Paul George

Pacific Notes: GRIII, Lakers, Whiteside, George, Warriors

Glenn Robinson III, who is currently away from the Kings for personal reasons, may not return to the team, writes Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. Robinson’s salary for 2020/21 is non-guaranteed, and teams must waive players on non-guaranteed contracts today in order to avoid taking on their full-season cap hits.

According to Anderson, Robinson is believed to be anticipating his release, but the Kings hadn’t communicated their intentions as of Tuesday night.

As Anderson explains, the situation is somewhat complicated by the fact that Robinson is dealing with a knee injury. A team that waives an injured player who is on a non-guaranteed deal must continue paying him until he’s healthy enough to return or until his contract expires, whichever comes first. Robinson’s knee issue doesn’t appear serious, but it will be a factor for the Kings to consider as they mull their options.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • Jovan Buha of The Athletic explores how waiving Quinn Cook gives the Lakers even more options on the buyout market, while Dan Woike and Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times identify Kings center Hassan Whiteside as one frontcourt player the team could pursue either via trade or buyout.
  • Clippers forward Paul George was pleased to earn All-Star honors, but is among the players who don’t believe the game should be played at all this season, as Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN details. George told reporters that he was fined earlier in the season for having a teammate over to his house, which is one reason why he questions the decision to bring 24 players from all over the league to Atlanta for the All-Star Game.
  • The return of Stephen Curry (37 points) made the biggest impact in the Warriors‘ win over New York on Tuesday, but head coach Steve Kerr was also pleased to have centers James Wiseman and Kevon Looney available again, telling reporters that Wiseman looked “great” and that Looney “makes the game easier for everybody else” (link via Nick Friedell of ESPN). Wiseman missed 11 games with a wrist injury, while Looney was out for 10 games due to an ankle sprain.

2021 NBA All-Star Reserves Revealed

The 2021 NBA All-Star reserves have been revealed. Below is the full rundown of the 14 players scheduled to join the previously announced 10 starters for the March 7 contest in Atlanta. All-Star reserves are selected by the league’s head coaches.

Eastern Conference Reserves:

Notable omissions this season include recent Heat All-Stars Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, two-time Bucks All-Star Khris Middleton, recent Hawks All-Star point guard Trae Young, Raptors guard Fred VanVleet, recent Pacers All-Star big man Domantas Sabonis, and Sixers forward Tobias Harris.

Brown, LaVine, and Randle are making their All-Star debuts. Harden is the most decorated among the All-Star vets among the East reserves, as he will be appearing in his ninth All-Star contest.

Western Conference Reserves:

Lillard, who just barely missed out on a starting nod to Mavericks guard Luka Dončić, earns his sixth All-Star mention as he mounts a sleeper MVP campaign with the Trail Blazers. Paul will be playing in his 11th All-Star game, for a fourth different team (he did not earn an All-Star nod in either of his two Rockets seasons, but made it with the Clippers, New Orleans Hornets, and Thunder).

Snubs in the West include recent Suns All-Star shooting guard Devin Booker, Spurs guard DeMar DeRozan, and 33-year-old Jazz point guard Mike Conley, the latter of whom may go down in history as the best NBA player never to make an All-Star team. Williamson, the No. 1 pick in the 2019 draft, is a first-time All-Star. Last year, his teammate Brandon Ingram made his own All-Star debut.

Conley may still have his day in the sun, however. Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register notes that Lakers All-Star big man Davis, recovering from a right calf strain, will likely not be healthy in time to partake in the currently-planned All-Star game, and thus another Western Conference All-Star should eventually be named by NBA commissioner Adam Silver to replace the eight-time All-Star.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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

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

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

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

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

There’s more from Los Angeles:

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

Injury Updates: McCollum, Culver, George, Leonard, Irving

Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum has been allowed to shed his walking boot and will advance to the next stage of his rehabilitation, according to a team press release. McCollum, who was examined on Tuesday, will be reevaluated again in two weeks. McCollum suffered a small hairline fracture to the lateral cuneiform against Atlanta on January 16.

