Patrick Beverley

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 RealGM.com (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.

Suns Considering Beverley, Joseph, Dinwiddie

Some more names have emerged in the Suns’ search for a point guard, according to John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 FM, who reports that the team has targeted the Clippers’ Patrick Beverley, the Pacers’ Cory Joseph and the Nets’ Spencer Dinwiddie.

Beverley may be expendable in L.A. after the Clippers matched an offer sheet this week for Tyrone Wallace. That move gives the team 17 players with guaranteed contracts and adds to a crowded backcourt that also includes Avery Bradley, Jawun Evans, Milos Teodosic, Sindarius Thornwell, Lou Williams and first-round picks Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Jerome Robinson.

Beverley has a non-guaranteed deal that will pay him a little more than $5MM for the upcoming season. The 30-year-old received full medical clearance in June after having microfracture and meniscus surgery on his knee last November. He started all 11 games he appeared in before the injury, posting a 12.2/4.1/2.9 line, and is considered among the NBA’s best defensive point guards.

Joseph, 27, has a $7.9MM expiring contract. One of the league’s best sixth men, he averaged 7.9/3.2/3.2 while playing all 82 games in his first year with the Pacers. However, Indiana has Darren Collison entrenched as its starter and selected Aaron Holiday in the first round of this year’s draft.

Dinwiddie, 25, would come much cheaper at $1.6MM and is also on an expiring contract. He played 80 games for the Nets last season with a 12.6/3.2/6.6 line.

The Suns have been in the market for point guard help since trading Brandon Knight to the Rockets last month. Isaiah Canaan, Shaquille Harrison, De’Anthony Melton and Elie Okobo are the only options on the current roster.

Western Rumors: Rozier, Williams, Durant, Rockets

The Celtics’ Terry Rozier and the Nets’ Spencer Dinwiddie are two of the logical trade targets for the Suns in their search for a point guard, according to Frank Urbina of HoopsHype. Rozier is a solid two-way player coming off a career year but the Suns would likely have to offer a package that included an unprotected first-rounder to catch Boston’s attention. A trade for Dinwiddie would be more plausible and he’d be a good fit with Phoenix considering his size, perimeter shooting and pick-and-roll prowess, Urbina continues. The Clippers’ Patrick Beverley, the Cavaliers’ George Hill and the Hornets’ Kemba Walker are some of the other names Urbina throws out as potential targets. The Suns are searching for a starting point guard after trading away Brandon Knight to the Rockets last week.

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • The Pelicans signed Troy Williams, Kenrich Williams and Garlon Green to partially-guaranteed contracts in the hope of finding one reliable small forward, Scott Kushner of the New Orleans Advocate notes. That trio will compete for a roster spot, though the potential addition of swingman Tyrone Wallacesigned to an offer sheet on Monday — could change that. “They just told me they’re bringing some guys in and having them go head-on to see who wins a spot,” Kenrich Williams told Kushner.
  • By buying out Luol Deng‘s contract and using the stretch provision, the Lakers gave themselves a chance to offer Kevin Durant a max salary in free agency, as Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders examines. The Lakers now project to have $38.2MM in cap space, which would be just enough to afford Durant, Pincus continues. If they can’t land Durant, they’ll certainly have enough to bring in another All-Star level talent. Other high-level potential free agents, including Kawhi Leonard, Klay ThompsonDeMarcus Cousins, Jimmy Butler, Walker and Kyrie Irving, could command a first-year salary of $33MM, leaving the Lakers with another $5MM to spend in other ways, Pincus adds.
  • The Rockets took a frugal approach this summer and it could cost them a title, Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post opines. They traded away Ryan Anderson and allowed two key wing players to walk in free agency. In turn, they signed three players on veteran’s minimum deals and adding a couple of bench players in the Anderson trade, Bontemps notes. So while Houston execs had said they were unconcerned about the luxury tax, their actions showed they wanted to save some money, Bontemps adds.

Beverley’s Return Sparks Optimism For Clippers

The Clippers transformed their team with last summer’s trade of Chris Paul, but they barely got to enjoy the benefits of one of the key pieces of that deal. Patrick Beverley played just 11 games before microfracture knee surgery ended his season. Now recovered, the 30-year-old guard feels like he has a lot to prove, relays James Blancarte of Basketball Insiders.

