Luke Kennard

Kyrie Irving Trade Notes: Clippers’ Offer, Cap Hits, More

Before the Nets agreed to send Kyrie Irving to Dallas, the Clippers made an offer that included Luke Kennard, Terance Mann, a future first-round pick, and two first-round pick swaps, league sources tell Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer. As O’Connor notes, at least one more outgoing salary would’ve been required for the Clippers to accommodate Irving’s incoming cap hit, but he says that was the “gist” of L.A.’s offer.

Since the Clippers already owe their 2024 and 2026 first-round picks to Oklahoma City and have given OKC swap rights in 2023 and 2025, we can safely assume that their alleged offer for Irving would’ve included their 2028 first-rounder, with swap rights in 2027 and 2029 — the Stepien rule doesn’t allow teams to leave themselves without first-round picks in consecutive future years, while the “seven year rule” doesn’t permit clubs to trade draft picks more than seven years out.

For what it’s worth, ESPN’s Zach Lowe said on the latest episode of his Lowe Post podcast (YouTube link) that he doesn’t believe O’Connor’s reporting is accurate and that he thinks the Clippers’ final offer for Irving was worth less than that.

Whatever the offer was, it wasn’t enough to entice Brooklyn to make a deal, so the Clippers will now have to adjust to the fact that Irving will be playing alongside Luka Doncic for one of their conference rivals.

“Don’t make me think about it right now, please,” Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said on Monday when asked about the Mavericks‘ new backcourt duo (Twitter link via Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times). “We play them Wednesday. I don’t want to think about that already. It’s going to be a tough challenge. Kyrie’s a guy we’ve always blitzed in the past, Luka’s always a guy we’ve blitzed in the past, and now they got two of them, so like I said, it’s going to be a tough challenge for a lot of teams in the West.”

Here are a few more tidbits related to the Kyrie trade, which became official on Monday:

  • Bobby Marks of ESPN (Twitter link) has the details on the new cap hits for Irving, Dorian Finney-Smith, and Spencer Dinwiddie following the trade. The cap figures for Irving and Finney-Smith got a bump as a result of trade bonuses, while Dinwiddie’s declined because some of his bonuses are now considered unlikely instead of likely. Those bonuses are tied to his team’s playoff success and are based on the previous season’s results — they had been considered likely because the Mavericks made the Western Finals last season, but Dinwiddie’s new team, the Nets, didn’t win a playoff series in 2022.
  • Irving’s track record of recruiting star teammates was a factor in the Mavericks‘ desire to acquire him, according to Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News (Twitter link). Based on reporting at the time, it was Kyrie who convinced Kevin Durant to join him in Brooklyn back in 2019 when the two stars opted to sign with the Nets.
  • Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn said on Monday that he’s looking forward to coaching Dinwiddie and Finney-Smith, but wishes Irving nothing but the best in Dallas, per Nick Friedell of ESPN. “My interactions with Kai have always been positive,” Vaughn said. “I enjoyed coaching him. I want him to succeed. I’ll keep it that simple. We’ve had some ups and downs I guess along the way. I’ve also seen the young man score 60 points. I’ve also seen him bring his kids into the locker room. I’ve also seen him grow as an individual and be a better teammate than when I first met him. So for me, I’m going to always look at the good in people and want the good in people. And I want him to succeed.”

Cavs Rumors: Small Forward, Reddish, Hart, G. Williams, LeVert, Love

Although the Cavaliers remain on the lookout for an upgrade on the wing, there’s a “growing sense” that they don’t love the options available to them on the trade market and would be comfortable standing pat if no deal comes to fruition, writes Chris Fedor of (subscriber link).

Isaac Okoro has been impressive since becoming the full-time starter at small forward, averaging 9.2 points per game with a .500 3PT% in his last 18 games. Given how strong a defender Okoro is, he may be the Cavaliers’ best option at that spot even if his offensive game doesn’t continue to develop, according to Fedor.

Still, Fedor runs through several of the options available to Cleveland, identifying Malik Beasley, Tim Hardaway Jr., Doug McDermott, Luke Kennard, Royce O’Neale, and Hamidou Diallo as some potential players of interest, though most of them come with some caveats.