We have more injury news:

  • Timberwolves wing Jarrett Culver has been upgraded to on-court activity this week, according to a team press release. He suffered a left ankle sprain against Golden State on January 25. Culver is expected to be reevaluated next week, with potential to return to play late next week.
  • Clippers forward Paul George, who hasn’t played since February 3 due to bone edema in his right toe, will miss Wednesday’s game against Utah, the team’s PR department announced. Kawhi Leonard, who sat out against Miami on Monday due to a left lower leg contusion, is listed as questionable.
  • Nets guard Kyrie Irving was ruled out on Tuesday due to back tightness. Coach Steve Nash said it’s a short-term issue and that Irving should return soon, Adam Zagoria of the New York Times tweets. Brooklyn plays the Lakers on Thursday and Clippers on Friday.

California Notes: Haliburton, Smailagić, Gasol, George

Kings rookie shooting guard Tyrese Haliburton, selected with the No. 12 pick out of Iowa State in the 2020 draft, is looking like a great long-term addition for Sacramento, writes Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated.

The 6’5″ two-guard is averaging 11.8 PPG, 5.4 APG, and 3.8 RPG across 20 games for the Kings. He also holds sparkling shooting numbers, boasting a slash line of .484/.433/.867.

“Ty has that ‘it’ factor,” veteran Kings forward Harrison Barnes said. “He’s going to be special in this league for a long time on and off the floor.”

There’s more out of California:

  • The Warriors are sending second-year big man Alen Smailagić to join their G League affiliate, the Santa Cruz Warriors, for the Orlando NBAGL “bubble” campus season, according to a team press release. Across 14 games, the 6’10” Smailagić averaged 4.2 PPG and 1.9 RPG in 9.9 MPG during his rookie season in 2019/20. He has yet to play for Golden State this year, having undergone knee surgery last month.
  • Though Lakers starting center Marc Gasol is averaging a career-low 3.8 PPG (albeit in a career-low 19.4 MPG), Los Angeles head coach Frank Vogel is not concerned, according to Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register. Gasol’s shooting numbers, however, are a bit unsettling: he is connecting on just 36.8% from the field and 31.7% from deep. He made 38.5% of his three-point looks last season. “He’s out there to defend and rebound and play-make from the top of the key and sometimes that’s going to mean he’s going to get a couple of good looks at the 3-point line, a few short rolls and some other situations, some post-up on switches and whatnot,” Vogel said.
  • Clippers star forward Paul George has been sidelined for the past two games with a bone edema in his foot, according to Mirjam Swanson of The Orange County Register. Head coach Tyronn Lue would not speculate on the duration of George’s absence. “I don’t know,” he said. “We’re going to miss him. We wish him a speedy recovery.” George is averaging a stellar 24.4 PPG, 6.2 RPG and 5.5 APG in 20 games this season.

Kawhi Leonard, Paul George Cleared To Return

Clippers stars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George have been cleared to play in tonight’s game against the Magic, tweets Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. Both players missed the past two games due to health and safety protocols.

Leonard and George didn’t accompany the Clippers on their current road trip, but were expected to join the team once they received medical clearance. Tonight is the third game of the six-game trip, which began with a loss in Atlanta and a win in Miami.

The Clippers still won’t have guard Patrick Beverley, who has missed the past two games with soreness in his right knee, Youngmisuk adds (via Twitter). Beverley also didn’t travel with the team, and no official timetable has been set for him to return.

Pacific Notes: Kawhi/PG-13, CP3, Green, Saric

Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue has noted that his stars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, absent thus far from the club’s six-game road trip due to coronavirus protocols, are “feeling well,” but he would not elaborate on when he expected them to return to the team, per Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.

“Mentally, they’re in a great place,” Clippers reserve point guard Reggie Jackson said of the two unavailable wings. “They are doing all they can to get back as soon as possible.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Suns All-Star point guard Chris Paul has verbalized his frustration with his club following Phoenix’s third straight loss, according to Royce Young of ESPN. “I’m not going to say we’re not good enough, but we’re not playing well enough right now,” Paul said following a 102-97 home loss to the Thunder.
  • After being traded from the Lakers this offseason, Sixers small forward Danny Green holds no ill will toward Los Angeles, per Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer. In fact, Green stays in touch with his old teammates. “I still call them brothers,” Green said. “We still have a bond forever, because of what we achieved together and the time we spent in the bubble.”
  • The Suns are hopeful that forward Dario Saric, who has been conditioning for several days after being absent due to the league’s coronavirus protocols, can return for the team’s game against the Mavericks this Saturday, John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 FM tweets. In seven games this season, Saric is averaging 10.6 PPG, 4.6 RPG, and 1.0 APG. He is connecting on 35.7% of his 4.0 three-point attempts per game.

