Lester Hudson

Pacific Notes: Rondo, Hudson, Clippers

Rajon Rondo was viewed as one of the top point guards in the league as recently as two seasons ago, but he failed to generate much buzz as a free agent this offseason partly due to the 29-year-old’s personality. Clippers coach Doc Rivers, who coached Rondo in Boston, believes that the point guard can still be successful in the league, Lang Greene of Basketball Insiders writes.

“We had blowups, more at practice. Games were pretty good. You know, Rondo is as smart a player and as smart of a person I’ve ever been around… I don’t think people get that. You’re going to deal with difficult people, and sometimes the more successful they are and the smarter they are, the more difficult they can be. But that doesn’t mean you can’t work with them and work together,” Rivers said. “There’s so many good sides to him, as well. Every time I see that side, I think I’m glad I went through the bad stuff, because I could have given up. I could have done what you said, ‘Well, forget this, this is over.’ He’s not a guy that you should give up on.”

Here’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Lester Hudson has reached an agreement to extend his deal with Liaoning Flying Leopards of the Chinese Basketball Association, Enea Trapani of Sportando tweets. The deal will run until 2018. International journalist David Pick reported back in July that Liaoning was trying to bring back Hudson (Twitter link), shortly after Nick Bedard of Basketball Buddha reported that the expectation was that Hudson would be back with the team. Hudson played with Liaoning last season and then signed with the Clippers once the CBA’s season concluded.
  • Ben Golliver of SI.com believes the Clippers had the best offseason among the Pacific Division teams. Golliver is critical of the team for trading away Matt Barnes, who was a key cog in the starting lineup, but he believes bringing back DeAndre Jordan as well as adding Lance Stephenson, Josh Smith and Paul Pierce makes up for it because it gives the team the ammunition to compete for a championship.


Clippers Waive Lester Hudson

JULY 16TH, 7:58am: The Clippers officially waived Hudson, the team announced via press release before the guarantee deadline Wednesday night. He’s reportedly expected to sign in China.

JULY 15TH, 11:13pm: The Clippers will waive Lester Hudson today, a league executive tells Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times (Twitter link). Bolch reported Tuesday that the move was likely. Hudson’s non-guaranteed minimum salary, worth $1,015,421, would become fully guaranteed if he remains on the roster through today.

The 30-year-old joined the Clippers this spring on a 10-day contract, and he later beat out Nate Robinson, who was still recovering from a left knee injury, for a deal that covered the rest of the season. The Clips and Hudson tacked an extra year onto the contract, but the team is poised to let him go, clearing more roster flexibility to add other minimum-salary signees. No. 56 overall pick Branden Dawson just officially signed to a contract that runs two years at the minimum with the first year guaranteed, according to Dan Woike of the Orange County Register (on Twitter).

Hudson averaged 11.2 minutes per game in five regular season games and made cameo appearances in seven playoff contests, his first NBA action since the 2011/12 season. He had been playing in China, where he was a major scoring force, pouring in 31.2 points per game for Liaoning this past season before joining the Clippers.

Lester Hudson Expected To Sign In China

Lester Hudson is expected to return to play for Liaoning of the Chinese Basketball Association, assuming he clears waivers from the Clippers, tweets Nick Bedard of Basketball Buddha. The team has yet to officially announce Hudson’s release, but a league executive told Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times that the Clippers would waive the point guard today, the last day for them to do so without guaranteeing his full minimum salary for 2015/16.

Hudson spent much of this past season with Liaoning before joining the Clippers for the stretch run. He averaged 31.2 points per game for Liaoning and led the CBA with 3.1 steals per contest. He’d played in China in each of the three seasons since 2011/12, the last in which he’d seen NBA action prior to his time with the Clippers this spring.

Most Hoops Rumors readers predicted that Hudson would end up outside the NBA for this coming season. The early guarantee date that his agents at Priority Sports negotiated with the Clippers affords Hudson the likelihood of free agency before opportunities dry up both stateside and abroad. Any NBA team could claim him using the minimum-salary exception and keep him from returning overseas, but because of the full guarantee that would kick in for him if a team did that, it seems likely that he’ll pass through waivers.

Clippers Likely To Waive Lester Hudson

The Clippers are likely to waive Lester Hudson and his non-guaranteed minimum salary before it becomes fully guaranteed at the end of Wednesday, as Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times hears (on Twitter). The team signed Hudson at the end of the regular season this past spring, tacking an additional year onto the contract.

Hudson had been out of the NBA since the 2011/12 season before he inked his deal with the Clippers. The 30-year-old combo guard, who’ll turn 31 next month, averaged 3.6 points in 11.2 minutes across five regular season appearances, and he made it into seven of the team’s 14 playoff games, though he saw just 5.4 MPG.

The defensive ability of Hudson intrigued Clippers coach/president Doc Rivers, but Nate Robinson was also in the running for the roster spot that went to Hudson, and Rivers acknowledged that a knee injury to Robinson that hadn’t yet healed played a part in the team’s decision to sign Hudson instead. Hudson probably has a safe landing in China if he so chooses, since he averaged 31.2 points per game for Liaoning this past season before returning stateside.