Sources tell that there are mixed feelings within the Cavaliers’ front office about Knicks forward Cam Reddish, who is considered more of a fall-back option. Reddish has talent and untapped potential, but he’ll be a free agent in a matter of months and isn’t a clear upgrade on what the team already has at small forward, Fedor explains.

Fedor adds that Trail Blazers forward Josh Hart is one player who is high on the Cavaliers’ list of targets, writing that he has “plenty of fans” within the organization and that Cleveland explored a possible sign-and-trade for him two years ago before pivoting to Lauri Markkanen.

There’s a belief around the NBA that Hart will be on the move this week, according to Fedor, who notes that the Blazer has a similar skill set to Okoro but would bring a level of experience and consistency that the former No. 5 overall pick lacks.

Here’s more on the Cavs:

  • Sources tell that the Cavaliers checked in with the Celtics about forward Grant Williams, but got the sense that he’s unavailable — or would at least cost much more than the Cavs are in position to offer.
  • Veteran wing Caris LeVert tells Fedor that he expects to remain a Cavalier through Thursday’s trade deadline. If LeVert does stick around, Cleveland would be interested in signing him beyond this season, assuming the price isn’t exorbitant, Fedor writes.
  • Although there’s no indication that he’s on the trade block, it’s worth noting that veteran forward Kevin Love has fallen out of the Cavs’ rotation as of late to make room for Dean Wade. Love, who hasn’t played since January 24, had a conversation about his role with head coach J.B. Bickerstaff, tweets Fedor.

Clippers Notes: Jackson, Powell, Morris, Kennard

After starting his first 38 games of the season, Clippers guard Reggie Jackson was moved to a reserve role earlier this month in favor of Terance Mann. The 12-year veteran still exudes positivity despite the role change, writes Janis Carr of The Orange County Register.

I just want to win so I don’t care how much I am playing, I really don’t,” Jackson said. “As long as we win, I’ll be alright. I’m an end-goal person. It’s a process. I’m just interested in the end goal. That’s it.”

The 32-year-old is in the final year of his contract, which pays him $11.2MM in 2022/23, so he will be an unrestricted free agent in the offseason.

Here’s more on the Clippers:

  • Teammates responded positively to Norman Powell‘s speech earlier this month amid a losing streak that stretched to six games, Carr writes in another story for The Orange County Register. “We had gotten off to a bad start and needed some guy to step up and speak up,” Nicolas Batum said. “No one took it personally. Sometimes things like that are good.” The Clippers have gone 5-4 since Powell told the team changes were needed, and currently have a three-game winning streak.
  • Marcus Morris exited Tuesday’s victory over the Lakers after just 10 minutes of action due to a rib contusion, Carr adds. The veteran forward is officially listed as questionable for Thursday’s contest against San Antonio. Morris has been one of the healthier members of the team, having missed just four games to this point.
  • Sharpshooter Luke Kennard could return to the lineup on Thursday, according to Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times. “I’ve been doing on-court stuff and playing live so it’s just making sure that it’s gone 100%,” Kennard said before Tuesday’s game. “I left the last road trip to come back and speed it up a little bit more. I’m ready. It’s frustrating, it’s annoying, so it’s time to come back.” The 26-year-old has been dealing with a calf strain, which he originally injured on November 15, but aggravated on January 6. He has missed nine straight games with the injury and is also listed as questionable.

L.A. Notes: Pistons, Cousins, Lakers Frontcourt, Clippers

The Lakers have long been linked to forward Bojan Bogdanovic — back when he was still on Utah and in the months since he was traded to Detroit. In an article about potential deadline buyers and sellers with Chris Mannix, Howard Beck of Sports Illustrated hears that the Lakers and Pistons “have discussed a deal that would include both Bogdanovic and Nerlens Noel.”

Rumors last month indicated that the Lakers offered Patrick Beverley, Kendrick Nunn and a protected first-round pick for Bogdanovic, but this is the first time we’ve seen them linked to Noel this season. Adding his $9.24MM salary to that framework complicates a trade from a salary-matching perspective — the Lakers would have to add three players on minimum salaries.

Replacing Beverley and Nunn with Russell Westbrook‘s $47.1MM expiring deal would mean the Pistons would have to add more salary, so more players would have to be involved in either scenario.

Here’s more out of Los Angeles:

  • DeMarcus Cousinsaudition for the Lakers is scheduled for today, tweets Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report. In case you missed it, the Lakers are also working out Meyers Leonard today. Both big men are unrestricted free agents.
  • LeBron James said earlier this week that he believes a frontcourt with himself, Anthony Davis and Thomas Bryant “could be extremely beneficial for our ballclub.” Head coach Darvin Ham agreed that it was worth looking into, according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic (Twitter link). “They’re all highly skilled players. … They can all score at all three levels. They can defend. They all can have good activity, good instincts. So, yeah, that’s something we’ll definitely take a look at,” Ham said.
  • In an appearance on ESPN’s NBA Today, Richard Jefferson said there might be some interference from the Clippers‘ front office when it comes to coaching decisions. “This is pure speculation… I’m hearing grumblings that people up top are having opinions about who should be playing… There’s a lot of cooks in the kitchen and that is never a good recipe,” he said (Twitter video link via Talkin’ NBA). Ordinarily, I wouldn’t put much stock into something that Jefferson says is “pure speculation,” but he does have connections to the Clippers — he played under head coach Tyronn Lue with the Cavaliers and under president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank when Frank coached the Nets.
  • Lue told reporters, including Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN (Twitter video link), that Paul George (hamstring) and Luke Kennard (calf) would not practice with the Clippers on Thursday, but both players were working out and shooting prior to practice. George has been ruled out for Friday’s contest against Denver and Kennard seems unlikely to suit up.

L.A. Notes: Batum, Kennard, Westbrook, LeBron, Reaves

Veteran wing Nicolas Batum has continued to play a regular role off the bench for the Clippers this season, but he’s not taking it for granted. Before being bought out by Charlotte during the 2020 offseason, Batum had been relegated to a bench role and believed his playing days were nearing an end, writes Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times.

“Two years ago, I didn’t think I would be in that spot today still playing major minutes, have a role for a contending team, no,” Batum said. “I was more about retirement.”

Batum quickly caught on with the Clippers in 2020 once he became a free agent and has since signed two new contracts with the team, including a two-year, $22.6MM deal this past summer. Now 34 years old, he doesn’t envision retiring anytime soon.

“After what happened to me in Charlotte I promised myself, especially with the French national team, I’m like … ‘I’m going to do everything so I will retire the way I want,'” Batum said. “That’s the attitude I have now. Going to keep working and I mean, they’re going to have to kick me out. Good luck with that.”

Here are a few more notes on the NBA’s two Los Angeles-based teams:

  • Clippers sharpshooter Luke Kennard is leading the NBA with a career-best .489 3PT%, but is only tied for 106th in the league in three-point makes, since he attempts just 4.2 per game. Janis Carr of The Southern California News Group explores whether Kennard should be more aggressive in seeking out his shot.
  • Lakers guard Russell Westbrook, who has missed the team’s last two games due to left foot soreness, is listed as probable to return on Friday vs. Charlotte, tweets Marc Stein. LeBron James, who sat out Monday’s game in Phoenix with left ankle soreness and returned on Wednesday in Sacramento, has also been designated as probable.
  • Like Westbook, Lakers guard Austin Reaves (right ankle sprain) has been sidelined for the last two games, but he also has a chance to return on Friday. He has been listed as questionable, per Stein.
  • Although Thomas Bryant has played well at center in Anthony Davis‘ stead, the Lakers have no adequate substitute on defense for their injured star, writes Kyle Goon of The Southern California News Group. Since Davis went down last week with a foot injury, the club has the second-worst defensive rating in the NBA (124.5). “We’re already a team without a lot of length and not a lot of size,” James said. “And you lose a 6-11 guy with a 7-6 wingspan, 7-7 wingspan, I mean, it’s self-explanatory, so it’s not like it’s rocket science.”

Pacific Notes: Wiggins, Curry, Warriors, Lakers, M. Brown, Clippers

Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins, who has missed the last five games due to a right adductor strain, was cleared on Thursday to resume participating in practices and shootarounds, according to the team (Twitter link).

