Reggie Jackson

Pacific Notes: Thompson, Kings, Clippers, New Arena

Klay Thompson broke out of his shooting slump in a major way the past couple games, particularly Sunday’s victory over the Rockets, in which the Warriors wing scored a season-high 41 points on 10-of-13 shooting from three-point range. Thompson had shot 40-plus percent from the field just once in the 10 games leading up to Friday’s victory over the Knicks, when he was 8-of-16.

I don’t care anymore,” Thompson said, per Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic. “I really let the trolls get to me. Like, ‘What am I doing?’ I had just a revelation where I was like, ‘Man, just be you and everything will play out.’ Criticize me all you want. But I know how great I am and what I’m capable of, and I think real Warriors fans know that as well.”

As Marcus Thompson writes, the 32-year-old’s performances have shown that the Warriors need all four of their All-Stars — Thompson, Stephen Curry, Andrew Wiggins and Draymond Green — to play at a high level to win right now. That may not have been what the Warriors were hoping for to start the season, but the four veterans are clearly still capable of producing.

Golden State will be resting Thompson, Curry and Green on Monday at New Orleans, the second game of a road back-to-back, tweets Jim Eichenhofer of Both Wiggins and starting center Kevon Looney are questionable.

Here’s more from the Pacific:

  • The Kings are in the midst of a six-game winning streak, the longest such streak the team has had in more than 17 years, writes Sam Amick of The Athletic. While Sacramento’s second-ranked offense is certainly clicking, head coach Mike Brown knows that the team needs to be better on the other end of the court — the Kings are just 27th in the league in defensive rating. “So in order for us to win on the road, and win at the level that I think we can win at, we’re going to have to buckle down and take on the challenge of defending for as close to 48 minutes as possible,” Brown told Amick as part of a larger quote. “Too many times so far this year, we’ve done it in short stretches and we’ve found ways to get stops at the end of games — which is a good thing when we get a little desperate. But we’ve got to string some stops together throughout the game so at the end of the day we’re not just relying on our shot-making or our ability or our offense.”
  • Reggie Jackson and John Wall are proving to be a solid point guard combination for the Clippers, notes Janis Carr of The Orange County Register. The duo shared the court to close out Saturday’s victory over the Spurs, and Wall, the backup, says they’re both willing to do whatever it takes to win. “It’s a dynamic with both of us not really caring who’s starting, who’s getting the most benefit,” Wall said. “We’re just trying to feed off each other, whatever the best role for this team is. Like last game, I didn’t play well, and Reggie was playing well. He closed the game out. Know what I mean? Sometimes it’s going to be different, sometimes it can be both of us. But you’re trying to figure out ways to do whatever we can to help this team win.”
  • Steve Farmer of The Los Angeles Times takes an in-depth look at Clippers owner Steve Ballmer‘s quest for the perfect NBA arena. One interesting note from Farmer’s article: Ballmer decided the seats at the top of the arena should have the same amount of leg room as those closer to the court because he wants all fans to be comfortable and in their seats as much as possible. The Intuit Dome is scheduled to open in summer 2024.

California Notes: Jackson, Wall, Zubac, Kings, Poole

Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue has claimed that a report indicating that Reggie Jackson had won the L.A. starting point guard gig over John Wall did not come from him, and that he has yet to make a final decision, according to Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles will play its first regular season contest this Thursday.

“Both guys are in a great position, and their mindset is in the right place,” Lue said. “It is about winning. It is not about who’s the starter, who’s the best player. It’s about the right fit and trying to win, and both of those guys are on board with that.”

Here’s more out of California:

