The Clippers made it to the conference finals for the first time in franchise history last season, but they’ll have to wait quite a while for Kawhi Leonard to return from the partially torn ACL he suffered in the playoffs — possibly until the 2022/23 season.
President of basketball operations Lawrence Frank says the team doesn’t even broach the subject of Leonard’s recovery timeline, stating that “no one knows” when he’ll return, per Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.
In the same piece, Youngmisuk relays that Serge Ibaka, who’s recovering from back surgery, will be limited to non-contact drills at the start of training camp, according to Frank.
Youngmisuk also notes that rookie Jason Preston, the 33rd pick in the draft, suffered a foot injury in a group workout recently and will not be available for the start of training camp, which begins next Tuesday, September 28th. Frank said team physicians will determine the severity of the injury in the next couple of days.
Frank declined to say whether all of the players and staff members on the team are fully vaccinated, per Youngmisuk, although he did say that he’s a “huge advocate of the vaccinations.”
There’s more on the Clippers:
- Zach Harper of The Athletic gave the Clippers a B-minus for their offseason moves. He liked their draft picks and thought Justise Winslow and Harry Giles were decent “buy-low” pickups, but states that ultimately their offseason will depend on how Leonard and Ibaka recover from their surgeries.
- The Clippers announced in a press release that Brian Shaw and Jay Larranaga will be assistant coaches under Tyronn Lue. The team also promoted Shaun Fein to assistant coach. Shaw’s and Larranaga’s additions were reported in July. Shaw played 14 seasons in the NBA and was the former head coach of the Lakers and Nuggets. He spent last season as the head coach of G League Ignite. Larranaga was an assistant with the Celtics the past nine seasons.
- In the same release, the Clippers said former NBA player Wesley Johnson will be joining the team in a coaching and development role, along with Cookie Belcher.
- Frank loves Patrick Beverley and said it wasn’t easy parting with him, but he’s excited for what new addition Eric Bledsoe will bring to the team, per Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN (via Twitter).