Reggie Jackson

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.”

Pacific Notes: Kennard, Jackson, DeRozan, Horton-Tucker, DiVincenzo

The chemistry between Luke Kennard and Reggie Jackson formed long before they teamed up on the Clippers, writes Mirjam Swanson of The Orange County Register. They were teammates in Detroit for two and a half seasons after Kennard entered the league in 2017/18.

Their partnership ended briefly when the Pistons waived Jackson in February of 2020, but he signed with L.A. a few days later and Kennard was traded to the Clippers in the fall. They’ll make their only visit of the season to Detroit on Sunday afternoon.

“It’s been a lot of fun playing with him – I mean, I played with him in Detroit, so I know what Reggie is all about,” Kennard said. “He was my vet in Detroit, and we kind of built a connection right away. He helped me a lot throughout my first couple of years there. And just to be back with him now and to play even more of a role with him now than I did in Detroit, it’s fun.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Appearing as a guest on Serge Ibaka‘s “How Hungry Are You?” series on YouTube, DeMar DeRozan admits that he had some interest in joining the Clippers during free agency (hat tip to Adam Glanzman of All Clippers). On the show, which was taped during the offseason, DeRozan said he would have accepted a small pay cut if Kyle Lowry had also come to L.A., but after he met with the Bulls, he didn’t believe the Clippers could match their offer. “Nothing but respect to (president of basketball operations) Lawrence Frank and the whole Clippers organization,” DeRozan said. “Great people. It definitely was an opportunity that presented itself. I think for me, the Chicago thing just took off.”
  • After Friday’s game, Lakers guard Talen Horton-Tucker revealed that he’s playing with a Grade 2 ankle sprain, according to Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times. Horton-Tucker was listed as questionable for the game, but wound up playing 30 minutes and scoring 15 points. “I’m just trying to play through it,” he said. “It’s the end of the season so we got to get some wins. So, any way I can help I feel like I need to be out there. So, I’m trying to play through it. It still hurts, but I’m just trying to push.”
  • Donte DiVincenzo brought a commitment to defense to the Kings when they acquired him in a four-team trade last month, per Alex Kramers of The fourth-year guard specializes in jumping into passing lanes and forcing turnovers. “At the end of the day, it is just locking up and locking in on the defensive end, [recognizing] how to disrupt [opponents] offensively and how to make a difference for a team,” DiVincenzo said.

Los Angeles Notes: Beverley, James, Jackson, Kuzma, Caldwell-Pope, Pelinka

Patrick Beverley felt the contract extension offer he received from the Clippers before they traded him last offseason was “borderline disrespectful,” he said on J.J. Redick’s “The Old Man and the Three” podcast (hat tip to Darryn Albert of Larry Brown Sports).

“Me being there from the beginning, I’m thinking that this contract extension, I’m thinking it’s going to be easy. I walk in and they throw me a number that I felt was borderline disrespectful,” Beverley said.

Clippers executive Lawrence Frank worked out an amicable solution by trading him to Memphis, who then shipped him to one of his top destinations, Minnesota. Beverley signed a one-year extension with the Timberwolves last month.

We have more on the Los Angeles teams:

  • LeBron James carried the Lakers to victory over Washington on Friday with another 50-point performance, and coach Frank Vogel wonders if James best suited to be a center at this stage of his career, Dave McMenamin of ESPN writes. “Maybe after all these years, him playing center was really the best way to utilize him,” Vogel said. “Because that’s where he’s been doing it, by playing the center position with (Anthony Davis) out. Doing whatever the team needs to win games. And just an incredible, unbelievable, epic performance by LJ.”
  • Reggie Jackson lavished praise on Clippers fans, calling them the heart of the city, Mirjam Swanson of the Orange County Register writes. “I understand what it is in this city, it definitely is overwhelmed by Lakers fans. But I feel like Clippers Nation is like the heart,” he said. “It truly is L.A. It’s more so. No shot to them over there, but they’re the lights. They’re bright lights. They’re Hollywood. That’s the Lakers. … But I feel like we’re definitely the heart of the city – or that’s something we want to embody.”
  • Kentavious Caldwell-Pope felt that getting traded by the Lakers was almost inevitable, as he told Mark Medina of“Every single year with the Lakers, I was in trade talks,” Caldwell-Pope said. Kyle Kuzma, who was also a part of the Russell Westbrook deal, said he’ll always have a place in Lakers history. “I’m cemented as a winner, and I’m cemented as a Lakers champion,” he said. “For me, it’s not about ‘what if.’ It’s time to move on. It’s time to improve my game.” The Lakers honored the duo with a video tribute on Friday, according to Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times.
  • The Lakers are suffering from “organizational fatigue” due to the demands of putting a championship-caliber team around James, according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN (video link). Windhorst doubts GM Rob Pelinka can do anything significant to fix the team’s issues this offseason, since the Lakers have already dealt most of their assets. “They have nothing they can really trade of huge value,” Windhorst said.

Clippers Seek Point Guard; Bledsoe, Ibaka, Morris Available

The Clippers are shopping for a play-making point guard and are willing to move several veterans in order to achieve that goal, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer reports.

The Clippers believe a starting point guard is the missing piece to become a championship contender when Kawhi Leonard and Paul George return to action, even though it’s uncertain whether they’ll be back this season or next year.

The front office has made Eric Bledsoe, Serge Ibaka, and Marcus Morris available to acquire another floor leader, O’Connor says. The team views current starter Reggie Jackson as more of a scorer than a pure point guard.

Bledsoe is signed through next season but his $19.38MM salary next season is only guaranteed for $3.9MM. Ibaka is making $9.7MM this season and will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. The Clippers would prefer to hold onto Morris, who is in the second year of a four-year, $64MM contract, but the forward may be their most attractive trade piece.

O’Connor suggests the Clippers would also be willing to part with Luke Kennard, Terance Mann, Ivica Zubac, Jason Preston, Brandon Boston Jr., or Keon Johnson if the right deal came along.

As O’Connor notes, the Clippers have been linked in some fashion to Jalen Brunson, Dennis Schröder, Kemba Walker, Goran Dragic, Spencer Dinwiddie and John Wall in recent weeks. Brunson would seemingly be the best fit, though the Mavericks aren’t inclined to deal him, despite the fact that he’ll be an unrestricted free agent after the season.

Dragic, currently in limbo, might be a good short-term fit. Wall, who hasn’t played this season while the Rockets seek a new home for him, could also be an intriguing possibility. The salaries of Bledsoe, Ibaka and Morris could be matched up to obtain Wall. The Clippers could also simply wait to see if Wall winds up on the buyout market and make a play for him at that point.

Sixers’ Drummond, Clippers’ Jackson, Others Exit Protocols

Sixers center Andre Drummond has exited the NBA’s health and safety protocols and was in attendance at the team’s practice on Wednesday, per Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link).

Drummond had been one of three Sixers players in the protocols, along with Shake Milton and Danny Green. While Green is still listed as out for Thursday’s game in Brooklyn, the team is hopeful that Milton will be able to clear the protocols and play in that game, tweets Pompey. Milton is currently considered questionable.

Here are a few more COVID-related updates:

  • Clippers guard Reggie Jackson has exited the COVID-19 protocols and rejoined the team, but won’t play on Wednesday in Boston, sources tell Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times (Twitter link). Jackson will need a little reconditioning work before being activated.
  • Kings rookie Davion Mitchell has cleared the health and safety protocols, tweets Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. Another rookie, center Neemias Queta, is currently the only Sacramento player in the protocols.
  • Thunder center Derrick Favors is no longer listed on the team’s injury report, which is a sign that he has cleared the protocols, notes Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman (Twitter link). Favors was just placed in the protocols on Tuesday, so he may have registered a false positive.