  • Clippers center Ivica Zubac spoke with Mark Medina of for a wide-ranging conversation that touched on the team’s hoped-for title contention this season, its stars’ injury woes, the development of Zubac around the rim, and more. Zubac also gave head coach Tyronn Lue a rave review. “Ty has been around the team and me for a while, even before he became a head coach,” Zubac noted. “He’s been seeing the progress for a while. It’s in big part thanks to him. He’s been pushing us. Last season, he asked me to do some things on the court that he hadn’t asked me to do in a while. He involved me more offensively. I think that was a big part of my progression.”
  • Following a rigorous training camp, the Kings opted to retain point guard Matthew Dellavedova, forward Chima Moneke, and power forward KZ Okpala into the regular season. Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee breaks down how the new Sacramento additions made the grade. All are currently signed to non-guaranteed deals with the team. “As training camp has gone on, [Moneke] is trending upwards,” head coach Mike Brown said. “I think the initial shock of being in the NBA and the speed and athleticism and all that stuff caught him off guard a little bit, but he belongs on this level and he can help us. I think KZ, too. Both of those guys were two of my first calls, even before I really got the job.” Brown also raved about Dellavedova’s effort on defense. “If Davion [Mitchell] ain’t going hard, he will get embarrassed by Delly… If [De’Aaron] Fox isn’t going hard, he will get embarrassed by Delly. To have a guy like that raises the level of intensity.”
  • Warriors reserve guard Jordan Poole signed a four-year contract extension with Golden State worth up to $140MM. Now, new details have emerged about the contract’s various incentives. Anthony Slater of The Athletic unpacks the deal, revealing that – beyond the guaranteed $123MM – Poole will make an extra $1.25MM per year (i.e. $5MM across all four seasons) depending on how far the team gets in the playoffs. He will net an additional $1MM for each year he wins the league MVP award (so a very, very hypothetical total of $4MM), plus $1MM annually per every Defensive Player of the Year award. Considering his skillset, earning either honor even once seems fairly far-fetched. Poole could earn $500K per season should he qualify for an All-NBA team (there are a total of 15 such slots available) and another $500K annually should he qualify for an All-Defensive Team (there are 10 available openings). Slater notes that it is possible Poole grows into being an All-NBA talent, but is skeptical he could ever be an elite defender or named the league MVP.

L.A. Notes: R. Jackson, Wall, Leonard, Westbrook, Ryan

Reggie Jackson will be the Clippers‘ starting point guard when the season opens, sources tell Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. Jackson won a training camp battle with John Wall, who signed with L.A. in July after agreeing to a buyout with the Rockets.

After sitting out all of last season, Wall isn’t expected to be used in both games of back-to-backs this year, according to Haynes’ sources. Although Wall looked good during preseason games, Jackson has the advantage of being with the team for the last two-plus seasons.

Haynes adds that Clippers coach Tyronn Lue didn’t commit to either Wall on Jackson on Friday, telling reporters, “Whoever’s best with the starters, whoever’s best with the guys off the bench. It could always change. Right now, it’s just whatever’s best for the team.”

There’s more from Los Angeles:

  • The Clippers plan to be cautious with Wall and Kawhi Leonard as they enter a season marked by high expectations, writes Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times. Leonard, who missed last season while recovering from knee surgery, played 33 combined minutes in two preseason contests. “He feels good, that’s most important,” Lue said. “It’s going to take some time though. We know he’s a great player and he expects excellence right away just like John, but it takes time and so we’re going to be patient with the process and not going to overthink it, not going to overdo it and so our biggest thing is just make sure those guys are healthy.”
  • The Lakers tried using Russell Westbrook off the bench Friday night, but the experiment was interrupted by a hamstring injury, per Sam Amick and Jovan Buha of The Athletic. New head coach Darvin Ham wants to stagger Westbrook’s and LeBron James‘ time on the court, and he says Westbrook hasn’t objected to the move.
  • Matt Ryan‘s three-point shooting helped him earn a roster spot with the Lakers, according to Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register. Ryan connected at 37.5% from long distance during the preseason and hit 6-of-9 in a 20-point game against the Warriors. Speechless,” Ryan wrote on Twitter after learning that he had made the team. “All I can say is, LETS GO LAKESHOW!! Whether it’s a day, a month, or a year, you’ll get my absolute best every single day. The real work starts now! Thank you @Lakers for this special opportunity.”

L.A. Notes: Walker, Lakers, Davis, Clippers, Batum

Lakers swingman Lonnie Walker, who earned a second consecutive start on Wednesday, sustained a “mild” left ankle sprain in the third quarter, per head coach Darvin Ham. Walker will be reevaluated on Thursday, but he’s not experiencing any swelling or overt pain, a source tells Dave McMenamin of ESPN (Twitter link).

The Lakers, having started Walker and Patrick Beverley on Wednesday alongside LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Russell Westbrook, continue to search for the right starting lineup fit as the preseason winds down, writes Dan Woike of The Los Angeles Times.

“We get an opportunity to throw some stuff at the wall and see what sticks,” Ham said prior to the game. “We already know our three main guys — Russ, Bron, AD. Those guys as well are getting used to playing with one another. That was very limited last year. So we look at it as an opportunity to just shake the rug and just shake things up and see what makes sense once it all starts to come together.”

The Lakers will play one more preseason game on Friday before next Tuesday’s regular season opener.

