Mason Plumlee

Clippers Notes: Lue, Leonard, George, Westbrook, Plumlee, Coffey

After battling injuries for much of last season, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George should be fully healthy for the beginning of training camp, Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said in an appearance on Chris Haynes and Marc Stein’s #thisleague UNCUT podcast.

“They’re both on track to be 100% by the time training camp starts, and that’s what we need,” Lue said. “You know, our best players will be healthy, and we’ve just been in an unfortunate situation where our two best players (haven’t had) a full season together the last three years and that’s been tough on us.”

The Clippers thought they were ready to compete for a title when they signed Leonard and traded for George during the 2019 offseason, but bad luck with injuries has prevented them from making a serious run. Returning from an ACL injury, Leonard was limited to 52 games last season, then tore his meniscus during a first-round playoff series. George appeared in 56 games and missed the playoffs entirely due to a sprained right knee.

Lue also indicated that he doesn’t plan to do as much load management with his two stars this season.

“We have to, like I say, start respecting the regular season and giving our fans what they want to see and playing hard every single night, putting our best product on the floor,” he said. “And you know, our guys are ready to do that this year.”

There’s more on the Clippers:

  • On the same podcast, Lue said he’s looking forward to coaching Russell Westbrook for an entire season after the veteran guard re-signed this summer. Lue revealed that Westbrook and Mason Plumlee both had other options, but they wanted to say in L.A. “That just says a lot about the Clippers organization and what we’re trying to build there,” Lue added. “They both could have went other places for more money, but they like what we’re doing with the Clippers.”
  • Appearing recently on Stephen A. Smith’s podcast, George ranked the Clippers second in the West behind the defending champion Nuggets. “I’m gonna give Denver their credit,” George said. “They’re the champions until beaten. If healthy, we got one of the biggest chances to win it, if healthy.” 
  • Amir Coffey has been charged with one count of carrying a loaded firearm and one count of carrying a concealed firearm, according to TMZ Sports. Coffey was arrested in late July following a traffic stop in Hollywood. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for later this month.

Los Angeles Notes: Christie, Plumlee, Leonard, Harden

Austin Reaves was a breakout performer for the Lakers last season. Could second-year guard Max Christie make similar strides?

After a strong showing in the Summer League, he feels he’s ready to step into the Lakers’ rotation, he told’s Sean Deveney.

“I feel a lot more comfortable, feel a lot more confident out here, just having the ball in my hands and being able to just play my game,” he said. “And so it’s kind of crazy what one year can do for you one year of experience. And so I think I’m reaping the benefits of just sort of staying even-keeled last year and learning a lot and being able to showcase it out here.”

Christie, who averaged 19 points per game in three appearances in Las Vegas, could carve out second-unit minutes behind Reaves at shooting guard.

We have more on the Los Angeles teams:

  • Mason Plumlee re-signed with the Clippers on a one-year, $5MM contract this month and the veteran big man said his experience with the club last season was a motivating factor, per Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times. “Just believing in the roster and having a little bit of playoff experience playing for (Tyronn Lue) and the staff,” he said. “To me, we were playing really well those first couple games even without Paul [George] yet into that and I just have a personal belief in this group and it’s something I wanted to be a part of.” Plumlee was acquired from Charlotte at last season’s trade deadline.
  • Kawhi Leonard is extension-eligible, and The Athletic’s Law Murray says the “dialogue is healthy,” but he still doubts that a deal will be reached anytime soon. Murray anticipates Leonard will once again opt for free agency as soon as next summer, when he must make a decision on his $48.8MM option for the 2024/25 season. Murray notes Leonard did not sign an extension with San Antonio after he was named the league’s MVP and also walked away from Toronto after winning a championship there.
  • Should the Clippers trade for James Harden? Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times believes so, opining that it’s the last chance for Leonard and Paul George to seriously chase a championship with the franchise.

L.A. Notes: Plumlee, Brown, LeBron, Wood

Mason Plumlee might have landed more money or a starting spot with another team, but he was willing to accept a one-year, $5MM contract because he wanted to stay with the Clippers, writes Janis Carr of The Orange County Register. The 33-year-old center settled into a reserve role behind Ivica Zubac after being acquired from the Hornets in February. He made just four starts in 23 games while averaging 7.5 points and 6.9 rebounds in about 20 minutes per night.

“I was very comfortable,” Plumlee said. “It’s an easy system to get comfortable with and they (front office) were just very clear and what they were looking for so that made (my decision) smooth.”

Plumlee also admitted it’s hard to leave an organization that has a chance to be a title contender. He believes the Clippers will be back in the race for the top after losing in the first round of the playoffs last season.

“That was the biggest thing, to be honest with you,” Plumlee said of the Clippers’ title aspirations. “You know, I think a lot of teams talk about it, but there are a few teams that believe it, and this is one of those teams. So that was a major factor.”

There’s more from Los Angeles:

  • Clippers rookie Kobe Brown thought he should have been taken higher than 30th in the draft, and he’s been showing why at Summer League, per Steve Reed of The Associated Press. Brown sank seven three-pointers on his way to a 35-point night in Friday’s win over the Sixers.
  • Lakers star LeBron James will change his number from 6 back to 23 next season in deference to the late Bill Russell, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN. “It’s LeBron’s decision,” said James’ agent, Rich Paul of Klutch Sports Group. “He chose to out of respect for Bill Russell.” 
  • Financial constraints may be keeping the Lakers from reaching out to free agent big man Christian Wood, Marc Stein suggests in a Substack chat. L.A. only has 13 players with guaranteed contracts and reportedly wants to add more size, but the team doesn’t have the available funds to make a competitive offer to Wood, who earned $14.3MM with the Mavericks last season.

Warriors Notes: Open Roster Spots, Gay, Quinones, Centers, Martin

Although the Warriors aren’t closing the door on the possibility of filling all 15 slots on their standard roster to open the 2023/24 season, the team seems unlikely to carry more than 14, says Anthony Slater of The Athletic. That means that once the Dario Saric signing is official, Golden State will probably just have one standard roster spot left to fill.

There’s no rush to add a 14th man though, according to Slater, who explains that the club already addressed its top two offseason priorities by adding a steady veteran guard (Cory Joseph) and a frontcourt player who can shoot (Saric). Slater expects the Warriors to exercise patience from here on out rather than looking to sign another player right away.

As Slater observes, there are already a few buyout candidates on rosters around the NBA, and more could emerge if certain star trade candidates get moved and roster shake-ups occur. The Warriors may be reluctant to commit a guaranteed contract to a 14th player without knowing which other veterans will reach free agency.

Slater identifies veteran forward Rudy Gay as one player worth keeping an eye on, since the Warriors have had interest in him in the past. He’s being traded from Atlanta to Oklahoma City, and the Thunder seem unlikely to hang onto him due to his age (37 next month) and a roster crunch in OKC.

Here’s more on the Warriors:

  • Slater hears from team sources that Golden State would also be OK with the idea of making the 14th roster spot available in a training camp competition. If the club puts that spot up for grabs, it might make Lester Quinones more inclined to accept his two-way qualifying offer, recognizing that he’d have an opportunity to earn a promotion to the standard roster before the season begins, Slater writes.
  • While the Warriors don’t appear to be in love with any of the free agent centers currently on the market, they’re certainly not opposed to adding another player at that spot. According to Slater, the team looked into veteran bigs like Mason Plumlee or Alex Len early in free agency before both players re-signed with their respective teams.
  • General manager Mike Dunleavy Jr. confirmed on Monday that the team is open to adding another center, either using a standard roster spot or a two-way slot. However, Dunleavy cautioned that it’s hard to find big men who fit the Warriors’ system and stressed that they don’t just want “somebody who’s tall” (Twitter video link via Slater). “We’ve got to be careful with the way we play, the way the league works,” Dunleavy said. “… You’ve gotta be skilled. You’ve gotta have feel. You’ve gotta know how to play.”
  • The Warriors looked into the idea of trading for Kenyon Martin Jr. before Houston sent him to the Clippers, league and team sources tell Slater. Golden State has a trade exception that would have fit Martin without any outgoing salary required, but those negotiations never reached the final stages.

Scotto’s Latest: Beasley, Bucks, Plumlee, Spurs, McDaniels, McLemore

Before he agreed to join the Bucks on a minimum-salary deal, free agent swingman Malik Beasley received interest from several teams, including the Mavericks, writes Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. According to Scotto, Dallas considered the possibility of acquiring Beasley from the Lakers via sign-and-trade, but it didn’t work out.

New Bucks head coach Adrian Griffin was a factor in getting Beasley to Milwaukee, having spoken to the veteran wing during the team’s recruiting pitch, sources tell Scotto.

The Bucks currently have 12 players pencil in for standard contracts in 2023/24. Scotto hears that Thanasis Antetokounmpo and No. 36 pick Andre Jackson are candidates to end up on the 15-man roster. The team also needs to decide what type of contract No. 58 pick Chris Livingston will sign, Scotto notes. Currently, Lindell Wigginton and Omari Moore are on two-way contracts with Milwaukee, leaving one open two-way slot.

Here’s more from Scotto:

  • Veteran center Mason Plumlee drew interest in free agency from a number of playoff teams, including the Warriors and Hawks, before deciding to remain with the Clippers, league sources tell Scotto.
  • The Spurs, having already agreed to get involved in deals that will land them Cedi Osman, Lamar Stevens, and Reggie Bullock, remain open to taking on unwanted contracts in order to add more draft assets, reports Scotto.
  • Before signing forward Jalen McDaniels as a free agent, the Raptors tried to trade for him multiple times, including at the 2023 deadline, according to Scotto, who says Toronto has been closely monitoring McDaniels since he was at San Diego State.
  • Veteran guard Ben McLemore, who was out of the NBA last season, will work out for multiple NBA teams during the Las Vegas Summer League, per Scotto. McLemore played in China last season after averaging 10.2 PPG in 64 games for Portland in 2021/22.
  • In case you missed it, we also rounded up several Knicks-related rumors from Scotto.

Mason Plumlee Re-Signs With Clippers On One-Year Deal

JULY 6: The Clippers have officially completed their new deal with Plumlee, per’s transaction log.

JULY 3: Mason Plumlee is re-signing with the Clippers on a one-year, $5MM contract, agent Mark Bartelstein tells ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

A longtime NBA center, Plumlee was an unrestricted free agent after his three-year, $25MM deal expired at the end of 2022/23.

He’ll be taking a pay cut to return to Los Angeles after making $9.08MM in 2022/23. According to Wojnarowski, the veteran received more lucrative offers from rival suitors in free agency.

The 22nd pick of the 2013 draft, Plumlee has played for the Nets, Trail Blazers, Nuggets, Pistons, Hornets and Clippers over the course of his 10 NBA seasons. He was having a strong season with Charlotte in ’22/23, averaging 12.2 PPG, 9.7 RPG and 3.7 APG in 56 games (28.5 MPG) as a full-time starter, before being sent to L.A. at the February trade deadline.

Plumlee’s role was slightly diminished playing behind Ivica Zubac, but he still brought solid production and size off the bench, averaging 7.5 PPG, 6.9 RPG and 1.7 APG in 23 regular season games (19.9 MPG). Overall, he shot a career-best 68% from the field last season.

A report last week stated that the Clippers might be open to moving Zubac and were comfortable having Plumlee as the starting center. It remains to be seen if that will transpire, but he’s a nice insurance policy to have either way.

The Clippers are one of the league’s top spenders, far above the luxury tax line. However, they held Plumlee’s Bird rights, so they were able to pay him more than the veteran’s minimum.

As ESPN’s Bobby Marks notes (via Twitter), the Clippers now have 16 players on standard contracts, including Jason Preston, whose contract is non-guaranteed. The young guard recently agreed to push back his salary guarantee date until July 18.

Plumlee was No. 36 on our list of this summer’s top 50 free agents.

Western FA Rumors: D-Lo, Lakers, H. Jones, Suns, Warriors

There are “strong” indications that the Lakers are trending toward a new two-year deal with free agent point guard D’Angelo Russell, reports Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports. According to Fischer, that two-year contract could be worth in the neighborhood of $40MM in total, though the second season may be a team option or non-guaranteed.

While the Lakers have interest in re-signing both Dennis Schröder and Lonnie Walker, it’s unclear which one the club is prioritizing, Fischer writes. Schröder will likely require a raise that exceeds the Non-Bird exception, so if Los Angeles uses its mid-level exception on an outside free agent, the team may have to allot its bi-annual exception to him, Fischer explains. In that scenario, it’s unclear whether the team would have enough room to re-sign Walker to a market-value deal as well while remaining below a hard cap.

Another potential path would see L.A. splits its mid-level between Schröder and a frontcourt player such as Mason Plumlee, sources tell Yahoo Sports. If Schröder doesn’t end up back with the Lakers, a reunion with Bulls coach Billy Donovan in Chicago is possible, Fischer writes. Donovan previously coached the point guard in Oklahoma City.

Finally, Fischer is one of a handful of reporters who have linked free agent forward Cam Reddish to Los Angeles. The Lakers were said to have some trade interest in Reddish – a Klutch Sports client – during each of the past two seasons. He’d be a minimum-salary target, Fischer notes.

Here are a few more free agency rumors from around the Western Conference:

  • Two forwards who had their team options declined by the Pelicans on Thursday figure to take very different paths this summer. According to Fischer, Herbert Jones will likely end up back in New Orleans on a four-year deal worth a little more than $50MM, which would presumably be his Early Bird maximum. Willy Hernangomez, on the other hand, is considered a good bet to accept a lucrative offer from a EuroLeague team rather than seeking another minimum-salary NBA deal, Fischer reports.
  • The Suns intend to bring back several of their own free agents, including Torrey Craig, Damion Lee, Jock Landale, and Josh Okogie, according to Fischer, who says agent big man Drew Eubanks is another strong candidate to end up in Phoenix. Fischer is also the latest reporter to link Yuta Watanabe and Mike James to the Suns.
  • The Lakers and Warriors are among the teams eyeing free agent guard Shake Milton, per Fischer. Free agent forward Dario Saric has also received “strong” interest from Golden State, sources tell Yahoo Sports.

Trade Rumors: Harden, Bulls, Zubac, Brogdon, Osman, Morris

There’s no urgency for the Sixers to complete a James Harden trade, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said Friday in an appearance on “Get Up” (video link). Even though Harden has asked to be dealt and seems to prefer the Clippers, Wojnarowski notes that the track record of president of basketball operations Daryl Morey suggests he’ll explore all available possibilities before committing to a deal.

“You may let free agency settle,” Wojnarowski said, “see where players land, see where needs arise for different teams that might not be interested today but could be in a few days. I don’t anticipate necessarily that this is going to be quick because it doesn’t have to.”

Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times also hears that a Harden trade may not happen right away. He cites league sources who said they’ll be watching how patient the Sixers decide to be and what they’ll be seeking in return. Greif names Terance Mann as a player the Clippers might be reluctant to include in a Harden deal.

There are more trade rumors to pass along:

  • The Bulls may be an option for Harden, sources tell Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports. Chicago has already explored trade scenarios regarding Zach LaVine and might be willing to part with DeMar DeRozan to acquire Harden. Fischer also cautions that Morey has a lot of options to consider before deciding how to handle Harden’s trade request.
  • The Clippers, who would like to re-sign Mason Plumlee have let teams know that Ivica Zubac is available in a trade, Fischer adds. L.A. may also have interest in acquiring P.J. Tucker in a Harden deal, as Fischer notes that the Clippers previously reached out to him when he was a free agent.
  • The Clippers pulled out of an original version of the three-team Kristaps Porzingis trade because of medical concerns regarding Malcolm Brogdon, but they recently contacted the Celtics about Brogdon again, according to Fischer. L.A. was also willing to offer Norman Powell to the Wizards for Chris Paul before the Warriors landed him in exchange for Jordan Poole, Fischer states.
  • Fischer hears that the Cavaliers are engaged in trade talks regarding Cedi Osman and offered him to the Nets in a deal for Dorian Finney-Smith or Royce O’Neale.
  • Numerous teams have reached out to the Wizards about point guard Monte Morris, Fischer adds. The Timberwolves, Bulls, Pelicans, Jazz and Nets are all considered possibilities for Morris, and Fischer believes the Heat could be added to the list if they lose Gabe Vincent in free agency.

Pacific Notes: Westbrook, Plumlee, Gordon, James, Kings, Ayton

Russell Westbrook is welcome to return to the Clippers, president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank said on Thursday. Westbrook is headed to unrestricted free agency and the Clippers were not only impressed with the veteran guard on the court but off it as well.

“He brings a great energy and spirit to the team, around the building,” the Clippers exec told Law Murray of The Athletic and other media members.

The Clippers are also interested in retaining Mason Plumlee and Eric Gordon, according to ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk, though it seems unlikely the Clippers will guarantee the $20.9MM remaining on Gordon’s contract.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • LeBron James vows he’ll play better on his home court when the Lakers try to close out the Grizzlies again in Game 6 on Friday night, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN. “Just got to be better,” James said. “It starts with me. (Wednesday) I was not very good at all. My defense was pretty good. Offensively, I was not really good. So, we all got to do a better job helping one another.”
  • It’s time for the Kings to show the same resiliency the Warriors displayed over the last three games, Jason Jones of The Athletic writes. Golden State has erased a 2-0 deficit to take a 3-2 series lead, heading into Friday’s showdown. Guard Davion Mitchell acknowledges Sacramento has to play with more determination. “We have to have the same mindset coming in. I mean, that’s a really good team, especially at home,” he said. “We have to punch them in the mouth first.”
  • The Suns matched Indiana’s offer sheet to retain Deandre Ayton. Now, their center will play a pivotal role in their second-round series when they face the Nuggets and two-time MVP Nikola Jokic. Ayton is eager for the challenge, according to Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic. “It’s going to be fun,” he said. “They’re the best. Suns basketball, we want to compete and beat the best. That’s what we’re looking forward to. We know it’s not going to be easy, but it’s going to be a great series where mano play against mano.”

Pacific Notes: Westbrook, Durant, Hyland, Plumlee, Ranadive

Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant were teammates with the Thunder for eight seasons. Heading into the Clippers’ first round series against Durant and the Suns, Westbrook addressed the notion that they have a strained relationship, suggesting that’s a false assumption, according to ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk.

“I think people still think like there’s some beef or something. There’s no beef of any [kind], so I think that’s the good narrative for media, for people to talk about,” Westbrook said. “But there’s no beef. I got nothing but respect for him and things he’s done with his career and having to see him back from injury. There’s no beef at all. But he knows I’m going to compete and I know he’s going to compete and that’s all it is.”

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • On a similar topic, Clippers guard Bones Hyland said he has no issues with teammate Mason Plumlee in the aftermath of their dustup on Sunday, Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times writes. “Me and him talked on the plane. It’s nothing. It’s quashed,” Hyland said. “People create their own narratives of what’s going on, but me and Mason know what’s going on, the team knows what’s going on. We deaded it literally in Phoenix. It’s nothing to worry about. We’re focused on Phoenix right now and trying to win the series.”
  • Durant played 41 minutes against Denver last week and says he expects to log a similar workload throughout the playoffs, according to Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic. “Forty is the number I love,” the Suns‘ star said. “I like hovering around that number.”
  • In a wide-ranging interview with Andscape’s Marc Spears, Kings owner Vivek Ranadive said the blockbuster trade with Indiana last season involving Tyrese Haliburton and Domantas Sabonis worked to the benefit of both organizations. “If we didn’t have Tyrese, we couldn’t have gotten Domantas. It ended up being a win-win trade for everybody,” he said. “It’s one of those rare trades where it created three All-Stars. And so, Tyrese was an All-Star. De’Aaron (Fox) an All-Star. Domas an All-Star. So, it took a lot of courage on the part of my front office to pull the trigger and make that trade, but I applauded them for doing that.”