“I’m really ready. I like to go out there, put my game on the line and that’s more than just talking,” Beverley said. “I’m feeling really, really strong, I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been in my life and we’re going to see soon.”

He isn’t a lock to make the team, though, if his health remains an issue. His $5MM salary won’t become fully guaranteed until January 10, the league-wide date to guarantee salaries.

Beverley was a defensive catalyst for five seasons in Houston before the Rockets included him as part of the package to acquire Paul. Beverley plans to bring that same energy to L.A., saying he wants to create a “Clamp City” identity in place of the former “Lob City.” The Clippers ranked 19th last season with a defensive rating of 107.7 and lost shot-blocking center DeAndre Jordan in free agency.

Beverley and Avery Bradley, who was acquired at midseason, could be an imposing defensive tandem in the backcourt. They will also serve as mentors to first-round pick Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, whose wingspan makes him a potentially dangerous defender.

The Clippers were hampered by injuries last season as Beverley was among several players who missed significant time. They got only 21 games from Danilo Gallinari, 45 from Milos Teodosic and 61 from Austin Rivers, who has since been traded to the Wizards. Blake Griffin played in 33 games before being dealt to the Pistons in late January.

“If you look at this team, our backcourt is loaded. It is loaded,” said Jerry West, who serves on the team’s executive board. “I feel a hundred percent sure last year, if we didn’t have all the injuries we had, would have made the playoffs.”

Pacific Notes: Stephenson, Ariza, Harrell, Ferrell

Headed to his seventh team in five years, new Laker Lance Stephenson is hoping he can land a long-term contract next summer, relays Scott Agness of Vigilant Sports. Stephenson expected a longer stay in Indiana after appearing in all 82 games last season. However, after teammate Thaddeus Young opted in to a $13.7MM deal and Doug McDermott was added in free agency, the Pacers elected to decline their $4.3MM option on Stephenson. He wound up signing a one-year, $4.5MM deal with L.A.

“I’m definitely looking for a long-term contract after this,” Stephenson said. “I’m trying to find a home. I’ve been moving a lot and to different teams. I’m trying to find a place where I can actually call home and feel comfortable, and actually get a nice place and stay there for a while.”

There’s more this morning from the Pacific Division:

  • The Suns contacted free agent forward Trevor Ariza in the first minute of free agency, he says in a video interview tweeted by the team. The former Rocket agreed to change teams after receiving a one-year, $15MM offer from Phoenix. “Sometimes things run their course and it’s time for a new start and new beginning,” Ariza explained. “There were a lot of options for me, but the one that … showed the most promise was this one. I’m excited to be here. I’m happy to be here. It’s closer to home [in Los Angeles] for me.”
  • The new two-year, $12MM contract for Montrezl Harrell leaves the Clippers about $500K below the tax line, but sets up a difficult roster decision, Bobby Marks posts on ESPN Now. Re-signing Harrell gives L.A. 16 guaranteed contracts, along with non-guaranteed deals for Patrick Beverley ($5,027,028) and C.J. Williams ($1,378,242). Neither becomes fully guaranteed until January 10.
  • The Kings finalized a three-year, $20.5MM contract with Nemanja Bjelica on Saturday, but not an expected deal with Yogi Ferrell, notes salary cap expert Albert Nahmad (Twitter link). He speculates that Sacramento could be examining its options with $14MM in remaining cap space and may use the room mid-level exception to sign Ferrell to a two-year, $6.2MM deal at a later date.

