Patrick Beverley

Warriors Notes: Durant, Cousins, Beverley

Despite perhaps surrendering a chance​ to​​ claim​ additional MVP awards and scoring titles, among other accolades and/or recognition, Warriors forward Kevin Durant does not appear to have any regret about joining Golden State in the summer of 2016, writes Michael Lee of The Athletic.

“I came here knowing for a fact, that every media member, every fan was going to call me every name in the book for however long I was here and I was going to take the brunt of everything. I knew coming here,” Durant said. “But I wanted to be a part of this so bad, I didn’t (care).”

According to Lee, Durant has actually had the chance to improve his game despite playing with a better supporting cast because he has learned to move more consistently and more urgently while off the ball and further developed his ball handling, helping him get to his spots where his high-released shot remains lethal.

In regard to the constant comparison to other greats, Durant says that comparison is simply a need for joy, and that when you focus on other player’s accomplishments instead of your own goals, you end up taking away from the focus of trying to make yourself the greatest that you can be. Accordingly, Durant appears to be singularly concerned with this season and winning a third-straight championship with the Warriors.

There are a few other notes out of Oakland this evening:

  • In an interesting piece worth a full read, Nick Friedell and Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN reflect on the injury suffered by center DeMarcus Cousins in the Warriors’ Game 2 loss to the Clippers on Monday night. The team understandably still possesses a great amount of confidence in their ability to win a championship without Cousins’ help, but even if a third-straight banner is raised, the storybook ending for Cousins after returning from a torn Achilles is no longer on the table.
  • In another article surrounding the news of Cousins’ season-ending quad injury, Anthony Slater of The Athletic analyzes how life will change for Golden State without their big man now (more opportunity for Andrew Bogut and Kevon Looney), in the near future (perhaps not a big issue against the Rockets), and later on this summer (could the Warriors get Cousins back on the cheap for a second straight offseason?).
  • In a separate article from Friedell, it’s relayed that Durant is not worried about the Clips’ pesky point guard Patrick Beverley causing Durant to lose his rhythm. “(I could make some contested shots over Beverley), (b)ut that’s not really gonna do nothing for us with the outcome of the game, ’cause we got a nice flow, everybody’s touching the rock, everybody’s shooting and scoring.” In other words, Durant isn’t going to force anything in some kind of veiled effort to show-up Beverly or win a one-on-one contest.

Pacific Notes: Durant, Walton, Beverley, Joerger

Kevin Durant‘s poor temper could prove costly for the Warriors down the stretch of the playoffs, with the two-time NBA Finals MVP already accruing two technical fouls in the first game of the postseason, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports writes.

According to NBA rules, a player will receive a one-game suspension if he reaches seven technical fouls during the playoffs. Durant was one of the league’s leaders with 15 techs during the regular season, often times expressing his displeasure with missed calls or getting into it with opposing players. In Game 1 on Saturday, it was Clippers guard Patrick Beverley who got in Durant’s head, leading to both players being ejected.

“Oh, sure, we took the bait,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said of Durant’s ejection, according to Haynes. “[Kevin] took the bait. That’s two technicals. You get seven technicals, your seventh one is a suspension in the playoffs. Whether you play four playoff games or 24, seven is the magic number. He’s got four to play with after one game. But that’s what Beverley does. We talked about it for the last couple days. He’s a hell of a defender. He plays hard. Got a lot of respect for him.”

The Warriors are seeking their fourth championship in five years and need Durant’s production, sporting an elite starting lineup that consists of him, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and DeMarcus Cousins. The team took a 121-104 victory in Game 1 despite Durant being ejected, though it’s imperative he maintains his composure as the team looks to make a deep playoff run.

“I’ve been playing against Pat Beverley since he was at Arkansas, so I kind of know what he brings,” Durant said. “He’s a Chicago kid, grew up and played in the Chicago area, so those dudes play with a different type of grit, so I can appreciate that about Pat. You know what he’s going to bring to the table, just physicality, the mucking up the game a little bit with his physicality, his talking, everything. That’s what he brings to each team he plays on. That’s his identity, and they support him with the Clippers. For me, I know that coming into the series. I thought it was fun tonight.”

There’s more out of the Pacific Division tonight:

  • Jason Jones of The Athletic examines how new head coach Luke Walton could make the Kings a better team. Walton, who was hired by the team one day after mutually agreeing to leave the Lakers, holds a strong record with several NBA players and officials. He was an assistant on the Warriors’ 2015 championship team, proving his worth as a coach under Steve Kerr and registering interest from multiple teams around the league at the time — including the Kings.
  • Clippers coach Doc Rivers had a problem with Patrick Beverley‘s play earlier in the season, eventually leading to a positive turning point for the team, Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times wrote. “Early in the year we struggled with Pat,” coach Doc Rivers said last week, “because he was struggling buying in.” Beverley has since bought in, leading the Clippers at the point guard position and helping the team obtain a 48-34 record on the season.
  • The Kings’ sudden decision to fire head coach Dave Joerger caught him by surprise, agent Warren LeGarie told Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee. “Obviously, it’s a great disappointment,” LeGarie said as part of a larger statement. “Dave thought, in light of the youth of the team and other challenges, he did a good job, certainly one that other people have recognized around the league. And, more importantly, exceeded expectations.” Joerger spent full three seasons with Sacramento as coach before being dismissed.

Pacific Notes: McGee, Front Office, Beverley, Cauley-Stein, Suns

While the Lakers are out of the playoff picture, and LeBron James will not play again this season, several players on the roster have incentive to finish the year strong. As Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times writes, JaVale McGee, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson and Mike Muscala are set for unrestricted free agency this summer.

Without the postseason as a motivating factor, the next pay check for those players is a strong consideration. Head coach Luke Walton commended those players’ efforts to close out the season.

“I think they’ve done a nice job of staying focused on the team. And that is a big thing, a real thing,” Walton said. “Guys should be concerned about their futures. You have to take care of that as players. But when you take care of your team and play with that type of attitude, the other teams in the league see that. That’s what they want.”

Particularly, Walton praised McGee, stating that the NBA champion “looks good right now,” and adding that his contributions recently have been “meaningful numbers.”

Check out more Pacific Division notes:

  • Mark Heisler of the Orange County Register opines that the Lakers‘ front office needs to be cognizant of its missteps this past season. Unable to pair James with another elite talent, this summer will be another chance to do so and the team will need to be smart with its approach.
  • As the Clippers prepare for the postseason, the team hopes to get Patrick Beverley back on the court and healthy, Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times writes. “So, it’s an injury of concern, but nothing that I think is that serious,” head coach Doc Rivers said. “He will play in the playoffs. I’ll say that.”
  • Willie Cauley-Stein is set for restricted free agency this summer and the Kings will need to decide whether or not to retain his services. Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee examines Cauley-Stein’s value and why Sacramento will face a tough decision.
  • Matt John of Basketball Insiders looks at how the Suns can accelerate their rebuild. Phoenix has a solid star piece in Devin Booker but will need to maximize acquisitions via free agency and the draft.

Mavericks Notes: Porzingis, Doncic, Dragic, Barea

The Knicks informed the Mavericks about the pending rape allegation against Kristaps Porzingis before completing the January trade that sent him to Dallas, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The league office was also told about the situation. Porzingis has denied the accusation through his attorney.

Dallas’ decision to go through with the deal is especially significant in light of a workplace misconduct scandal that the organization dealt with last year. The Mavericks overhauled their front office in response to response to numerous claims of sexual misconduct and received a glowing report from commissioner Adam Silver when he visited the team last month.

There’s more tonight from Dallas:

  • Luka Doncic‘s remarkable rookie season might be finished because of a right thigh contusion he suffered Thursday, according to Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News. Coach Rick Carlisle confirmed that Doncic won’t play tomorrow at Oklahoma City and may be held out much longer. “We’re going to be very prudent with this and make sure that he’s 100% before even thinking about him getting back out there,” Carlisle said, adding that Doncic was fortunate to take the brunt of the collision on his thigh rather than his knee. Doncic is a heavy favorite to be named Rookie of the Year after averaging 21.1 points, 7.6 rebounds and 5.9 assists in 70 games.
  • A league source says Miami’s Goran Dragic is unlikely to sign with Dallas this summer even though the Mavericks’ front office seems him as an ideal backcourt partner for Doncic, Townsend reports in a separate story. Dragic has to make a decision on a $19.2MM player option and won’t take less than than from another team, Townsend adds. Dallas will have about $30MM in cap space, but seems unlikely to spend most of it on a 32-year-old player coming off arthroscopic surgery. The source identified the Clippers’ Patrick Beverley, who is making just $5MM this season, as a more realistic target if the Mavs can’t land a top-flight option such as Kemba Walker or Klay Thompson.
  • Apart from Dirk Nowitzki if he decides to keep playing, J.J. Barea may be the only impending free agent that the Mavericks try to re-sign, according to Jordan Hicks of Basketball Insiders. Barea may not be able to provide immediate help next season because of a torn right Achilles tendon he suffered in January.

Pacific Notes: Kuzma, Beverley, Terry, Lakers

As the Lakers and Pelicans continue to discuss trade packages centered around Anthony Davis, one young Laker is approaching the matter with a positive outlook: Second-year forward Kyle Kuzma.

“It’s always a good thing when you hear trade rumors,” Kuzma said, according to Tania Ganguli of The Los Angeles Times. “That’s what everybody always says. It means you have value, and it means potentially you gonna be in this league a long time, people want you. For us, it’s all about controlling what you can control, because at the end of the day, it’s a business. You can’t control your destiny in this league, but you can control your work ethic and how great you wanna be. You can be great anywhere.”

Entering Thursday, Pelicans GM Dell Demps refused to pick up his phone to discuss a trade with the Lakers, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe. This rapidly changed as the day progressed, with Wojnarowski later reporting that the sides connected on a call early in the afternoon.

Davis requested a trade from the Pelicans last Friday after several years of failed seasons with the organization. Davis, 25, is the most talented two-way player available on the trade market as of today, meaning the Lakers would have to offer an assortment of young assets that likely includes Kuzma to pry him out of New Orleans.

“Could really care less, honestly,” Kuzma said of Davis’ trade request. “Just control what you can control. Play basketball anywhere.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • The NBA has issued a warning to Clippers guard Patrick Beverley for violating the league’s anti-flopping rule, Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times writes. Beverley was caught flopping on a play against the Kings on Sunday, later tweeting in response, “Ok ok ok ok you got me I flopped!!!! Can’t touch anybody this year gotta do something!!!” 
  • Suns guard Emanuel Terry said he had to overcome several doubters to reach his 10-day contract with the team, writes Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic. “A lot of people, there’s haters in the world,” Terry said. “You can’t hate on somebody’s blessing cause then that’s your downfall as well. So I just remained humble, say a prayer and give my trust to God.”
  • Kevin Pelton of ranks the trade value of several players on the Lakers, including Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma and others. It’s unclear which players the Pelicans would target in potential trade discussions involving Anthony Davis.

Free Agent Stock Watch 2019: Pacific Division

Every week, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents next offseason. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. This week, we turn our attention to the Pacific Division:

Kevon Looney, Warriors, 22, PF (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $1.57MM deal in 2018
Looney has received rotation minutes throughout the season, providing defense and rebounding while the stars do most of the scoring. Looney, who had back-to-back 12-rebound games this week, has made the most of his limited offensive opportunities (62.6%) though he doesn’t shoot threes or make enough of his free throws. Efficiency ratings and advanced defensive metrics are above-average. It remains to be seen how much DeMarcus Cousins‘ return will impact his minutes but for now, he’s enhanced his resume.

Patrick Beverley, Clippers, 30, PG (Up) – Signed to a four-year, $23MM deal in 2015
Beverley missed most of last season due to right knee surgery. Beverley’s offensive numbers are down but that’s not the strength of his game. He has resumed his role as a pesky, on-the-ball defender and Doc Rivers has played him an average of 26.9 MPG this month. Beverley posted one of the oddest stat lines of the year for a guard on Monday — three points, 11 rebounds, seven assists and three blocks in 25 minutes against New Orleans. His ability to get under opponents’ skin will help him land a multi-year deal in the summer.

Ryan Anderson, Suns, 30, PF (Down) – Signed to a four-year, $80MM deal in 2016
Anderson will make a substantial amount of money next season, yet he’ll probably sign for the veteran’s minimum. How does that work? He’s guaranteed $15.6MM in the last year of his contract and the Suns have until July 10th to decide whether to give him a $21.2MM full guarantee. Considering that Anderson never plays anymore, that will likely be an easy decision for the Suns. Anderson cashed in at just the right time the last time he entered the market but he’s gone from starter on one of the league’s top teams one season to spectator on one of the league’s worst clubs this year.

Ivica Zubac, Lakers, 21, C (Up) — Signed to a three-year, $3.9MM deal in 2016
Coach Luke Walton and the front office didn’t appear to have any faith in their young big earlier this season, as evidenced by the early-season signing of Tyson Chandler. When finally given a chance a month ago, Zubac has delivered some solid performances. He erupted for 26 points and 12 rebounds in 28 minutes against Oklahoma City on Thursday. Zubac needs to become a more physical defender but he has a deft touch around the rim. A restricted free agent, Zubac’s status with the franchise hinges on how much cap space they want to free up this summer. His qualifying offer is just over $1.9MM.

Kosta Koufos, Kings, 29, C (Down) – Signed to a four-year, $32.9MM deal in 2015
Considering how the Kings have been collecting young bigs through the draft in the last couple of years, it was almost inevitable that Koufos’ role would diminish. That’s especially true this month, as Koufos hasn’t seen the court in the last four games. Koufos is a traditional center who doesn’t shoot threes and he’s also a poor free throw shooter. Defense and rebounding are the areas where Koufos can help a team in a backup role but offers on the open market will be modest.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Clippers Rumors: Beverley, Durant, Butler, Harris

Back in July, we heard that Tobias Harris turned down a four-year extension offer from the Clippers. According to Sean Deveney of The Sporting News, Harris wasn’t the only player with whom the Clippers discussed a contract extension this year. Deveney hears from a source that the team also spoke to guard Patrick Beverley about a new deal, despite the fact that he was still rehabbing from knee surgery at the time. Beverley decided to play out the final season of his contract instead.

Beverley, who is earning just over $5MM this season, would have been eligible for an extension worth up to about $47.5MM over four years, though the Clippers almost certainly offered less than that. I’d guess Los Angeles made an effort to lock up Beverley at a team-friendly rate following his long injury absence, with the 30-year-old betting he could rebuild his value in advance of his 2019 free agency.

Here’s more from out of Los Angeles:

  • The Clippers are keeping a close eye on Kevin Durant‘s situation in Golden State, and have every intention of making a pitch to Durant in free agency next summer, Deveney reports. Deveney suggests that Durant seems likely to hear out the Clips, though with his free agency still seven months away, it’s hard to get a sense at this point of what the process will look like.
  • The Clippers made “no significant push” to acquire Jimmy Butler when the Timberwolves were shopping him earlier this fall, sources tell Deveney. As we heard during that saga, the Clips were strongly opposed to including Tobias Harris in a package for Butler, and that stance has paid off so far — Harris, who leads L.A. in PPG (21.6) and RPG (8.4), has been the club’s best player this season.
  • Patrick Beverley was fined $25K by the NBA for throwing the ball at a spectator on Sunday, the league announced today in a press release.

Clippers Exploring Trades To Clear Roster Logjam

With the roster deadline for the 2018/19 season just a few days away, the Clippers are exploring the trade market in the hopes of finding a deal or two that will help them clear their roster logjam, reports Keith Smith of (Twitter link). According to Smith, the club had been hoping to address the issue in a potential Jimmy Butler trade, but that seems like a long shot at this point.