Here’s more on the NBA’s two Los Angeles teams:

  • Anthony Davis still prefers to play power forward, but is willing to start and finish games at center if that’s what the Lakers and Ham ask of him. I trust Coach’s decision,” Davis said on Wednesday (Twitter link via McMenamin). “I mean, I’m pretty sure he heard AD wants to play the four, so he knows where I stand, but at the end of the day, I want to win, so if that’s me playing the five, that’s what it’s got to be.
  • Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue said he thought going into Wednesday’s game that he knew who would start at point guard, but he’s less certain about that spot after being displeased with how the team opened the game (Twitter link via Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN). Starting point guard Reggie Jackson had just one point in 12 minutes, while John Wall had eight points and four assists in 10 minutes off the bench.
  • In an interview on the French television channel Canal+ (video link), Clippers forward Nicolas Batum spoke about the mental health challenges he has faced during his NBA career, as Johnny Askounis of Eurohoops relays. Batum, whose father died of an aneurysm at age 31, was diagnosed with a heart issue before he entered the NBA and worried about his own health and family. “I was convinced the same would happen to me and that I was going to leave my family,” he said. “I asked my wife to not come to the games because I did want to see them in the stands.”

Pacific Notes: A. Davis, McNair, Clippers, Warriors

After being limited to just 76 in the last two seasons, Anthony Davis is determined to have a healthier year in 2022/23. Speaking to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, The Lakers star said he’s so excited for the coming season that he has “goosebumps,” adding that he’s “looking forward to a healthy year.”

“I went into this summer focusing on strengthening my body,” Davis told Haynes. “I have to be on the court and at my best to put us in position to be our best. I’m ready to do that.”

Davis has played more than 70 regular season games just twice in his 10-year career, so the Lakers would likely be thrilled to see him surpass that benchmark. However, the eight-time All-Star told reporters this week that he has loftier expectations for himself.

“I want to be able to play all 82 (games),” Davis said, per Kyle Goon of The Southern California News Group. “And if I’m not, I don’t want it to be injury-based where I can’t play. That’s my goal. The more I’m on the floor, the more I can help my team and its chance of winning when I’m playing.”

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • With Monte McNair entering the final year of his contract, Kings owner Vivek Ranadive said on Wednesday that he’s happy with the job the general manager has done, writes Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. However, the two sides have been “too focused on the season” to discuss a possible contract extension, according to Ranadive. “Monte, (assistant GM) Wes (Wilcox), the whole front office, the coaches they hired, the coaching staff, the process they went through, the trades they made, the rookie they picked, I’m very pleased with everything that’s happened,” Ranadive said. “I think right now the focus is: Let’s win.”
  • The Clippers are taking a cautious approach this preseason with a handful of veteran players, with head coach Tyronn Lue announcing on Thursday that Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, John Wall, and Reggie Jackson won’t play in the team’s preseason opener in Seattle on Friday (Twitter link via Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times). The Warriors are going the same route with Klay Thompson, holding him out of the club’s two preseason contests in Japan, tweets Anthony Slater of The Athletic.
  • The Warriors‘ preseason opener on Friday showed the new simplified offensive role the team envisions for center James Wiseman, who was primarily used as a slasher and roller en route to a 20-point, eight-rebound game, Slater writes for The Athletic.
  • Logan Murdock of The Ringer takes a look at the Warriors‘ efforts to balance their title defense in the short term with their vision of the franchise in the long term.

Pacific Notes: LeBron, Irving, R. Jackson, Kings

With LeBron James eligible to sign an extension starting Thursday, Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register looks at the factors that will go into James’ decision on whether to extend his commitment to the Lakers.

L.A. can sign James to a two-year, $97.1MM extension that would run past his 40th birthday or he can opt for a one-year deal worth $46.7MM. James could also decide to accept less, but Goon doesn’t believe the Lakers are in position to make a significant roster upgrade with any savings that he might provide.

Money will obviously factor into the decision, but James also wants to be part of a title contender, which L.A. may not be able to offer right away. Goon notes that the team could have around $20MM in cap space next summer, which is enough to add a contributor but not nearly enough for another max player.

Family will also affect James’ thought process, as he has children in school and seems committed to the L.A. area. He has expressed a desire to play alongside his son, Bronny, who will be a high school senior this year, which could put pressure on the Lakers to draft him in 2024 if LeBron agrees to a two-year extension.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Lakers remain Kyrie Irving‘s “top destination” if and when he leaves the Nets, whether it’s through a trade or free agency next summer, according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic. Buha adds that the league-wide lack of interest in trading for Irving indicates that L.A. might be his only option as a free agent.
  • Echoing comments he made in March, Clippers guard Reggie Jackson told youths at Paul George‘s basketball camp that he considering retirement during his time with the Pistons, per Tomer Azarly of Clutch Points (video link). “It really started making me question myself (late in his Detroit tenure),” Jackson said. “… Don’t let anybody ever do this to you in life, take the fun out of the things that you love to do. I really was gonna retire. My lifeline, my brother here saved me.”
  • James Ham of The Kings Beat examines the Kings‘ new-look roster to see if they’ve upgraded enough to break their long playoff drought.

