Los Angeles Clippers

Cavs Pursuing DeAndre Jordan, Lou Williams

6:30pm: Stein added in a later tweet that the Cavs have similarly inquired about Lou Williams. David Aldridge of TNT confirmed Cleveland’s interest in the former Sixth Man of the Year but notes that talks with the Clips have stalled due to L.A.’s request for the Nets’ 2018 pick.

6:13pm: The Cavaliers are pursuing separate deals for both DeAndre Jordan and George Hill, Marc Stein of the New York Times tweets. While the latter was reported earlier today, the fact that the Cavs are now more aggressively seeking a Jordan deal comes as news.

About a month ago, the Cavs were said to be “sniffing around” the 29-year-old Jordan. Now, third in the Eastern Conference and losers of nine of their last 13 contests, the team could be more desperate to make a bold move ahead of the deadline.

Given that Jordan is owed $22.6MM this season and holds a player option for $24.1MM next season, the luxury-tax-bound Cavs would have to get creative with outgoing packages if they planned on somehow netting both Jordan and Hill.

One of the major assets that the Cavs could offer in exchange for the 2017 NBA All-Star is the famous 2018 Nets pick they acquired from the Celtics in the Kyrie Irving trade. The team, however, has been said to be reluctant to deal the first-rounder.

The suddenly red-hot Clippers won’t be looking to give Jordan away for peanuts at the deadline, but there’s reason to believe that the club could be motivated to make a move. In 41 games for L.A. this season, Jordan has posted 11.8 points and 14.9 rebounds per game.

Kyler’s Latest: Jordan, Kings, Mirotic, Whiteside

The streaky Clippers, who lost nine straight games back in November, have now won a season-high six consecutive contests, re-inserting themselves in the playoff picture in the Western Conference. Even though DeAndre Jordan has been sidelined with an ankle injury for the Clips’ last three wins, the streak seems to bode well for his chances of sticking in Los Angeles through the trade deadline.

As Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders writes, Clippers ownership and management doesn’t seem at all eager to blow up the roster. For now, the club is focused on seeing if it’s capable of competing in the West, preferring to wait until a bit closer to the deadline to evaluate all of its options.

If the Clippers do change course by February 8, the Bucks and Rockets figure to be among the teams with interest in Jordan, whose contract situation is worth monitoring. According to Kyler, there’s a belief that the veteran center won’t be able to top his $24.12MM player option as a free agent, meaning it’s possible he could decide to opt in for 2018/19. That possibility may affect how the Clippers and potential trade partners view Jordan at the deadline.

Here’s more from Kyler:

  • The Kings‘ veteran players are all potential trade candidates at the deadline, though some are more likely to be moved than others. George Hill, for example, won’t have much value, given his contract situation, his injury history, and his underwhelming play this season. Sources close to the situation tell Kyler that Sacramento seems to be trying to help its veterans find better situations as those players fall out of the team’s regular rotation.
  • Kyler hears that Nikola Mirotic‘s camp is pushing for the Bulls to pick up the forward’s $12.5MM team option for 2018/19. Until that team option is exercised, Mirotic has the ability to block a trade, giving him some leverage if Chicago wants to complete a deal. League sources tell Kyler that the Bulls have “gotten pretty far down the road” in talks with the Jazz and Pistons about Mirotic.
  • There’s “growing talk” around the NBA that the Heat would be open to the idea of moving Hassan Whiteside for the right mix of contracts and young players, Kyler writes. The Bucks and Cavaliers, both on the lookout for a center, would be obvious suitors, but it would tough for either team to make a deal, given Whiteside’s large cap hit ($23.78MM). John Henson, Mirza Teletovic, Tristan Thompson, and Iman Shumpert are among the players whose contracts might have to be included for Milwaukee or Cleveland to make a deal work, which doesn’t sound overly appealing for Miami.
  • The Mavericks are “dangling” some expiring contracts and appear to be seeking a promising prospect on a rookie scale deal, along with future picks, says Kyler. Dallas also has cap flexibility to take on a contract or two.