Pacific Notes: Westbrook, Thompson, R. Jackson, Hield

With three straight losses, an injured star, and COVID-19 affecting both the roster and the coaching staff, acting Lakers head coach David Fizdale feels like Russell Westbrook may be trying too hard to fix the situation by himself, writes Dave McMenamin of ESPN. Westbrook has posted impressive numbers in the two games since Anthony Davis suffered an MCL sprain, averaging 21.0 points, 9.5 rebounds, 6.5 assists and 2.0 steals, but he’s also committed a combined 13 turnovers, which Fizdale said disrupts the offense.

“I think the circumstances over the last few games, with so many people being in and out, triggered in him that he had to save us,” Fizdale said.

Already dealing with a disappointing season at 16-16, the Lakers are now facing the uncertainty that many teams have felt since the latest COVID-19 outbreak began sweeping through the league two weeks ago. They’re scheduled to host the Nets on Christmas Day, but Brooklyn’s last three games have been postponed.

“You’re just taking it and living day to day, you just don’t know what’s going to happen,” Carmelo Anthony said. “We could wake up tomorrow morning and they could say our game tomorrow is canceled. … Again, we don’t know what’s gonna happen, so we’re taking it day to day and we’re just trying to stay on top of what we need to stay on top of. But as we can see, it’s affecting everybody. It’s affecting a lot of  different people, people who are vaccinated, people who do have boosters, so you just don’t know what’s going to happen.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Warriors players are raving about Klay Thompson after watching him in workouts, according to Shayna Rubin of The San Jose Mercury News. Thompson is expected to return sometime in January, and his teammates say he’s looking like the player he was before the injuries. “He’s always going to shoot the ball well, but he seems really confident in his body,” Kevon Looney said. “He’s going up for dunks. He’s playing physical and when you see that much confidence in him, it means he’s getting close to ready. It’s a joy to have in practice to have his energy back.”
  • Clippers guard Reggie Jackson entered the league’s health and safety protocols today, but he’s not experiencing any effects from the virus, tweets Mirjam Swanson of The Orange County Register. “Reggie says he feels fine, no symptoms, so that’s a good sign,” coach Tyronn Lue said. “Happy for him about that.”
  • With trade rumors heating up again for Buddy Hield, Mark Schindler of Basketball News examines three potential destinations for the Kings guard. Schindler suggests deals that would send Hield to the Magic, Grizzlies or Pistons.

Pacific Notes: Jackson, Holmes, Evans, Lakers, Suns

Clippers point guard Reggie Jackson has entered the health and safety protocols, the team announced today in the latest update to its injury report. Jackson is the second Clipper to enter the protocols, joining forward Marcus Morris. Los Angeles already signed Moses Wright to a 10-day contract via a hardship exception and could theoretically add a second player on a 10-day deal now that two players are in the protocols.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • The Kings are optimistic that center Richaun Holmes will be available on Wednesday night for their game against the Clippers, reports Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. Holmes, currently listed as questionable, has missed Sacramento’s last seven games due to a laceration to his right eye. Given how many players the Kings are currently missing, the big man’s return would be a boon.
  • Given how many players are getting a chance to sign 10-day contracts this week, the idea of the Kings bringing back Tyreke Evans is an intriguing one. However, as Anderson explains in a separate article for The Sacramento Bee, Evans hasn’t yet been cleared following his ban from the NBA and faces a lengthy reinstatement process. We reported earlier in the month that Evans is seeking reinstatement after being disqualified and dismissed by the league in 2019.
  • After the Lakers fell back to .500 (16-16) with a loss on Tuesday night, star forward LeBron James said he still has “no idea what this team can be,” as Dave McMenamin of ESPN relays. “How can we really fully assess what we have when we haven’t been whole? I can’t remember the last time we played the same starting lineup and had the same rotation coming off the bench,” James said. “It’s been a long time. So, it’s hard to assess that.”
  • ESPN’s Zach Lowe published an interesting feature on the Suns this week, exploring the team’s ascent that began in the 2020 bubble and sharing a handful of behind-the-scenes anecdotes.