John Wall Discusses Clippers, Leonard, George, Jackson

New Clippers addition John Wall sat down with Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN (YouTube video link) to discuss his opportunity with what could be one of the deepest teams in the NBA next season, led by All-NBA swingmen Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.

Wall, a five-time All-Star with the Wizards before a series of lower body injuries limited his availability, agreed to sit out the entire 2021/22 season for the Rockets as Houston prioritized developing younger backcourt talent. After agreeing to a buyout, Wall signed a two-year, $13.2MM deal with the Clippers as an unrestricted free agent.

“I think they’re just a first-class organization, great teammates over here,” Wall said of joining L.A. this summer. “I just feel like they have a great culture… Also not having to be a Batman every night, having an opportunity to play with other players where I can take a backseat, and develop my game but also just help those guys as much as possible.”

Here are more highlights from their conversation:

  • Wall discussed how he’ll adapt his game as a secondary player in Los Angeles after being one of the top two offensive options, alongside shooting guard Bradley Beal, for the majority of his NBA career while with the Wizards. “I know I’m still a talented player,” Wall said. “I know all the things that I’ve worked on, especially being able to knock down catch-and-shoot shots because I probably won’t have the ball in my hands as much (as on past teams). But at the same time they still want me to be myself, be aggressive, be able to break down the defense for (Leonard and George). I think… sometimes in the fourth quarter a lot of teams (are) keyed in on Kawhi and Paul George. I think that’s an opportunity for me to excel.”
  • “Still can’t believe it,” Wall said of his chance to play with two All-NBA wings, alongside whom he anticipates leaning into his abilities as a facilitator. “I can’t wait till I have the opportunity to be on the floor with those guys. I’ve just always been a past-first point guard… But my best attribute is being able to pass the ball.”
  • When asked about his expected training camp competition with incumbent Clipper Reggie Jackson for dibs on the starting point guard role with Los Angeles next season, Wall was diplomatic. “I’m a competitor like he’s a competitor,” Wall began. “We’re two very talented players. He’s been great for this team the last couple of years… We’re just going to battle it out.” Jackson will be on the last season of a two-year, $22MM contract he signed to stick with the Clippers through 2023.

Pacific Notes: Lakers, Collison, Monk, Leonard, Wall

The Lakers‘ five additions in free agency were targeted for speed, defense and shooting, writes Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register. New head coach Darvin Ham is determined to bring a fresh approach to a team that finished in the bottom third of the league in both offensive and defensive rating last season. All five players who were introduced at today’s press conference talked about how they will blend into that system.

“I think I can fit on any team,” said former Warrior Juan Toscano-Anderson. “I think I can guard one through five. I’ll do whatever it takes to win, and when I say whatever, I mean it. I’ll dive over scorer’s tables. I’ll rebound. I’ll do whatever it takes.”

Along with a renewed emphasis on defense, L.A. hopes its free agency moves will provide increased spacing for its star players. Ex-Spur Lonnie Walker is coming off a season where he connected at just 31.4% from three-point range, but he vows to be better.

“Last year, you can look at the percentages, but I kid you not: Leave me open, we’re going to see what’s happening,” Walker said. “I’m honing into what I got to get better on, and I’m not just strengthening my weakness but I’m strengthening my strengths as well. So, I’m ready to show everyone what I’m about.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Free agent point guard Darren Collison worked out for the Lakers again today, tweets Brad Turner of The Los Angeles Times. Collison, who was at a mini-camp with the team last month, is interested in returning to the NBA at age 34.
  • Malik Monk‘s long friendship with De’Aaron Fox played an important role in his decision to sign with the Kings, according to Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. Monk and Fox have been friends since high school and they were backcourt partners at Kentucky. “They speak all the time,” a source told Anderson. “They’re still in their college group chat, so they speak every day. Those guys are real brothers, so I’m excited for them both.”
  • Clippers star Kawhi Leonard hasn’t been cleared to play 5-on-5, but he continues to make progress in his return from an ACL injury, ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk said on “NBA Today” (video link). Newly signed John Wall will compete with Reggie Jackson for the starting point guard spot, Youngmisuk adds.