Trevor Ariza, Gerald Green Suspended Two Games Each

The NBA is suspending Trevor Ariza and Gerald Green for “aggressively entering” the Clippers’ locker room earlier this week, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports (Twitter link).

Chris Paul and James Harden will face no discipline. Wojnarowski (Twitter links) adds that interviews with 20 people from the locker room incident were conducted. It was determined that Paul and Harden tried to be “peacemakers,” attempting to defuse the situation. The scribe also adds that Blake Griffin will not be suspended.

The pair of Rockets wings will miss the team’s games against the Wolves and Warriors this week. Golden State is the only team ahead of the Rockets in the Western Conference standings, while the Wolves own the fourth spot in the conference, sitting just three games behind Houston.

Ariza will lose approximately $103K as a result of the two-game suspension, while Green will lose roughly $19.K. The Rockets will receive a credit of slightly under $61K against the luxury tax, Bobby Marks of ESPN.com explains (Twitter link). The team now sits roughly $2.56MM below the luxury tax threshold.

NBA’s Clippers/Rockets Probe Focusing On Ariza

The NBA’s investigation into the postgame incident between the Rockets and Clippers in Los Angeles on Monday night is focused on Trevor Ariza, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. According to Wojnarowski, Ariza has been “isolated as the person most responsible” for the Rockets’ attempt to get into the Clippers’ locker room.

Ariza, who got into it with Blake Griffin during the game, resulting in ejections for both players, was waiting on Griffin after the game, a Rockets source told Lee Jenkins of SI.com. A source also told Jenkins that teammates James Harden, Chris Paul, and Gerald Green were holding Ariza back when he attempted to get into the Clippers’ locker room to confront Griffin and Austin Rivers.

Wojnarowski hears similar rumblings, writing that Paul and Harden are “increasingly described” as having attempted to cool down Ariza. However, Woj does note that some sources on the Clippers’ side insist that Paul “eagerly entered” the home locker room through the back entrance, as we detailed on Tuesday.

The NBA interviewed several executives, coaches, players, and security personnel during the 24 hours following the incident, and those discussions are expected to continue today, league sources tell Wojnarowski. It remains to be seen whether fines and/or suspensions will be announced before the Clippers host Denver on Wednesday night. The Rockets’ next game takes place on Thursday night in Houston.

Pacific Notes: Ball, CP3, Clippers, Kings

Lonzo Balls balky left knee kept him out of the Lakers‘ loss to the Grizzlies on Monday and will likely sideline him for at least another game, ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk writes. Ball underwent an MRI on Sunday after he complained of discomfort and he will not be able to return until the swelling subsides.

“I know my body the best,” Ball said. “So as long as I can run, that is pretty much all I need. So as soon as I can run and the swelling goes down a little bit, then I should be ready to go.”

Ball, 20, had played well since he returned from a shoulder injury that sidelined him for six games from late December through early January. In total, Ball has averaged 10.2 PPG, 7.1 RPG, and 7.1 APG in 36 games for Los Angeles. The Lakers are 0-6 without Ball and are also currently without Brandon Ingram who is day-to-day with a sprained ankle.

Check out other Pacific Division notes below:

  • Before the melee that ensued during and after in the Rockets‘ matchup against the Clippers in Los Angeles on Monday, former Clipper Chris Paul did not want to be the focus of the game, Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times writes. Paul spent six seasons with the Clippers before he was traded this past offseason to Houston, pairing him with perennial Most Valuable Player candidate James Harden. However, after the game was over, it was Paul and several of his Rockets teammates entering the Clippers locker room looking for a confrontation with several L.A. players that was the story.
  • Michael Lee of The Vertical examines the Clippers dynasty that never was. While Los Angeles compiled an impressive list of stars, such as Paul, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, and others, the team was never able to escape the first round of the playoffs.
  • Several Kings player have voiced their displeasure with the way things are going for the team and that could be beneficial for the organization’s rebuild, Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee writes. Jones argues that if players continue speaking up, the team will have to speed up its efforts to put forth a contending team with winning players.
  • With the trade deadline approaching, James Ham of NBC Sports takes a look at which Kings veterans could be on the move and the impact they could have on the market.

