Milos Teodosic

Pacific Notes: Jackson, Jordan, Clippers

A difficult string of games in which the Suns were noticeably better without Josh Jackson than with him precipitated a change in his relationship with head coach Jay Triano. Now, Scott Bordow of the Arizona Republic writes, the first-year forward has started to regain the coaching staff’s trust.

When Triano told Jackson that he was losing his confidence in him, he asked the player what he might suggest to repair the situation. Since then, the two have watched film of Suns games.

[Jackson suggested they watch film of Suns games] just to see what [Triano] sees,” Jackson said. “Sometimes, two people look at the same play and see two totally different things. He has a basketball mind and he’s really smart, so just trying to see what he sees and trying to pick his brain a little bit.

In the three games since, Jackson has averaged 14 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game for the Suns, shooting an impressive .486 from the field and .556 from three.

There’s more from the Pacific Division this afternoon:

  • The Clippers were treated to some good news on Thursday when it was revealed that Blake Griffin could return to action following a concussion and Milos Teodosic after another bout of plantar fascia issues (NBA.com report). Of course, in true Clippers fashion, DeAndre Jordan sprained his ankle hours later and had to leave the match (ESPN report).
  • The NBA fined Warriors forward Draymond Green $25K for comments critical of officials on Saturday, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets. The Dubs took down the Clippers that night.
  • Clippers head coach Doc Rivers thinks that NBA players seem to get injured more often than they used to because they’re not playing basketball enough. Per Elliott Teaford of the Orange County Register, Rivers posits that players do more things outside of the sport these days and that consistently reliable Jamal Crawford is one example of a guy that is constantly playing the game outside of his professional commitment.

Pacific Notes: Teodosic, Davis, Fox

There’s no exact timetable for Milos Teodosic‘s return, Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times writes. The seasoned Clippers rookie is making progress after missing Saturday’s contest but remains sidelined with the same injury that plagued him earlier this season.

Teodosic missed 22 games with the plantar fascia injury from October to mid-December but managed to work his way back into a significant role in the Clippers rotation.

On the season, Teodosic has averaged 8.4 points and 5.2 assists in 24.4 minutes per game for the Clippers.

There’s more out of the Pacific Division tonight:

  • The Warriors always tend to have an eye on their major long-term goals, kicking around possible acquisition targets that they could pursue when the time is right. Tim Kawakami of The Athletic writes that one of those targets could be Anthony Davis.
  • Rookie guard De’Aaron Fox has made a conscious effort to be more aggressive to take advantage of his speed, specifically in half-court sets. As Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee writes, the decision paid off in a recent Kings‘ win. “I was just able to create and if it wasn’t my assist it was a hockey assist – so it was a pass and another pass. Just trying to be able to start the offense and get the defense moving.
  • The Suns won’t be welcoming big man Alan Williams back to the lineup before February but the 24-year-old is still heavily involved with his team. Scott Bordow of the Arizona Republic writes that Williams has become a very noticeably enthusiastic supporter of his teammates.

Los Angeles Notes: Bogut, Hart, Teodosic

Andrew Bogut broke his leg less than a minute into his Cavaliers debut last March, prematurely ending his 2016/17 season, Cavaliers tenure, and possibly his career. After a long summer of rehab, Bogut signed a one-year deal with the Lakers and has served as a mentor for the young NBA team, ESPN’s Nick Metallinos writes.

Bogut has not played much this season; he is averaging a career-low 7.7 minutes per game. He also has taken a DNP in 10 of the Lakers’ 26 games. Still, the Australian big man said he understood playing time would be limited when he signed with the team.

“I knew there wasn’t going to be a whole lot of minutes because I was the 15th guy signed to the roster,” Bogut said to ESPN. “I’ve just been trying to mentor some of the younger guys. We’ve got a really young and inexperienced team that bring a lot of energy and talent, so just some direction is needed every now and then and being one of the elder guys, [I’m] just trying to help them in the locker room.”

The Lakers are built on young talents such as Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, and Jordan Clarkson. In his age 33 season, Bogut said that being a mentor is more important than having minutes.

