Clippers star Kawhi Leonard, who has been out of action since October 23 due to right knee soreness, took part in a five-on-five workout on Friday for the first time since he has been sidelined, writes Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. Leonard won’t be available on Saturday when the Clippers host the Nets, but head coach Tyronn Lue said he is encouraged by the forward’s progress.
“The first time he was able to get on the floor and play five-on-five and he looked pretty good,” Lue said. “Still have a ways to go, but that was the first sign of positivity of him getting on the floor, playing five-on-five.”
As Youngmisuk relays, Lue said that Leonard will need a “few more (workout) opportunities” before the team is comfortable clearing him. The Clippers’ head coach also said he’s not sure whether the former NBA Finals MVP will continue to come off the bench when he returns, like he did in his first two games of the season.
Here’s more from around the Pacific:
- Since Cameron Johnson went down with his knee injury, the Suns have made an effort to reopen some old Jae Crowder trade talks, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst stated in the most recent episode of his Hoop Collective podcast (hat tip to RealGM). Like Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports, Windhorst and his ESPN colleague Tim Bontemps have both heard that there’s no indication the Suns and Crowder will mend fences and have the veteran forward report to the team.
- Moving Jordan Poole into the starting lineup in place of Klay Thompson isn’t something the Warriors will consider to jump-start their struggling bench, head coach Steve Kerr said during an appearance on Damon & Ratto on 95.7 The Game (YouTube link). “No, that’s not something I’ve given any thought to,” Kerr said. “Jordan and Klay are very different players. Jordan’s more on the ball, Klay’s off the ball. … Klay is a starter. That five-man (starting) unit is the very best unit in the league.”
- While it’s a good thing that Warriors two-way players Anthony Lamb and Ty Jerome can be counted on to play regular roles, it’s not a great sign that they’ve already earned more trust from Kerr than the team’s young prospects, according to Dalton Johnson of NBC Sports Bay Area, who considers whether Golden State’s plan to develop three youngsters (James Wiseman, Moses Moody, and Jonathan Kuminga) while trying to contend is flawed.