NBA Investigating Rockets/Clippers Incident

10:09am: There will be “no shortage of punished individuals” as a result of the NBA’s investigation into last night’s incident in Los Angeles, tweets Wojnarowski. That investigation began late last night and continues into today.

8:26am: Chris Paul‘s return to Los Angeles took an unexpected turn on Monday night after the Clippers beat the Rockets in a testy contest that featured multiple ejections. As ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports, tensions boiled over after game, with a handful of Rockets players looking to confront Austin Rivers and Blake Griffin in the Clippers’ locker room.

According to Wojnarowski, Paul, James Harden, Trevor Ariza, and Gerald Green walked through a back hallway to reach the Clippers’ locker room, where several L.A. players “dared the Rockets to come farther into the room.” However, security and team officials quickly stepped in and pushed the Rockets back toward their locker room, per Wojnarowski.

Sources tell Wojnarowski that the Rockets were upset with Rivers, who was described as “especially belligerent” during the late stages of the Clippers’ win, despite standing on the sideline in street clothes (he’s still recovering from an ankle injury). Griffin was also involved in confrontations with Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni and Ariza during the game, leading to his ejection.

While the details of Wojnarowski’s report are bizarre and fascinating, it appears the locker-room incident didn’t escalate beyond some shouting. “It was classic NBA,” one Clipper witness told Woj. “None of these guys were going to fight.”

Nonetheless, the NBA intends to investigate the matter and will begin to gather information on Tuesday, Wojnarowski writes. It wouldn’t be a surprise if the league announces fines and/or suspensions at some point this week, with the Rockets seemingly likely to be hit with harsher penalties.

Nikola Mirotic, 15 Others Become Trade-Eligible

Today is January 15, which means that trade restrictions have lifted for most of the rest of the NBA’s 2017 offseason signees. While the majority of those ’17 free agents became trade-eligible on December 15, there was a small subset of free agent signees whose trade ineligibility lasted for another month.

The 16 players whose trade restrictions lift today meet a specific set of criteria: Not only did they re-sign with their previous teams this offseason, but they received raises of at least 20%, their salaries are worth more than the minimum, and their teams were over the cap, using Bird or Early Bird rights to sign them.

The most notable name in this group is Bulls power forward Nikola Mirotic. He’s not the best player on the list — Blake Griffin and Kyle Lowry would be among those vying for that honor. But Mirotic is the most likely player to be dealt out of the 16 guys becoming trade-eligible today. He has been linked to a handful of teams already, including the Jazz, Pistons, and Trail Blazers.

Here are the 16 players becoming trade-eligible today:

With three and a half weeks left until this season’s February 8 trade deadline, nearly all of the NBA’s players are now eligible to be dealt. The only players still ineligible to be moved are those who signed free agent contracts later than October 15, plus certain players who signed contract extensions in the offseason.

Hawks guard Isaiah Taylor (January 17), Nuggets forward Richard Jefferson (January 19), and Pelicans guard Jameer Nelson (January 22) are now the only remaining players who will become trade-eligible between today and February 8. For the full list of players who won’t become trade-eligible before this year’s deadline, click here.

Clippers Notes: Jordan, Griffin, Beverley

The time has come for the Clippers to trade DeAndre Jordan, Moke Hamilton of Basketball Insiders writes. The big man’s name has been subject to speculation for much of the season but now a rebuild is inevitable.

While Jordan isn’t the problem, he can be part of the team’s solution heading forward, Hamilton writes. Re-signing the 29-year-old big man would keep L.A. competitive enough to miss out on the benefits of being a bad team — unloading him for parts could help the team set off in the right direction.

