Sindarius Thornwell

Pacific Notes: Thomas, Rivers, Williams, Thornwell, Evans

Isaiah Thomas has made it clear that he sees himself as a starter and not a reserve player, the role he has occupied since he was traded to the Lakers. The Lakers will have ample cap space this summer with the intention of luring at least two top free agents. Unless the Lakers want to start Thomas alongside Lonzo Ball, it’s unlikely that Thomas re-signs with Los Angeles.

Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report opines that while a Thomas reunion with the Lakers is unlikely, it should not be ruled out. LeBron James and Paul George will be the Lakers’ top two targets; James and Thomas were teammates for 15 games in Cleveland this season. If James decides to sign with the Lakers, Thomas re-signing likely becomes more unlikely, Pincus writes.

“Of course, if Thomas insists he’s a starter and will only re-sign on that contingency, the Lakers would presumably need to start him alongside Ball,” Pincus writes. “If George and Ingram are forwards, perhaps [Julius] Randle slides over to start at center.”

Starting two point guards — including a 29-year-old coming off an injury-riddled season — does not sound like something the Lakers would prefer.

Check out more Pacific Division notes below:

  • Clippers head coach Doc Rivers was fined $15K for criticizing the officials in the team’s loss to the Rockets on Thursday, per ESPN. Rivers was critical of the referees’ lack of calls for his team.
  • Sindarius Thornwell and Jawun Evans were prepared for the G League this season and were not expecting significant minutes with the Clippers. A rash of injuries have given Thornwell and Evans key roles, in which they have excelled, Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times writes.
  • Suns big man Alan Williams was assigned to the G League’s Northern Arizona Suns this week. However, he will not play for the NBA team until he gets into a game with the G League affiliate, which is expected on Wednesday, tweets Scott Bordow of Arizona Central Sports.

L.A. Notes: LeBron, Lakers, Gallinari, Thornwell

James’ recent purchase of a house in the Los Angeles area won’t affect his decision, Heisler claims, and neither will the chance to play with a young core made up of Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Julius Randle and Lonzo Ball. Unless the Lakers can convince James that his presence would make them an instant contender, they’ll be a long shot to bring him to L.A.
There’s more NBA news out of Los Angeles:
  • With the playoffs slipping out of reach, the Lakers will spend the rest of this season deciding which free agents they want to keep, states Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report. With only five players under contract for 2018/19, Brook Lopez, Isaiah Thomas and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope will be among those auditioning for jobs, as will Channing Frye if he returns after an appendectomy.
  • Clippers forward Danilo Gallinari will have his right hand examined next week to determine if he needs surgery, tweets Tomer Azarly of Clutch Points. Gallinari added that swelling and discoloration in the hand have subsided since he suffered a non-displaced fracture late last month. Gallinari is averaging 15.9 points per night, but has been limited to 19 games by a variety of injuries.
  • Rookie Clippers guard Sindarius Thornwell made his first start in nearly three months Friday and responded with a career-high 14 points in a win over the Cavaliers, notes Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times. Thornwell’s playing time had slipped as the team tried out two-way guards C.J. Williams and Tyrone Wallace, but he was ready when coach Doc Rivers called on him to match up with James. “I guess it’s just Doc’s way of seeing if I’m ready to play,” Thornwell said. “He just wants to see if I’m focused and locked in. But my starts are always on somebody tough.”

Clippers Notes: Jersey Sponsor, Thornwell, Inglewood

The Clippers have become the 20th NBA team to reach a uniform patch agreement with a corporate sponsor, announcing today that they’ve struck a deal with dating app Bumble. According to Scott Soshnick of Bloomberg, the agreement is worth $20MM over three years.

Bumble is an app known for allowing only women to send the first message in a conversation, and the idea of partnering with an organization with “strong female leadership” was a draw for the Clippers, according to the team’s announcement. Within their release, the Clips note that they have the NBA’s largest female leadership team. Meanwhile, ESPN’s Darren Rovell notes that the club is referring to the Bumble uniform patch as an “empowerment badge” and is pledging to invest in promoting gender equality.