Paul George Practices With Clippers

Clippers star Paul George practiced with the team on Thursday for the first time since he tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, writes Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. George hasn’t played in a game since December 22.

George is listed as out for Friday’s game against Philadelphia and there’s no official timetable for his return, but he’s clearly making progress as he recovers from the injury.

He is doing good,” coach Tyronn Lue said prior to Thursday’s practice. “He hasn’t felt any pain so that is a positive thing. Just working on his conditioning and just making sure he can continue to go through the minimal contact without having any issue. So as of right now, it hasn’t been a problem.”

Lue also said that Norman Powell has begun shooting on the court with the team, but is still limited to non-contact work. Powell broke a bone in his left foot after just three games with his new club. He was acquired in a trade with the Blazers ahead of the February deadline.

At 36-38, the Clippers are currently the No. 8 seed in the West. Despite losing four straight games, their place in the standings is pretty secure, as they trail the No. 7 Timberwolves by six games and hold a four-and-a-half game lead on the No. 9 Lakers with only eight games remaining.

Youngmisuk states that the Clippers hope to reduce the minutes for veterans Nicolas Batum, Marcus Morris, and Reggie Jackson ahead of the play-in tournament.

Reggie Jackson Surprised To Be A Leader With Clippers

Reggie Jackson thought about quitting basketball after the end of the 2019/20 season, he admits in an interview with Sam Amick of The Athletic.

Jackson agreed to a buyout with the Pistons during that season and joined the Clippers about three weeks before the league shut down due to the pandemic. When play resumed in Orlando, L.A. suffered a heart-breaking playoff defeat after letting a 3-1 lead slip away against the Nuggets.

“But my brother kind of talked some sense into me. It was a time during the pandemic where people unfortunately didn’t have jobs still,” Jackson recalled. “The job market was very brutal, so just the idea of coming back for another year and not knowing what was going on in the world and knowing I had some joy (for the game). Really, I came back with an idea that I was just going to enjoy waking up each and every day being around the game that I love. And honestly, I didn’t expect to even play. … I just thought I was going to probably be more of a mentor, a senior statesman role, trying to vie for a position if I can get on the court.”

Instead, Jackson has emerged as a leader for a team facing the prospect of heading into the playoffs without Paul George and Kawhi Leonard. He signed a two-year, $21.6MM contract last summer and appears to have a secure home for the rest of his career.

Jackson touches on a few more topics in the in-depth interview:

On why he joined the Clippers after leaving Detroit:

“Doing the buyout, honestly, I never wanted to do one. I’m a guy where when I sign up, I’m going to give you all I’ve got for that time. … Honestly, it was just about playing basketball. It was trying to find a spot to get healthy. When Paul (George) called me, it was that safety net and that feeling of comfort having somebody that I knew was going to have my back in the locker room and somebody who understood me. At the time, I felt like I was very misunderstood. I just needed somebody in my corner.”

On the experience of navigating a season without star players available:

“It’s going through the journey with the team through our ups and downs of the season. That’s been the gratifying part of seeing our spirits, how we were a little shaky earlier with our belief at times, but through the wins, the losses, you can still feel our spirit. We truly believe that we’re gonna win each and every night that we go out there. And we believe that we’re gonna give our best effort. That’s the standard here with our culture. Being in my 11th season and while being in the moment to still be able to take a step back and reflect as we go along the journey (is key). I think that’s been something with the maturation throughout the years. I’m enjoying the right now with this group.”

On his relationship with Lakers guard Russell Westbrook, which was reportedly rocky when they were teammates in Oklahoma City:

“I mean I see him around. We play pick up and all (during the offseason). There’s no problem (laughs) — at all. I always wish him well, always tell him to tell his family what’s up for me. He was definitely — even though we were around the same age — he was definitely my vet, showing me the ropes, taking me around, making me comfortable. I think a lot of my aggression and my fire, and the way I play is because we’re all a product of our environment. So I also felt like I was raised under him as well. I’m always appreciative of Russ and thankful for all he’s done for me during my career. He raised me and showed me the ropes, especially preparing me for… what it was going to be like being a starter in the league and taking your lumps, the ups and downs and staying confident in yourself and even keel.”

On the chances of George and Leonard returning for the playoffs:

“I just prepare every day like they’re coming back tomorrow. But I’m one of those people where I prepare for the worst and then hopefully the best (happens). I live in both worlds, so right now if they come back tomorrow and they become Supermen for us, then I don’t care what seed we get, we’re trying to win a championship. … I always believe we’re building something, and as long as you keep that mentality, then I think eventually we’ll be where we want to be.”