Leonard, George Placed On Health And Safety Protocol List

Clippers stars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George will miss the team’s game in Atlanta on Tuesday after being placed on the league’s health and safety protocol list, the team’s PR department announced.

The superstar duo didn’t fly to Atlanta with the rest of the team, Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN tweets.

The Clippers, who are off to a 13-4 start, carry a seven-game winning streak into their six-game road trip. They’re also schedule to face Miami (Thursday), Orlando (Friday), New York (Sunday), Brooklyn (Tuesday, Feb. 2) and Cleveland (Wednesday, Feb. 3) before returning home to face Boston on Friday, Feb. 5.

It’s possible that Leonard and/or George will join the team at some point on its journey if they clear protocols, Youngmisuk adds.

Leonard and George are the latest big-name players to miss time due to COVID-19 protocols. Jimmy Butler, Karl-Anthony Towns, Kevin Durant and Jayson Tatum are among the top-level players who have been sidelined by the protocols in recent weeks.

Los Angeles Notes: George, Scrubb, James

Paul George is playing with a chip on his shoulder after his subpar performances during last season’s playoffs, Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN writes. George’s shooting percentages are a career best while averaging 25.3 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 5.2 APG and 1.3 SPG. “I’m coming back with vengeance,” the Clippers forward said. “I didn’t like, not so much of the noise and everything around [the way last season ended], but just the fact that people saw weakness. And I had to address that. I had to answer that. That fueled me.” George signed a four-year, max extension last month.

We have more on the two Los Angeles teams:

  • Clippers rookie guard Jay Scrubb got his cast removed last week after he fractured a bone in his foot, Adam Zagoria of the New York Times tweets. He may play during the G League’s “bubble” season in Orlando, which begins next month, Zagoria adds. A second-round pick and last season’s JUCO Player of the Year, Scrubb signed a two-way contract with the Clippers in November.
  • Lakers star LeBron James said that playing fewer minutes during lopsided games has very little impact on him, he noted during a press conference this week. “I’m 36 years old, 18 years in this league. Ain’t no saving something for later on in the season,” he said. “My body is ready to play whenever I need to play throughout the course of the game. … I wish I could ‘bank’ time.” James has appeared in all 14 Lakers games this season, averaging 31.8 MPG.
  • James is making a major swap in the cola wars. He’s signing with Pepsi to promote the Mountain Dew brand, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. James has been endorsing Coca-Cola products since his rookie season in 2003.

Clippers Notes: Ibaka, Zubac, George, Morris, Williams, Beverley

Serge Ibaka started at center in the Clippers‘ preseason opener and coach Tyronn Lue will continue to have the prized free agent acquisition work with the first unit, according to Jovan Buha of The AthleticIvica Zubac started regularly last season when Doc Rivers was the head coach.

“Zu started the last couple of years and did a great job,” Lue said. “Just kind of seeing this team, what style of play we want to play at, right now, tonight we went with Serge and we’ll continue to see how that looks.”

Ibaka has the ability to stretch defenses and defend the perimeter more adeptly that Zubac, while Zubac is a better screener and roller and rim protector, Buha adds.

We have more on the Clippers:

  • The front office checked around the league to determine Paul George‘s trade value before deciding that an extension was the best option, The Ringer’s Paolo Uggetti reports. George signed a max four-year extension that kicks in for the 2021/22 season. George could have opted out of his contract after the upcoming season without the extension. The market for George around the league would have likely gotten him that same contract elsewhere, Uggetti adds.
  • Forward Marcus Morris sat out the preseason opener due to minor knee soreness, Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times writes. “We’re just being cautious,” Lue said. The Clippers re-signed Morris on a four-year, $64MM deal after acquiring him in a trade last season.
  • Patrick Beverley and/or Lou Williams could be traded during the season, though Beverley’s contract might be tough to move, some anonymous front office executives and scouts told Sam Amick of The Athletic. The Clippers didn’t truly address their point guard situation in the offseason but that could change as the season progresses.