“Never before has a major professional sports team partnered in this way with a female-driven brand like Bumble,” Bumble founder and CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd said in a statement. “It’s an honor to partner with an organization as progressive and compassionate as the Clippers. Like us, they know generating awareness for diversity and gender equality is critical to business success.”

Our full list of jersey sponsors for the 2017/18 season – which now includes two-thirds of the NBA’s teams – can be found right here.

Here’s more on the Clippers:

  • Clippers guard Sindarius Thornwell, who saw his minutes reduced for much of January and February, has once again become a regular part of the team’s rotation within the last week. A lack of backcourt depth in L.A. contributed to Thornwell’s return to the lineup, but the rookie believes his preparation also paid off, as Elliott Teaford of The Daily Breeze writes. “I think I came back in because of my defense and treating the practices like games and preparing for my moment, for my opportunity,” Thornwell said. “I think that’s what brought me back into the rotation.”
  • The owners of the Inglewood Forum – the Madison Square Garden Co. – have alleged in a lawsuit that the City of Inglewood and mayor James T. Butts have held secret negotiations with the Clippers about building a new Inglewood arena, per Ramona Shelburne of ESPN. The suit, also detailed by Nathan Fenno at The Los Angeles Times, alleges that Butts pressured MSG into terminating its lease on 15 acres of property (that had been used by the Forum for overflow parking) without revealing that it was a potential location for a new Clippers arena — MSG was under the impression that the land would be used for a “non-competitive technology park.”
  • We passed along more Clippers items on Monday, including notes on the team’s luxury tax situation and its two-way players.

Pacific Notes: Ball, Thompson, Bogdanovic, Len

Lonzo Ball sprained his left ankle last Monday during a preseason contest against the Nuggets and the Lakers think their first-rounder may sit out the remainder of the preseason, Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN writes. Ball, 19, also sat out a portion of the Summer League a few months ago due to a calf strain.

Lakers head coach Luke Walton did not rule out Ball missing the season opener if his balky ankle does not improve. Walton said that Ball does not feel pain running straight but side-to-side movements are causing the UCLA product discomfort. Ball tried practicing on Sunday but he could not do it pain-free, Walton said.

“If he is not ready, he won’t [play],” Walton said. “Again, it is day to day so I assume he will be back by then. If he’s not ready to play basketball and really cut and move and do everything that you need that ankle you need it to do for you, we are not going to play him.”

Check out other tidbits of news out the Pacific Division:

Clippers Sign Second-Rounder Sindarius Thornwell

4:20pm: Thornwell will get a three-year, $3.8MM deal, according to Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders, who adds that the first two years are fully guaranteed (Twitter link).

The fact that it’s a three-year pact means that the Clips used their mid-level exception, leaving a very small portion of that MLE available. Assuming Thornwell signed for the minimum, the exact value of the deal over three years will be $3,812,377.

4:05pm: The Clippers have signed rookie shooting guard Sindarius Thornwell, the team announced today (via Twitter). Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, but there’s no mention of it being a two-way contract, so Thornwell appears to have received a spot on the NBA roster.

[RELATED: 2017 NBA Draft Pick Signings]

The 48th overall pick in this year’s draft, Thornwell was the SEC Player of the Year in 2016/17 for South Carolina, averaging 21.4 PPG to go along with 7.2 RPG and 2.1 SPG. He also upped his shooting percentages to .445/.395/.830, all career-bests.

The Clippers entered this year’s draft without any picks, but used cash to buy a pair of second-rounders and inject some youth into their roster. In addition to trading for Thornwell’s rights, Los Angeles also drafted and signed Jawun Evans with the 39th overall pick.

Evans received a portion of the Clippers’ mid-level exception, as did Euroleague point guard Milos Teodosic, but the club still has about $1.6MM of that MLE left. It appears likely that L.A. will use another chunk of that MLE to finalize Thornwell’s deal — a report last week from The State indicated that the rookie guard would sign a three-year contract, which is more than he could get with the minimum salary exception.