However, Wiggins will be unavailable for a sixth consecutive game when the Warriors visit Philadelphia on Friday and Draymond Green (right quad contusion) will be out as well, per the NBA’s latest official injury report. Klay Thompson is listed as questionable due to left knee soreness, so Golden State is at risk of being without four starters — Stephen Curry, of course, is expected to miss multiple weeks as a result of a shoulder injury.

As Anthony Slater of The Athletic (Twitter video link) relays, Curry spoke to reporters today about his shoulder and expressed relief that he won’t have to undergo surgery, which might’ve forced him to miss several months. Asked if surgery is a possibility after the season, the Warriors star didn’t rule it out, but said that’s not the plan for now (Twitter links via Slater).

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • With several regulars battling injuries, the Warriors recalled center James Wiseman and rookie guard Ryan Rollins from the G League, the team announced on Thursday in a press release. Neither player has seen much action at the NBA level so far this season, with Wiseman appearing in just one game over the last month while Rollins has played only 43 total minutes since opening night.
  • The Lakers are unlikely to make a trade during the next two-to-four weeks, Jovan Buha of The Athletic reports within his look at the team’s approach to the deadline. Although the club would like to get a deal done sooner rather than later, it makes sense for Los Angeles to wait out the market in case more sellers emerge.
  • Kings head coach Mike Brown has been fined $25K by the NBA for “aggressively pursuing and directing profane language” toward a referee, the league announced in a press release. The incident, which resulted in Brown’s ejection, occurred during the third quarter of Sacramento’s win in Toronto on Wednesday.
  • Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Reggie Jackson, and Luke Kennard were among the Clippers who missed Thursday’s game, but the team is optimistic they’ll all be back soon, according to Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN (Twitter link), who says their absences on Thursday were more about managing prior injuries than dealing with new ones.

Leonard, George Returning To Action Monday

Clippers stars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George will play tonight, Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN tweets. It’s just the fifth time they’ll be available for the same game this season.

Coming off knee surgery that kept him out last season, Leonard has been limited to five games this season. The Clippers have gone 2-4 since his last appearance on Nov. 21, when he suffered a sprained ankle.

George has missed seven straight contests with a strained right hamstring. He’s averaging 23.6 points and 6.0 rebounds in 16 starts.

Reserve guard Luke Kennard will also be in uniform. He has been out since Nov. 15 due to a calf injury.

Coach Tyronn Lue called it an “exciting day” to have most of his rotation players available, Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times tweets. Norman Powell (groin) is the only regular who won’t be ready to go against Charlotte.

L.A. Notes: Kawhi, George, Powell, Kennard, Ryan, Schröder, Bryant

Clippers stars Kawhi Leonard (ankle) and Paul George (hamstring) appear to be close to returning from their respective injuries. Head coach Tyronn Lue told reporters on Friday that both Leonard and George are practicing today and are considered questionable to play on Saturday (Twitter link via Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times). The team will wait to see how the duo feels after practicing on Friday.

Norman Powell (groin) isn’t practicing today, while Luke Kennard (calf) has already been ruled out for Saturday, so even if Leonard and George are available, the Clippers will remain a little shorthanded for the time being. Still, Kennard is practicing on Friday and Lue sounds like he expects the sharpshooter to return soon.

“I’m excited to get guys back, PG and Kawhi, get Luke back,” Lue said, per Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. “But now we gotta wait on Norm so hopefully he feels better soon. But I am very excited just to kind of see what we have.”

Here’s more on the NBA’s two Los Angeles-based teams:

  • Leonard and George have had their availability impacted by health issues since joining the Clippers in 2019, but the team is “pot-committed” to the star duo, Brian Windhorst writes for With the franchise deep in tax territory and short on future draft assets, all signs point to the Clippers “keeping their chips firmly in the middle and adding to (the) pot if needed,” according to Windhorst.
  • After being waived this week by the Lakers, second-year wing Matt Ryan tweeted his appreciation to the organization for giving him a shot on a non-guaranteed deal this season. “Nothing but gratitude for the city of LA and the @Lakers!” he wrote. “Any opportunity to play in the NBA, let alone for this franchise, is special. Thank you. Now I’m excited for whatever is next!”
  • Within a round-up of where things stand for the Lakers at the 20-game mark, Jovan Buha of The Athletic says that offseason additions Dennis Schröder and Thomas Bryant were worth the wait. Both players missed the start of the season due to thumb injuries, but have entered the rotation since returning, with Schröder averaging 8.4 PPG and 3.6 RPG in seven games (25.3 MPG) and Bryant contributing 9.3 PPG and 5.0 RPG in six appearances (14.7 MPG). Bryant’s +9.5 net rating is the best mark on the Lakers’ 15-man roster.