Check out other news coming out of Los Angeles:

  • Lakers rookie Josh Hart had an impressive first NBA start on Wednesday against the Cavaliers, posting 11 points and 10 rebounds in the loss. After four collegiate seasons at Villanova, Hart said he is prepared for the big stage and head coach Luke Walton agrees, Bill Oram of the Orange County Register writes.“It showed where he came from as a college player winning a national title and playing with a big-time program for many years,” Walton said of Hart’s performance. “That big stage did not faze him at all today.”
  • After missing two months due to a foot injury, Clippers point guard Milos Teodosic will be on a minutes restriction as the organization tries to keep him healthy, Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times writes. “Milos, because of the minutes restrictions, we can’t play him on back-to-backs,” Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said. “So we have to sit him.” However, Rivers noted that this is temporary and that Teodosic’s minutes restriction should be lifted later in the season.

Los Angeles Notes: Ball, Bryant, Teodosic, Gallinari

After Lonzo Ball‘s outspoken father, LaVar Ball, recently made critical comments of the Lakers and head coach Luke Walton, the organization held a private meeting with LaVar, asking him to tone down his remarks, ESPN’s Ramon Shelbourne writes.

The elder Ball confirmed the meeting — which was organized by Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka — took place and said both sides finding common ground is critical to both his son and the team.

“It was the best thing, man. Everybody’s going to try to make it an ego thing, like I’m trying to tell them what to do or they’re trying to tell me to tone it down,” LaVar said of the meeting. “It’s not about that. It’s about coming together and to get a solution to this problem.”

Among LaVar’s criticisms were Walton not playing Lonzo for long enough stretches, adding that he could coach his son better. Walton downplayed LaVar’s comments in recent days and has praised Lonzo’s team-first mindset and contributions. As the season — and Lonzo’s career progresses — LaVar said he would continue speaking his mind with the goal of helping his son improve.

“It may sound crazy to other people, but I really just want the best for Lonzo, and the best for Lonzo is going to be what’s best for the organization,” LaVar said. “Because if everybody winning, we good.”

Read up on more news coming out of Los Angeles:

  • Former Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant has made several comments about Lonzo in recent days and his latest take on the 20-year-old point guard directly addressed his father, Bill Oram of the Orange County Register writes. Bryant said that pressure placed on Lonzo is “completely inconsequential” as long as he proves himself on the court. “The only time that matters is when he has to think of an answer,” Bryant said. “What matters is what he does in the gym before practice, during practice and after practice. That’s the only thing that matters.”
  • Michael Lee of Yahoo Sports profiled Clippers rookie point guard Milos Teodosic, chronicling his journey from one of the most creative passers in the game as an international player to a starter in the NBA.
  • Danilo Gallinari returned to the Clippers lineup after missing 13 games with a glute injury and he will now likely miss several games with a new glute injury, ESPN’s Lawrence Murray writes. Injuries have allowed Gallinari to appear in just 11 games this season, averaging 13.4 PPG. “It’s been that type of season thus far,” head coach Doc Rivers said. “Things can change. Right now, they are, they keep changing back to somebody getting hurt.”

Pacific Notes: Ball, Walton, Teodosic, Iguodala, Jackson

Outside of a few standout performances, Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball‘s first professional season has been inconsistent at best. The Lakers’ season has mirrored Ball’s inconsistency as the team is 10-15, good for 10th place in the Western Conference. If the franchise and Ball want to achieve success, Lakers legend Kobe Bryant believes the 20-year-old point guard needs to improve now.

Speaking to Chris McGee on Spectrum SportsNet’s ‘Connected With’, Bryant said that Ball and the Lakers cannot wait and plan for several years to see improvements. Instead, Ball — and several of his young teammates — needs to take initiative and improve on his own accord.

“He needs to get better now,” Bryant said (via ForTheWin’s Nick Schwartz). “Kuzma, better now. Randle, better now. Players, you want that now. We never thought, ‘OK, we’re going to win four years from now. We really thought this is our year. We’re going to get this done. We’re going to push, push, push, push, push to get better now.’ And in the process of having that impatience, you develop. If you’re just patiently going about it, you’ll never get there. For players, it’s kind of patient impatience.”