Pacific Notes: Knight, Blue, Hudson

The Suns could face a situation with Brandon Knight that is similar to the one the team endured with Eric Bledsoe last summer in regards to re-signing the player, Sean Deveney of The Sporting News writes. The Suns and Bledsoe remained at an impasse for the bulk of last summer while the two sides haggled over the amount of the contract, and Bledsoe didn’t put pen to paper on his deal until the end of September. When Knight was in discussions with the Bucks regarding an extension last offseason, the player was requesting a deal in the range of $12MM per season, while Milwaukee held fast at $9MM per year, Deveney notes.

Knight only made 11 appearances for the Suns after being acquired at the trade deadline from Milwaukee thanks to a foot injury he suffered. The guard is set to become a restricted free agent this summer, provided Phoenix tenders him a qualifying offer of $4,790,680. If the two sides are unable to reach an agreement on a new deal this summer, Knight could simply ink the qualifying offer and play out the 2015/16 season. He would then hit free agency in the summer of 2016 when the salary cap is expected to increase significantly, Deveney adds.

Here’s more out of the Pacific Division:

  • Lester Hudson‘s $1,015,421 salary for 2015/16 with the Clippers is non-guaranteed, but if the guard is still on the roster on July 15th his salary becomes fully guaranteed, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders relays (Twitter link).
  • The Lakers paid Vander Blue a total of $14,408 for the three days he spent with the team after being inked to a pact that covered the remainder of the 2014/15 campaign, Pincus tweets. Blue can become a restricted free agent this summer if Los Angeles tenders him a qualifying offer worth $1,147,276.
  • Jerel McNeal‘s minimum salary arrangement with the Suns for 2015/16 will become fully guaranteed if he is still on Phoenix’s roster past July 21st, Pincus adds (Twitter link).

Western Notes: Hudson, Anderson, Kanter

The Clippers’ decision to re-sign Lester Hudson came down to what the guard brought on the defense end, writes Rowan Kavner of NBA.com. “I liked his toughness,” President of Basketball Operations and coach Doc Rivers said. “I like his defense. He has a chance to be a really good defensive player in our program.” Rivers also said that Hudson and Nate Robinson were both options for the roster spot and he added that he didn’t believe Robinson was 100% healthy.

Here’s more from the Western Conference:

  • The Spurs have recalled forward Kyle Anderson from their D-League affiliate, the Austin Spurs, according to the team’s website. To date, Anderson has appeared in 31 games for San Antonio, averaging 2.4 points and 2.3 rebounds per game.
  • Jesse Blancarte of Basketball Insiders wonders if the Thunder should re-sign Enes Kanter. Blancarte cites Kanter’s defensive struggles as reason Oklahoma City should hesitate to offer the center a lucrative contract.
  • DeAndre Jordan has had an impressive season and the center believes coach Doc Rivers was an integral part of his success, as he tells Jim Rome of CBS Sports Radio. “So much respect, so much respect,” Jordan said of Rivers. “He’s helped me out so much, he really believes in each and every one of us 150 % and when you have a guy like that who believes in you and really thinks you can get it done and knows you can get it done, your confidence is so high you will run through a brick wall for a guy like that.” Last month, Will Joseph of Hoops Rumors examined the market for Jordan, who will become a free agent at the end of the season.

Clippers Sign Lester Hudson To Multiyear Deal

6:32pm: Hudson’s contract includes a partial guarantee for next season, according to Ben Bolch of Los Angeles Times (Twitter link).

5:41pm: The signing, which is a multi-year arrangement, is official, according to the team’s website. Arash Markazi of ESPNLosAngeles (Twitter link) reports the contract contains a team option for next season. Next season’s salary is most likely non-guaranteed, since true team options are rare.

5:13pm: The Clippers will sign Lester Hudson on Saturday for the rest of the season, Dan Woike of the Orange County Register tweets. Hudson will fill the team’s open roster spot through the postseason since 10-day contracts are no longer allowed. By signing Hudson, the Clippers have apparently decided not to re-sign Nate Robinson.

The Clippers wanted to re-sign Robinson but the bone bruise in his left knee hasn’t fully healed and they didn’t want to wait any longer, according to a tweet from Arash Markazi of ESPN.com. Concerns over Robinson’s injury kept the Clippers from re-signing him after his two 10-day contracts expired last month. The team signed Hudson while Robinson was injured and Hudson’s 10-day deal was set to expire after Tuesday. Hudson is averaging 2.3 points and 2.0 rebounds in 11.3 minutes in three games since joining the club.

Hudson had been out of the NBA since 2012 before he inked his 10-day contract. Robinson averaged 5.1 points, 2.2 assists and 0.9 turnovers in 14.0 minutes per game during his nine contests with the Clips. Both played for Rivers when he was the coach of the Celtics.

Latest On Clips, Nate Robinson, Lester Hudson

3:11pm: Robinson’s knee, a factor when the Clippers didn’t re-sign him earlier, is better, but it still isn’t 100%, tweets Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times.