There’s more out of L.A.:

  • An in-depth interview conducted by Marc Spears of The Undefeated sheds light on Blake Griffin‘s upbringing in Oklahoma. The scribe spoke with the power forward about everything from growing up biracial in Oklahoma to Chris Paul‘s departure.
  • The Clippers’ second unit has taken to referring to itself as the Goon Squad, Kevin Baxter of the Los Angeles Times writes. Front and center of the bunch is Lou Williams, even though he’s spent time as a starter of late. “I am the leader of the Goon Squad. Yet and still,” Williams said. “I’ve started, what, six games this season? [Actually 11]. So I can’t really call myself a starter. I’m still a bench guy.”
  • While his return to the court may still be months away, Patrick Beverley is thrilled to return to rejoin his team on the sidelines. “I’m ecstatic, I get to talk some [trash] on the bench today,” he told Elliott Teaford of the Orange County Register. “[…] I wanted to stay in Houston until I was off the crutches, but I’m back. I’m back for good now.”

Clippers Proposed Blockbuster Deal Involving Griffin, Towns

The Clippers proposed a deal to the Timberwolves that would have sent Blake Griffin to Minnesota in exchange for Karl-Anthony Towns but talks did not advance past the initial phone call, Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders writes.

The Timberwolves view Towns as a franchise cornerstone who is not available at this time, Scotto notes. Aside from Minnesota’s reluctance to part with Towns, several other factors stand in the way of a trade. Los Angeles signed Griffin to a massive five-year, $171MM extension this past offseason. Not only does that make Griffin ineligible to be traded until January 15, but Towns’ salary is a mere $6.2MM compared to Griffin’s $29.5MM.

To facilitate a trade, the Timberwolves would likely need to send at least two more players to L.A. to acquire Griffin. That would also complicate the Clippers’ roster as the organization would need to figure how to open a roster spot for the hypothetical third player acquired, according to Scotto.

Griffin, 28, has played well when healthy for the Clippers this season, averaging 22.6 PPG, 7.7 RPG, and 5.2 APG in 25 games. In his third season, the 22-year-old Towns’ scoring is down from last season (20.2 PPG) but his 12.0 RPG in an NBA-best 44 games is in line with his career totals.

The Clippers’ performance this season has fluctuated but the team is currently one game behind the Pelicans for the eighth seed with a 20-21 record. A rebuild has been rumored for months which would likely include shipping the likes of DeAndre Jordan and Lou Williams elsewhere. However, this is the first time we are hearing that the Clippers have discussed Griffin in trade talks.

Kyler’s Latest: Fournier, Jordan, Mirotic

The NBA’s G League Showcase is playing out in Mississauga, Ontario this week and the event has brought a plethora of league executives under the same roof. With next month’s trade deadline looming, it’s inevitable that the celebration of the NBA’s affiliate league also doubles as an unofficial chance for teams to discuss possible deals.

Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders has a number of updates from the Showcase, the highlights of which we’ll get into below. For a full breakdown of the trade chatter going down north of the border, check out the full feature here.

  • The Magic aren’t committing to the notion of “blowing the team up” but that’s the impression that teams on the other end of the phone seem to be getting. The club is supposedly going to be active ahead of the deadline and they want to make changes that help them shed salary. Kyler notes that guard Evan Fournier seems to be the player most teams have an interest in.
  • There remains a sense that DeAndre Jordan will be moved ahead of the deadline and the Bucks continue to be mentioned as the team most likely to make that happen. Kyler writes that a possible Jordan-to-Milwaukee deal could yield the Clippers John Henson, a young player and a draft pick. The Clips apparently like Malcolm Brogdon but his inclusion seems to be a non-starter.
  • The Jazz and Pistons are in pursuit of Nikola Mirotic and the deciding factor could possibly come down to Mirotic’s ability to veto a deal. Mirotic supposedly likes the idea of the Jazz and playing for Quin Snyder. At the end of the day, however, a Mirotic-to-Utah deal would likely require a first-round pick heading from the Jazz back to the Bulls, something Utah seems currently reluctant to part with.
  • Kyler notes that there’s belief that Joe Johnson will seek a buyout from the Jazz after the trade deadline if he isn’t dealt to a playoff-bound squad.
  • There isn’t any sense in NBA circles that Pelicans big man DeMarcus Cousins or Thunder forward Paul George could be move ahead of the deadline, although some teams may make an “11th hour run” at George.
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