In 25 games, Ball is averaging 8.6 PPG, 7.1 APG and 6.8 RPG. However, Ball has struggled on offense, shooting .321% from the field and .246% from beyond the arc.

Check out other news from around the Pacific Division:

  • In a well-written and well-crafted feature, ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk dissected Luke Walton’s transition from player to assistant coach to head coach. Walton, currently in his second season as head coach of the Lakers, has learned under legend Phil Jackson, current Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, and his legendary father, Bill Walton. As Youngmisuk writes, all three men have shaped the way Walton conducts himself as head coach.
  • While Andre Iguodala is 33 years old, his ability to impact a game on both ends of the floor has made him invaluable to the Warriors. Head coach Steve Kerr said that, in particular, Iguodala’s defense reminds him of Scottie Pippen, Mark Medina of The Mercury News writes.
  • While Clippers rookie Milos Teodosic is close to returning from a plantar fascia injury to his left foot, the team is still unsure when he will be back, Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times reports. “He’s close, I’ll say that,” head coach Doc Rivers said. “Watching him yesterday, I just didn’t think he was ready. But he’s close. It’s a tough one.”
  • Suns rookie Josh Jackson said his adjustment from college to the NBA has gone well, Dennis Chambers of Basketball Insiders writes.

Pacific Notes: Teodosic, Sampson, Walton

It may not be long before the Clippers see Milos Teodosic back in action, Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times writes. The rookie point guard has been sidelined with a plantar fascia injury since the second game of the season but is nearing his return.

There’s no set date for Teodosic at this point but he practiced without limitation on Friday. The 30-year-old international free agent practiced previously with both the big league club and its G League affiliate earlier this week.

He’s ready. He’s close,” head coach Doc Rivers said. “Milos will be playing in a couple of games, for sure. I just don’t want to say what game because I don’t know.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • There have been no shortage of proven winners for Lakers coach Luke Walton to take lessons from over the course of his NBA journey. Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN explores his path to where he is now.
  • The Kings have given JaKarr Sampson a chance to show what he’s capable of providing and the versatile 24-year-old hasn’t disappointed. “He has a body that we need – an athletic, 6-foot-8 guy who can play a couple of positions,” head coach Dave Joerger told Alex Kramers of the team’s official website. “It’s a little easier for him to stand in front of some versatile dudes, some drivers and some physical guys … He was ready for the moment and I think we’ll be seeing more of him.
  • There’s growing speculation that Nerlens Noel could end up in Los Angeles, Bryan Kalbrosky of HoopsHype writes. The big man shares an agent with LeBron James who has been linked to the Lakers over the course of the past year.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 12/5/17

Here are Tuesday’s G League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

3:10pm:

  • After assigning him to the G League for today’s Raptors 905 game, as detailed below, Toronto has recalled Alfonzo McKinnie to the NBA, according to the team (Twitter link).

2:03pm:

  • The Raptors assigned Alfonzo McKinnie to the G League this morning, per the team (Twitter link). Toronto’s G League affiliate, the Raptors 905, played a day game today, and McKinnie was excellent, racking up 23 points and 16 rebounds (nine offensive).
  • The Jazz have recalled rookie big man Tony Bradley from their G League squad, the team announced today (via Twitter). Bradley had a double-double (24 points, 10 rebounds) in a win for the Salt Lake City Stars on Monday.
  • After practicing with the Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario on Monday, Danilo Gallinari, Milos Teodosic, and Brice Johnson were recalled by the Clippers, as Robert Flom of Clips Nation details. Gallinari and Teodosic are close to returning from their respective injuries, with Gallinari hoping to play on Wednesday.
  • The Bulls have sent second-year guard Kay Felder back to the G League, according to the team (Twitter link). Felder will soon be joined by Zach LaVine, who will continue rehabbing his ACL injury with the Windy City Bulls.
  • Rookie center Ike Anigbogu has been recalled from the G League by the Pacers, the club announced in a press release. The 19-year-old struggled in his most recent game for the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, recording just two points and two rebounds in 22 minutes on Monday.
  • The Sixers have recalled Furkan Korkmaz from the Delaware 87ers, tweets Jessica Camerato of NBC Sports Philadelphia. Korkmaz has yo-yo’d back and forth between Philadelphia and Delaware all season — his most recent G League assignment was his seventh.
  • The Kings have made a pair of G League moves, assigning Skal Labissiere to the Reno Bighorns and recalling Georgios Papagiannis, according to the team. Of the two 2016 first-rounders, Labissiere has been the more regular fixture in Sacramento’s rotation this season, averaging 17.1 MPG in 23 contests.