Pacific Notes: Lakers, Clippers, Russell, McGee

As free agency nears, the Lakers may avoid signing players to contracts that extend past 2017/18 for fear of eating into potential Paul George cap space, Justin J. Page of ESPN writes. The club is currently expected to have $18MM to work with this summer and potentially over $40MM next summer, depending on the status of Julius Randle.

Considering that the key here would be to retain flexibility to make a move for George when he officially hits free agency in 2018, the Lakers could zero in on players with one-year deals when the 2017 free agency period begins next week. Los Angeles could justifiably overpay for players in 2017/18 so long as they come with team options for anything beyond that.

Page also writes that fans can expect the franchise to continue shedding as much salary as possible, the primary target being Luol Deng and the $54MM remaining over the course of the last three years of his deal.

There’s more out of the Pacific Division:

Clippers Acquire Sindarius Thornwell From Bucks

JUNE 23, 12:35am: The deal is official, with the Clippers sending cash considerations to the Bucks in exchange for Thornwell’s draft rights, per a press release.

JUNE 22, 11:03pm: Having already reached a deal for the No. 39 pick, the Clippers have picked up another second-rounder, according to Brad Turner of The Los Angeles Times. Turner reports (via Twitter) that Los Angeles has bought the No. 48 overall pick from the Bucks.

The Clippers are using the pick on South Carolina guard Sindarius Thornwell, per Shams Charania of The Vertical (Twitter link).

Thornwell was the SEC Player of the Year in 2016/17, averaging 21.4 PPG to go along with 7.2 RPG and 2.1 SPG. He also upped his shooting percentages to .445/.395/.830, all career-bests.

The exact details of the deal aren’t yet known, but it appears that the Clippers paid cash to obtain the pick from Milwaukee.

Draft Notes: Jackson, Bako, Collins

The Hornets worked out a handful of possible first-round draft picks Sunday, including familiar face Justin Jackson. Alongside video footage of Jackson following the workout, Diedra Laird of the Charlotte Observer writes that club additionally auditioned Bam Adebayo, Luke Kennard and more.

Jackson, a North Carolina product, is being forecast as the No. 19 overall pick in‘s latest mock draft. Duke product Kennard, on the other hand, has been projected as the No. 12 pick. Adebayo, out of Kentucky, is currently forecast to go No. 17 in that same mock.

Although the Hornets will pick earlier than any of those projections at No. 11, it’s reasonable that they could elect to take a flyer on a blue chip prospect that played their college basketball in state.

There are more pre-draft workout notes from around the league:

Atlantic Notes: James, Celtics, Pre-Draft Workouts

Rumors are swirling that LeBron James will look to leave Cleveland for a second time after next season and potentially head out west. If he is not on the Cavaliers after 2017/18, James’ departure would have a domino effect across the league. A. Sherrod Blakely joined Mike Felger and Gary Tanguay at CSN New England to discuss Celtics general manager Danny Ainge‘s potential moves if James heads out West and weakens the Eastern Conference.

Blakely believes that no matter James’ future, Ainge should not focus on what’s going around the league, focusing instead on his own team. The Celtics have the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s NBA Draft and are coming off a year where they were the first seed in the East. The Celtics have their own issues to address, including the impending free agency of Isaiah Thomas, Marcus Smart, and others.

In any case, the Celtics are in the best position of any Eastern Conference team to unseat the Cavaliers as the class of division and a James departure after next season only strengthens that.

Here are other notes from around the Atlantic Division:

Northwest Notes: Hill, Favors, Workouts

Keeping Gordon Hayward in Utah is the top priority for the Jazz this offseason, but re-signing him alone isn’t going to help the team climb in the Western Conference standings, Benjamin Mehic of the Deseret News writes.

The team must also shore up its point guard position. George Hill will be a free agent this summer and the team will have trouble finding a top-notch point guard replacement should he bolt. Hill has expressed a desire to return, as Dana Gauruder of Hoops Rumors mentioned in the team’s offseason preview. However, many players say flattering things about their current team as they head into free agency only to leave for another club.

If Hill is lured away, the most likely option for the Jazz is promoting Dante Exum to the starting unit, though that could hurt the team in the win column since Exum hasn’t quite proven himself in the league yet.

Here’s more from the Northwest: