alex Caruso isn’t logging more minutes, Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register speculates. After acquiring Schroder from the Thunder during the offseason, the Lakers are hoping to convince him to sign an extension instead of allowing him to enter unrestricted free agency this offseason. That’s why it is in the team’s best interests to keep Schroder in a starting role and give him steady minutes even though his offensive production has dipped significantly compared to last season.

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • Grizzlies guard Grayson Allen will not be active on Saturday against San Antonio due to the league’s health and safety protocols, according to Evan Barnes of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. Allen joined center Jonas Valanciunas on the list, as Memphis prepares to play for the first time since January 18. Valanciunas indicated on social media he’s recovered from COVID-19 and rejoined the team, though he’s not expected to play until next week.
  • The Grizzlies will allow MVP season ticket holders to attend games starting on February 4 against Houston, Barnes indicates in a separate story. That will raise capacity inside FedExForum to just under 2,000 fans, or 11% capacity. The Grizzlies have allowed up to 74 season ticket holders to sit courtside, as well as 220 additional fans in suites and club boxes.
  • Luke Kennard missed a good chunk of last season with Detroit due to tendinitis in both knees. Now a key reserve for the Clippers, Kennard is grateful for all the rehab he last season, as he told Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times. “It helped so much more than I could have thought and now I’m feeling great, my body feels great and I’m moving well,” Kennard said. “I hated it at the time — didn’t hate it, but it just took a while. It was pretty hard. Looking back now, I’m grateful and thankful I went through it.” Kennard signed a four-year extension in December.
  • Even if the Warriors show improvement over the course of the season, they’re no better than the best of a mediocre group of Western Conference teams contending for a playoff berth, Anthony Slater of The Athletic writes.

Contract Details: Isaac, Fultz, Kennard, White

The terms of Jonathan Isaac‘s four-year extension with the Magic are a little more favorable than initially reported, according to John Hollinger of The Athletic and Bobby Marks of ESPN (Twitter link).

Originally said to be an $80MM deal, Isaac’s new contract actually has a base value of $69.6MM, or $17.4MM per year. It also includes $2.6MM in annual incentives that he’ll receive for each season in which he plays in 70 of 82 games (or the prorated equivalent in a shortened season). So Isaac will earn the full $80MM only if he stays healthy enough to appear in 70 or more games for four consecutive seasons starting in 2021/22.

The Magic further protected themselves by including Exhibit 3 language in the deal, per Hollinger and Marks. While the exact details of that language are unclear, an Exhibit 3 clause allows a team to limit or eliminate a player’s salary protection in the event of a specific injury — presumably, for Isaac, the language will cover any ongoing issues related to his left knee, following this year’s left ACL tear.

Here are a few more details on recently-signed extensions:

  • Markelle Fultz‘s three-year, $50MM extension with the Magic includes guaranteed $16.5MM salaries in each of the first two seasons, according to Hollinger and Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). The $17MM third-year salary is partially guaranteed for just $2MM. Fultz also has $1MM in unlikely annual incentives for winning the Most Improved Player award, says Hollinger.
  • Luke Kennard‘s four-year, $56MM extension with the Clippers includes a fourth-year team option, so only about $41.2MM is fully guaranteed, tweets Smith. However, Kennard can also easily achieve $1.1MM in annual incentives by playing in at least 66 games or logging 1,772 minutes ($620,454) and by playing in the first round of the playoffs ($477,273), reports Hollinger. Kennard’s other annual incentives include $143,182 apiece for making the Conference Finals and NBA Finals, $190,909 for winning a title, and $334,091 for a defensive rating below 105, according to Hollinger.
  • Derrick White‘s four-year extension with the Spurs has a guaranteed base value of $70MM and is structured as an increasing deal with annual 8% raises, tweets Smith. There are $1.25MM per year in incentives, according to Hollinger: $500K for appearing in 70 games, $500K for making 185 three-pointers, and $250K for making an All-Defense team. White has only made 135 career three-pointers in three seasons, including 79 in 2019/20.

Clippers Sign Luke Kennard To Four-Year Extension

DECEMBER 22, 2:05pm: Kennard’s extension includes a team option for the fourth year, reports Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link).


DECEMBER 21, 5:13pm: The Clippers have officially announced Kennard’s new contract extension.

“We are excited to secure a commitment from a dynamic, emerging young player who continues to grow every day,” Clippers president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank said in a statement. “We have been impressed with Luke’s versatility and maturity, and it’s been a privilege to get to know him better during this training camp. We believe he is a fantastic fit for our organization and we are delighted he feels the same.”


DECEMBER 21, 3:22pm: The Clippers and guard Luke Kennard have reached an agreement on a four-year, $64MM rookie scale contract extension, agents Aaron Mintz and Dave Spahn tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

The deal includes $56MM in guaranteed money, plus $8MM in additional bonuses that are considered attainable, tweets Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times.

It’s an impressive number for Kennard, who missed much of the 2019/20 season due to knee issues. He played well when healthy, averaging 15.8 PPG, 4.1 APG, and 3.5 RPG with a .442/.399/.893 shooting line in 28 games (32.9 MPG).

The Pistons’ new front office sent Kennard to Los Angeles in a three-team offseason trade that saw Saddiq Bey and Rodney McGruder land in Detroit. The 24-year-old’s asking price on an extension – along with his injury history and the team’s change in direction – played a part in Detroit’s decision to move him, tweets James L. Edwards III of The Athletic.

The Clippers’ investment in Kennard suggests his new club has confidence that his knee problems are behind him. If he earns the full $16MM per year on his new deal, that would put Kennard in the same neighborhood of recent free agent signees like Davis Bertans ($16MM per year), Marcus Morris ($16MM), and Malik Beasley ($15MM).

New contracts for Morris, Paul George, and now Kennard have pushed the Clippers well over the projected cap and likely into luxury tax territory for the 2021/22 season, notes ESPN’s Bobby Marks (via Twitter).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Clippers Notes: Kennard, Leonard, West, Kabengele

After a pair of uninspiring games to start the preseason, Luke Kennard promised his Clippers teammates he would become more aggressive, write Mirjam Swanson of The Orange County Register. Kennard delivered on Thursday night, coming off the bench to score 13 points and hit 3-of-4 three-point attempts.

“After our first scrimmage in training camp, I just told him, ‘Be aggressive, be who you are,’” coach Tyronn Lue said. “‘If you’re doing too much, I’ll let you know – and I doubt I would ever say that.’ And I told him, ‘Kawhi (Leonard) and (Paul George), they need that from you. They want that from you. So don’t come here trying to fit in, trying to please guys. Just play your game, and then we’ll make sure we tailor your game around our offensive foundation.’”

Kennard is getting used to competition again after being shut down for more than a year. He was sidelined by knee tendinitis last December with the Pistons, and the league went on hiatus before he could return. The Clippers picked him up in a three-team trade on draft night.

There’s more on the Clippers:

  • Leonard has responded to charges that the team and executive board member Jerry West used improper tactics to lure him to L.A., tweets Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times. According to a TMZ report, Johnny Wilkes, who claims to be Leonard’s friend, is suing West for $2.5MM. “That has nothing to do with me swaying my mind to go somewhere,” Leonard said. “I’m from L.A. and I grew up here my whole life and out here people try to find any way to get some money, so he probably won’t be the last. I know a lot of people out here.” TMZ has published a voicemail allegedly left by West.
  • Mfiondu Kabengele remains in the Clippers’ plans for the future, even though the team elected not to take him to Orlando for the restart, Greif writes in a full story. President of basketball operations Lawrence Frank said it was difficult to decide who was brought to the Disney World campus. “We obviously were in a championship and still are in a championship contending mode, and we prioritize performance and medical for the playing group,” Frank explained. “You would have loved to have brought Fi there. Fi has a contagious personality. He stayed engaged throughout. He would jump on Zooms and watch practice. He would talk to his teammates. He talked to the staff. He kind of lived the journey remotely.” 
  • ESPN’s Kevin Arnovitz examines how the Clippers can fix the flaws that caused them to underachieve last season with a second-round exit after adding two All-Stars.