The Clippers have 15 players on guaranteed contracts, but likely won’t end up keeping those specific 15 players on their regular season squad. Patrick Beverley has a non-guaranteed deal and Tyrone Wallace has a partial guarantee worth $300K, and both guards are strong candidates to make the roster.

Of the players with guaranteed salaries, Wesley Johnson ($6.13MM) and Jawun Evans ($1.38MM) are among those who may not be locks for the 15-man squad. Neither player projects to have a major role in the Clippers’ 2018/19 rotation.

The Clippers already found a trade that allowed them to clear one guaranteed salary when they sent Sam Dekker to Cleveland in August. If the team can’t find similar deals in the coming days, two players will need to be waived in order to get the roster down to 15 (plus a pair of two-way players) for opening night.

Jimmy Butler Returns To Timberwolves’ Practice

Three weeks after his trade request went public, Jimmy Butler returned to the Timberwolves‘ facility and practiced with the team today, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter).

While Butler’s participation in practice doesn’t necessarily mean a trade won’t happen, it’s another indication that he won’t sit out once the regular season begins next week. Of course, that was never really a realistic option for Butler, since – as ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets – the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement features language that makes a holdout impractical.

According to Wojnarowski (via Twitter), Butler was vocal during today’s practice, verbally challenging coaches, teammates, and the front office, including Tom Thibodeau, Scott Layden, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Andrew Wiggins. Woj describes the 29-year-old as “vociferous and emotional at times,” adding in a second tweet that at one point, Butler screamed at Layden, “You (bleeping) need me. You can’t win without me.”

As we relayed earlier today, the Timberwolves reached back out to the Rockets on Tuesday, and the Heat remain interested in rekindling talks with Minnesota, so those trade discussions figure to continue. However, reports throughout the process have indicated that Thibodeau would prefer to see Butler start the season with the Wolves. That scenario appears increasingly plausible now that the All-NBA wing is practicing with his teammates again, though perhaps the obvious tension in practice will make Thibodeau reconsider his stance.

Here are a few more of the latest notes on Butler:

  • Besides their discussions with the Heat, the Timberwolves have had no “serious, active talks” with any other team about Butler, league sources tell Wojnarowski.
  • According to Sean Deveney of The Sporting News, the Nets have been “timid” in their approach toward pursuing Butler, and have made Caris LeVert unavailable. Deveney also confirms that the Clippers are unwilling to include Tobias Harris in any offers, having instead proposed deals headlined by Danilo Gallinari or some combination of other players, such as Patrick Beverley, Milos Teodosic, and others.
  • Some league executives who spoke to Deveney expressed reservations about Butler’s potential locker room fit. “As good as Jimmy is, I think you have to be concerned about the impact he is going to have in the locker room, on your younger guys, on your coaching staff, all of that,” one general manager said. “He has gotten the benefit of the doubt, but if you look at his history, he’s had trouble getting along in Chicago and now in Minnesota. Everywhere he goes, it becomes about Jimmy, and if you’re going to bring him in, you have to account for that.”
  • Earlier today, we passed along details on the Timberwolves‘ discussions with the Rockets.

Clippers Want First-Rounder From Suns For Beverley

The Clippers’ Patrick Beverley is at the top of the Suns’ list of potential point guards, but the teams haven’t been able to work out a price, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

In a video, Charania says L.A. is asking for a first-rounder in exchange for Beverley, but Phoenix has only been willing to offer second-round picks. Charania calls Beverley a “culture setter” and says the Suns “view him as a guy who could come in and play a very good complementary role to Devin Booker” similar to what he did alongside James Harden in Houston.

Phoenix has been without a starting-caliber point guard since trading Brandon Knight to the Rockets last month. The team has been exploring several options and has apparently focused on Beverley as the best fit.

The Clippers are willing to part with Beverley because they have a crowded backcourt and 15 players with guaranteed contracts. Beverley, whose $5,027,028 deal is non-guaranteed,  received full medical clearance in June after undergoing microfracture and meniscus surgery on his knee last November. He played just 11 games in his first season after being acquired from the Rockets.