Pacific Notes: Bagley, Davis, Warriors, R. Jackson

Kings coach Luke Walton refused to comment on speculation that Marvin Bagley III refused to check into Monday’s game against the Suns, tweets Sean Cunningham of KXTV in Sacramento. Cunningham posted a video clip of Bagley walking away from coaches and shaking his head during a timeout. Cunningham was told by multiple sources that Bagley turned down Walton when he was told to enter the game.

“Anything that happens within our group, that’s between our group,” Walton responded when reporters asked him about the incident. “So the thing that matters is people know what’s expected and we continue to move forward tonight” (Twitter link from Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee).

Bagley has repeatedly expressed frustration about his situation with the Kings, as have his agent and his father. He has only played once in the team’s first 11 games.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Anthony Davis is determined to prove that he can lead the Lakers with LeBron James sidelined, per Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register. Davis overcame a lingering stomach illness Monday night to push L.A. to an overtime victory against the Hornets. “(Carmelo Anthony) is in my ear a lot about leading the team and just controlling the team, especially with (James) out,” Davis said. “We don’t have all our guys yet, so guys are playing a lot of minutes now, but it’s my job to make sure I stay in command of the team.”
  • Warriors president of basketball operations Bob Myers didn’t make a splashy trade during the offseason, but all his smaller pick-ups have worked out, observes Kendra Andrews of NBC Sports Bay Area. Myers filled the roster with Andre Iguodala, Nemanja Bjelica and Otto Porter Jr., all of whom have contributed to the team’s league-best 9-1 start.
  • Defense was among the many topics that Clippers guard Reggie Jackson wanted to talk about after Tuesday’s win over the Trail Blazers, writes Mirjam Swanson of The Orange County Register. He said everyone has bought into the scheme, enabling L.A. to rank in the top three in team defense despite playing without Kawhi Leonard. “(Ivica Zubac) and myself and a few of us have actually been joking about (Luke Kennard’s) willingness to play defense, honestly,” Jackson said. “He’s been such a threat on offense and now the way that he’s locking in on defense and giving his best effort, he understands what we’re trying to get accomplished, he understands where help’s coming from, where he needs to be at in help and it’s just getting contagious. Like, this is fun. It’s fun figuring it out.”

Pacific Notes: Kings Lineup, DeRozan, Jackson, Bledsoe, Payton II

Kings coach Luke Walton is still tinkering with his starting lineup, according to Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. The forward spots are up for grabs, with Buddy Hield, Harrison Barnes and Marvin Bagley III as the top contenders, depending on whether Walton opts to go small or with a more conventional lineup. “I have not come to (a decision regarding Barnes) and there are still open spots,” Walton said. It could all be a moot point if the Kings renew efforts to acquire Ben Simmons.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • DeMar DeRozan had discussions with LeBron James about joining the Lakers in free agency, he confirmed to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). DeRozan wound up joining the Bulls in a sign-and-trade after Los Angeles opted to deal for Russell Westbrook. “It just didn’t work. You know how the business goes. … That was a hell of an opportunity that we tried to make happen,” said DeRozan, a Los Angeles native.
  • Clippers coach Tyronn Lue wants one of his veteran point guards to be on the floor at all times, Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times tweets. Lue will stagger the minutes of Reggie Jackson and Eric Bledsoe to make that happen.
  • The Warriors are hopeful Gary Payton II can play in a preseason game next week, Anthony Slater of The Athletic tweets. Payton is working his way back from a hernia issue. Payton remains a contender for the team’s final roster spot. Payton will need to make the opening-night roster to receive a $659K partial guarantee on his $1.98MM contract.