Clippers Coach Doc Rivers’ Job Seems Safe

Clippers coach Doc Rivers will likely hold onto his job the remainder of the season, multiple sources told USA Today’s Sam Amick. Owner Steve Ballmer feels the team’s rash of injuries has made it difficult to judge Rivers’ performance this season, Amick continues. The team’s top player, power forward Blake Griffin, is out at least a month with an MCL sprain. Point guard Patrick Beverley underwent season-ending knee surgery, while newcomers Milos Teodosic and Danilo Gallinari have barely played because of ailments. “You’ve just got to hang in there,” Rivers told Amick. “People get down on the team. They get down on you. They get down on everybody. That’s what happens, and you can’t waver. You’ve just got to keep doing your job, and the players have to just keep playing.”

Other notable items from Amick’s story:

  • The club is taking calls on center DeAndre Jordan but not actively shopping him. Jordan is expected to opt of the final year of his contract next summer, leaving $24.1MM on the table. The front office believes it can re-sign him, so they’re asking price for any potential deal is high. The market could heat up on December 15th, when many players who signed new contracts last summer are eligible to be dealt. Jordan hired an agent on Monday, which could facilitate trade talks.
  • The team remains committed to building around Griffin, who re-signed with them over the summer. Griffin doesn’t have an opt-out on his massive five-year, $171.1MM deal until the summer of 2021.
  • Productive role players, such as guard Lou Williams, could be dealt for draft picks. The team still has its first-rounder in June but dealt away its 2019 pick.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 12/4/17

Here are Monday’s G League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

3:51pm:

  • The Grizzlies have sent rookie forward Ivan Rabb back to the G League, the team announced today in a press release. In eight games for the Memphis Hustle this season, Rabb has posted 17.6 PPG, 9.1 RPG, and 1.8 BPG.

3:01pm:

  • The Clippers have assigned Danilo Gallinari, Milos Teodosic, and Brice Johnson to the G League, the team announced today in a press release. While Johnson’s assignment is likely just meant to get him some extra reps, Gallinari and Teodosic are rehabbing injuries and will practice with the Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario as they near their respective returns.
  • Rookie big man Thomas Bryant has been assigned to the G League by the Lakers, according to the club (Twitter link). Bryant has yet to appear in a regular season NBA game, but has played well for the South Bay Lakers, averaging 21.1 PPG and 7.7 RPG with a blistering .604/.462/.737 shooting line in seven contests.

2018 Free Agent Stock Watch: Los Angeles Clippers

The Clippers are in a precarious position, now teetering on the ledge of an existential crisis following Blake Griffin‘s latest significant injury. Suddenly, the team that seemed so valiantly intent on forging ahead without Chris Paul (and then Milos Teodosic and then Patrick Beverley) has been dramatically deflated, dealt a seemingly insurmountable blow that could very well change the franchise’s short-term plans.

Needless to say, the next few months will be of particular interest to various representatives of the team’s pending free agents, several of whom could stand to benefit from increased playing time in Griffin’s absence and/or a significantly expanded role if the team decides to lean into a full-fledged rebuild and trade away veterans.

On paper, the Clippers could end up with substantial cap space, but that’s far from guaranteed considering how many players have options heading into the summer.

Montrezl Harrell, C, 24 (Up) – Signed to a three-year, $4MM deal in 2015
One of the biggest potential beneficiaries of the Clippers’ bad luck is Harrell, a 2015 second-round pick who showed glimpses of productivity throughout his first two seasons in the league with Houston. Harrell hasn’t done much to this point in the 2017/18 season but it seems inevitable that he’ll see his playing time and opportunities in general increase over the next two months.