FRIDAY, 1:31pm: The team will fill its open roster spot before season’s end, Rivers said, and the move is likely to take place this weekend, according to Arash Markazi of ESPNLosAngeles.com. Robinson and Hudson are both in the running to re-sign, Markazi adds (Twitter links).

MONDAY, 3:37pm: The Clippers and Nate Robinson plan to talk this week about a deal that would cover the rest of the season and the playoffs, league sources tell Shams Charania of RealGM (Twitter link). The sore left knee that kept the Clippers from inking him right after his second 10-day contract with the team expired last month has healed, Charania hears. The team signed Lester Hudson into its lone open roster spot while Robinson was hurt, but Hudson’s 10-day deal is up after Tuesday.

The decision regarding whether to give that roster spot to Robinson or Hudson for the playoffs has been dependent in part on Hudson’s performance, as Arash Markazi of ESPNLosAngeles.com suggested, but coach/executive Doc Rivers was complimentary of Robinson. Hudson, who had been out of the NBA since 2012 before he inked his 10-day contract, has seven points on 2 for 8 shooting with two assists and two turnovers in 34 total minutes across three games. Robinson averaged 5.1 points, 2.2 assists and 0.9 turnovers in 14.0 minutes per game during his nine contests with the Clips. Both played for Rivers when he was the coach of the Celtics.

The Clips are in less need of backcourt help now that Jamal Crawford is probable for Tuesday’s game, just a few weeks after Rivers expressed worry that he would be out for the season. Still, it seems likely the club will give the roster spot to someone just in case for the playoffs, since a prorated minimum salary deal for the balance of the season would cost the team less than $50K if it’s signed after Hudson’s 10-day deal expires.

Pacific Rumors: Robinson, Kings, Bhullar

Nate Robinson‘s sore left knee is improving and he could return to the Clippers since coach Doc Rivers was pleased with what he saw from him, according to Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times (Twitter link). Robinson was not signed for the remainder of the season after his two 10-day contracts expired because of the injury but he’s expected to be cleared to play by week’s end, Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports tweets. Rivers indicated to Bolch that Robinson’s return was a strong possibility when he’s ready to play. “I liked what Nate brought us,” Rivers said “I liked his energy.” However, Robinson’s return could be delayed until Lester Hudson‘s 10-day contract expires. Hudson was signed on Sunday to take the roster spot vacated by Robinson, whose last 10-day contract expired on Thursday. The 30-year-old Hudson was the Chinese Basketball Association MVP the last two years before joining the Clippers.

In other news around the Pacific Division:

  • Kings owner Vivek Ranadive wants to put an end to the discord in the team’s front office, league sources tell Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee. Jones writes about Chris Mullin, the Kings adviser who is reportedly expected to accept an offer to instead become the coach at St. John’s University and who, according to fellow Bee scribe Ailene Voisin, opposed the hirings of coach George Karl and new Kings exec Vlade Divac.
  • The Kings are also hopeful Sim Bhullar will eventually make their NBA roster as his conditioning improves, Ailene Voisin of the Sacramento Bee reports. Bhullar, a 7-foot-5, center, has been playing for the Kings’ D-League affiliate, the Reno Bighorns, after getting waived by Sacramento during training camp. Bhullar came to camp at nearly 400 pounds and has since shed approximately 45 pounds, according to Voisin. Ranadive is intrigued by Bhullar’s skill set but feels Bhullar still needs to drop another 40-50 pounds, Voisin adds. “He needs to get in much better shape,” Ranadive told Voisin. “That will help him get up and down the floor, and he’s been working on that.”

And-Ones: Lakers, Robinson, Draft

Opposing players, according to Byron Scott, have told the Lakers head coach that they’d love to play in the purple-and-gold, Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News writes. Scott would not name any players because of tampering rules and did not say how many potential free agents expressed interest to him in joining the Lakers, Medina noted. Still, Scott believes the Lakers “will have a real good summer,” in terms of free agency, according to Medina.

“You have a lot of free agents out there who would love to play for us. They’ve been making it pretty clear,” Scott said. “You have guys during the games come by the bench saying, ‘Hey Coach, I would love to be in L.A. next year.’ That makes you feel good there are players out there that want to be here. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that we’re taking it in a different direction. They know this organization and the history of the organization is going to be back.”

Here’s more from around the NBA:

  • There’s still a chance that the Clippers could sign Nate Robinson for the rest of the season after a 10-day evaluation of Lester Hudson, according to Arash Markazi of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Naturally, their decision on what to do with Robinson will hinge heavily on how Hudson performs.
  • France’s Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot said he would withdraw his name from the 2015 Draft if he deems workouts with teams after the NBA season unsuccessful, as he told the French outlet Be Basket and as Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia transcribes. The 19-year-old is averaging 7.4 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game in 19 minutes per contest for the Olympique Antibes, according to Carchia. The swingman announced in February he planned to enter this year’s draft.
  • Daemen College big man Gerald Beverly, who was recently named a Division II All-American, signed with agent Roger Montgomery of the Montgomery Sports Group, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link).

Zach Links contributed to this post.