Pacific Notes: Clippers, C. Johnson, Paul, Davis

Through 20 games, the Clippers have already used eight different starting lineups and countless second-unit combinations as injuries continue to disrupt their rotation, writes Janis Carr of The Orange County Register.

Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and Luke Kennard have been ruled out of Sunday’s game against the Pacers as they all remain sidelined with no set timetable to return. Leonard continues to deal with a sprained right ankle that has limited him to five games so far, George is out of action with a strained hamstring and Kennard is nursing a strained calf muscle.

John Wall said it’s up to the rest of the roster to find ways to win until those players can return.

“You know, sometimes it’s not good to lose your best two players, but there is always the next man up,” Wall said. “We all put the work in. We all are veterans. We all know how to play the right way. You just go out there and execute. That’s the simplest thing you can do.”

If there’s a bright side for coach Tyronn Lue, it’s that none of the injuries are expected to be long-term. It’s a different situation than last year when Leonard missed the entire season and George also had a lengthy absence. Lue said he feels “pretty good about the situation right now and how guys are progressing.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Suns forward Cameron Johnson is celebrating his progress as he works to return from a meniscus tear in his right knee, per Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. “I jumped on it and I was shooting (on Wednesday),” said Johnson, who is projected to miss one to two months. “And I did more cardio and I was able to kind of let rip on the bike and get my heart rate up. When we go from playing every day, we’re sweating and running, that’s cardio. After surgery, it’s a little limited with those options. To be able to get back, work up a sweat and get my heart rate up and explore some new movements post-surgery, it’s my win for (Wednesday).”
  • Even coach Monty Williams can’t fully explain why Chris Paul remains unavailable, Rankin states in a separate story. Paul missed his ninth straight game tonight for the West-leading Suns. “My YouTube degree doesn’t go into medical,” Williams told reporters. “I just wait for them to tell me he can play. We’re just not there yet. I don’t have anything to add to that. If he was able to play, they’d be like, he’s ready to go. He’s just not there yet.”
  • After missing tonight’s game with a left calf contusion, Lakers big man Anthony Davis is expected to return Monday, tweets Dave McMenamin of ESPN.

Western Notes: LeBron, Walker, Kawhi, George, Bane

Lakers star LeBron James made his return on Friday night in San Antonio after missing five games due to an adductor strain, and helped lead the team to a 105-94 victory. Speaking to reporters following the win, James indicated that he isn’t planning to sit out the second half of the Lakers’ back-to-back set vs. the Spurs on Saturday, as Dave McMenamin of ESPN relays.

“There’s a strong possibility that I play tomorrow,” James said. “I just sat out for two weeks. I’m good.”

Here’s more from around the Western Conference:

  • Facing his former team for the first time since signing with the Lakers in the offseason, Lonnie Walker said on Friday that San Antonio is still “home” and the Spurs are still “family,” per Kyle Goon of The Southern California News Group. Walker, who received the full taxpayer mid-level exception from the Lakers in free agency, is enjoying a career year so far in Los Angeles and making a bid for Most Improved Player consideration. At ESPN, McMenamin takes a look at what’s fueling Walker’s fifth-year surge.
  • Clippers stars Kawhi Leonard (ankle) and Paul George (hamstring), along with sharpshooter Luke Kennard (calf), will remain sidelined for Sunday’s game vs. Indiana, head coach Tyronn Lue said on Friday (story via Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN). However, Lue added that he doesn’t expect Leonard’s injury or George’s to be a “long-term” issue.
  • Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal (subscription required) spoke to orthopedic foot and ankle surgeon Dr. Kenneth Jung about Desmond Bane‘s toe injury to try to get a sense of how long the recovery process might take. According to Jung, a toe sprain is the sort of injury that can flare up again if the player returns before he’s 100%, so the Grizzlies will likely play it safe with Bane’s timeline.