Brice Johnson, PF, 24 (Down) – Signed to a two-year, $3MM deal in 2016
While the absence of Griffin could open up opportunities for Johnson to see more of a role at the big league level, the team would have to fully accept a rebuild in order for the sparsely-used North Carolina product to start seeing consistent action. I’m not sure if the Clips are there yet. Simply put, Johnson hasn’t show much in Los Angeles and the team forfeited the chance to lock him up on the cheap last month when it turned down his rookie option.

Wesley Johnson, SF, 30 (Down) – Signed to a three-year, $18MM deal in 2016
After eight underwhelming seasons in the NBA, it’s hard to imagine Johnson landing big money in a crowded free agent market next summer. However, the 30-year-old – who has career averages of 7.6 points and 3.7 rebounds per game – has a player option worth over $6MM that he’ll presumably accept.

DeAndre Jordan, C, 29 (Down) – Signed to a four-year, $88MM deal in 2015
Jordan is the closest thing to a marquee name among Los Angeles’ pending free agents. The 29-year-old will be coming off of seven straight seasons as a rain-or-shine starter (10 in total), with off-the-charts rebounding numbers and an All-Star Game under his belt. That being said, Jordan  – who holds a $24MM player option for next season – will need to be careful heading into the summer, considering the market for big men has changed since he signed his last contract. On top of that, any long-term deal would put a club at risk of having that contract turn into an albatross during its back half. Finally, it’s not inconceivable to suggest that the Jordan you could temporarily (kinda, maybe, possibly) justify maxing out was simply a product of CP3’s playmaking abilities. Jordan may very well end up turning down his player option, but there won’t likely be strong market pressure for L.A. or anybody else to offer a huge long-term deal.

Willie Reed, C, 28 (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $2MM deal in 2017
Now with his third team in three NBA season, Reed will need to show that he’s more than just a journeyman spot starter with legal baggage. While Reed has been used less with the Clippers than he was in Miami last season, his opportunities could increase substantially with Griffin sidelined. I suspect, given the big man’s per-36 numbers, he’ll be able to procure more than the minimum and stick with that team for longer than a single season.
Austin Rivers vertical
Austin Rivers, G, 25 (Down) – Signed to a three-year, $35MM deal in 2016
The Clippers took a gamble on Rivers in 2016, offering the largely unproven combo guard a major contract without much of a track record to show for it. Fast forward two seasons and Rivers remains more or less equally underwhelming. Rivers does little across the board and isn’t a particularly effective shooter. It wouldn’t make much sense for Rivers’ camp to turn down his $13MM player option for next season.

Milos Teodosic, PG, 31 (Down) – Signed to a two-year, $12MM deal in 2017
It’s hard to gauge Teodosic’s NBA value, considering he only played two games before falling to a foot injury. As things stand, the romantic notion that Teodosic would drop in from overseas to fill the playmaking hole left by Paul is on the back burner. If the plan was for Teodosic to prove himself in his rookie season, turn down his player option for 2018/19 and then sign a larger contract, it’ll come down to how he fares during the second half of the season, since nobody has yet seen enough to warrant a big investment. It seems likely that the Serbian 31-year-old will be back in the lineup before the end of December, so there’s plenty of time for him to prove himself at the NBA level.

Lou Williams, SG, 32 (Up) – Signed to a three-year, $21MM deal in 2015
Over course of the last half decade, Williams has fully embraced an identity as a wildly prolific scorer off the bench. Over the course of the last two seasons alone he’s thrived in systems that have had no reason but to let him loose on their second unit and the volume shooter has shown no signs of slowing down north of 30. It may be a bit much to expect Williams to yield anything in the realm of former Clipper J.J. Redick‘s offseason haul ($23MM for a one-year deal with Philly) but there should be plenty of suitors willing to give 2015’s Sixth Man of the Year a sizable raise over his current $7MM salary.

Player ages as of July 1, 2018. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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