Pacific Notes: McLemore, Davis, Curry, Durant, Knight

Shooting guard Ben McLemore and power forward Deyonta Davis probably won’t stick around with the Kings, James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area speculates. That duo was acquired, along with a future second-rounder, from the Grizzlies on Tuesday for veteran guard Garrett Temple. Adding a draft pick and clearing a little more cap space attracted Sacramento to the deal, Ham continues. McLemore joins a crowded backcourt and he could be waived or his $5.4MM contract could be bought out. Davis has a team-friendly $1.5MM salary but also doesn’t have an obvious role with the current roster.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Temple trade gives the Kings more than $20MM of cap room, making it a smarter move for them than the Grizzlies, in the eyes of Kevin Pelton of ESPN. Sacramento can use that additional wiggle room take on bad contracts or chase a restricted free agent, Pelton continues. The 2021 pick it acquired could very well wind up being at or near the top of the second round if Memphis goes into rebuild mode, Pelton adds.
  • Warriors guard Stephen Curry has decided to skip next week’s USA Basketball mini-camp, Chris Haynes of ESPN reports. Curry wants to spend more time with his family. Golden State forward Kevin Durant will take part in the mini-camp, David Aldridge of NBA.com tweets.
  • The Suns will head into the season with Brandon Knight as the starting point guard unless they make a trade, Scott Bordow of the Arizona Republic declares in his latest mailbag. If Phoenix strikes a deal, the Clippers’ Patrick Beverley would be an obvious target because of Los Angeles’ backcourt logjam, Bordow adds.
  • The Clippers will promote their G League coach, Casey Hill, to Doc Rivers’ staff with coaching associate Brian Adams replacing Hill at Agua Caliente, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter links). Natalie Nakase will be promoted to Clippers player development staff, Wojnarowski adds.

Atlantic Notes: Raptors, Atkinson, Sixers, Celtics, Sullivan

After a record-breaking regular season, the Raptors once again laid an egg in the postseason, leading to the firing of Coach of the Year candidate Dwane Casey. Now, barring any trades, the team is faced with a potential luxury tax issue with a roster that cannot seem to compete in the weaker Eastern Conference come playoff time.

Eric Koreen of The Athletic takes an in-depth look at the luxury tax concerns for Toronto, focusing on who the Raptors could afford to surrender in order to get under the tax threshold while also remaining competitive.

Koreen opines that in a perfect world, the Raptors would probably love to unload one or both of the contracts of Serge Ibaka and Norman Powell, who are scheduled to make over $21.6MM and $9.3MM next season, respectively.

More realistically, the club may decide to let young guard Fred VanVleet sign somewhere else instead of matching what is expected to be an offer in the $7.5MM per season range. Koreen also explores the possibility of moving on from big man Jonas Valanciunas or the player the Raptors used their MLE on last summer – C.J. Miles.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Nets have been relatively uncompetitive for the last three seasons, but head coach Kenny Atkinson expects significant growth next season, reports Brian Lewis of the New York Post. The Nets have limited cap space and traded away their own first-round pick in this month’s NBA Draft, so Atkinson will need to rely on his reputed prowess as a player developer if the Nets hope to show meaningful improvement.
  • Regardless of whether or not the Sixers succeed in signing a superstar free agent this offseason, the team will need to make sure to also sign both a guard with long-range shooting ability who is capable of guarding opposing point guards (e.g. Patrick Beverley) and a backup center capable of protecting the rim when Joel Embiid isn’t on the court, per David Murphy of The Philadelphia Inquirer.
  • The Celtics‘ first selection in the upcoming draft, barring a trade, isn’t until pick No. 27, but according to A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston, the team can still add some quality wing depth with versatile players such as Gary Trent Jr. or Josh Okogie, both of whom are likely to be available towards the end of the first round.
  • Per Ian Begley of ESPN, former Clippers’ assistant coach Pat Sullivan will join the Knicks staff as an assistant for new head coach David Fizdale. Sullivan, a New Jersey native, worked as an assistant coach for the Pistons when Knicks’ GM Scott Perry was an executive with the team.

Patrick Beverley Cleared For Basketball Activities

Clippers guard Patrick Beverley is well ahead of schedule in his recovery from microfracture and meniscus surgery on his right knee, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Beverley has received medical clearance to resume full basketball activities, about three months earlier than originally projected when the operation was performed November 22. Beverley was expected to need nine months before receiving clearance, and Dr. Walter Lowe, professor and chair of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at the University of Texas Medical Center, called his recovery “remarkable.”

“I saw Pat [Thursday] and ordered a new MRI approximately six months out from his microfracture biocartilage repair and lateral meniscus repair,” Lowe said in a statement to ESPN. “His recovery has been remarkable and I have cleared him to return to all basketball activities. This speedy recovery is a testament to Pat’s diligence to the comprehensive rehabilitation program between Houston and LA.”

The Clippers acquired Beverley last June in the trade that sent Chris Paul to Houston. He was expected to take over Paul’s role in the L.A. backcourt, but the injury shut down his season after just 11 games.

The team holds a $5MM option on Beverly for next season and could opt to negotiate an extension this summer, Wojnarowski notes. The contract won’t become fully guaranteed until January 10.