Clippers Rumors

Clippers To Re-Sign Montrezl Harrell

Restricted free agent center Montrezl Harrell has agreed to a two-year, $12MM deal to return to the Clippers, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. According to Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times, Harrell’s contract will be fully guaranteed.

Harrell, 24, was one of the last remaining restricted free agents on the market with a reasonable potential to sign a significant deal. Only Clint Capela and Rodney Hood now remain.

An over-the-cap team, the Clippers had already split their entire non-taxpayer mid-level exception on forwards Luc Mbah a Moute and Mike Scott, but were able to re-sign Harrell using his Bird rights.

Harrell had a breakout season in 2017/18, playing in 76 games while averaging 11.0 points and 4.0 rebounds per contest and shooting a blistering 63.5 percent from the field. His 24.73 PER was good enough for 12th best in the entire NBA among qualified players.

The Clippers lost big man DeAndre Jordan in free agency to the Mavericks, but did acquire center Marcin Gortat from the Wizards in a trade for Austin Rivers. Accordingly, Harrell and Gortat will now seemingly compete for time at the center position for the Clippers in 2018/19, with Boban Marjanovic providing reserve minutes.

G League Coach Promoted To Doc's Staff

  • The Suns will head into the season with Brandon Knight as the starting point guard unless they make a trade, Scott Bordow of the Arizona Republic declares in his latest mailbag. If Phoenix strikes a deal, the Clippers’ Patrick Beverley would be an obvious target because of Los Angeles’ backcourt logjam, Bordow adds.
  • The Clippers will promote their G League coach, Casey Hill, to Doc Rivers’ staff with coaching associate Brian Adams replacing Hill at Agua Caliente, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter links). Natalie Nakase will be promoted to Clippers player development staff, Wojnarowski adds.

Latest On Kawhi Leonard

The Spurs‘ asking price for Kawhi Leonard remains high, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne. In an article packed with Leonard-related tidbits, the ESPN duo suggests that – based on conversations with opposing teams – San Antonio appears to be seeking an All-Star caliber player, high-potential young players, and draft picks in exchange for Kawhi.

It’s not clear if the Spurs will be able to land that sort of return, according to Wojnarowski and Shelburne, who note that a three-way bidding war involving the Lakers, Celtics, and Sixers never really materialized. The Lakers are being patience and conveying confidence that Leonard will sign with them in 2019. As for the Celtics and Sixers, they’ve held their top players out of trade discussions and have offered pick-heavy packages, which haven’t enticed the Spurs.

Given the Spurs’ reported demands, a Raptors offer built around one of their All-Star guards (likely DeMar DeRozan), one or two of their young players, and draft picks could be the most logical package for San Antonio.

In an appearance on Zach Lowe’s ESPN podcast, Brian Windhorst said he thinks the Raptors are in the “driver’s seat” in the Leonard sweepstakes, since the Lakers and Sixers haven’t been aggressive in their pursuit of the star forward. Lowe didn’t go so far as to call the Raptors the favorites, but he cautioned not to underestimate the club or to view the rumors linking Leonard to Toronto as mere speculation.

Here are a few more notes and rumors on the NBA’s most noteworthy trade candidate:

  • In addition to the four teams noted above, the Clippers, Nuggets, Suns, Trail Blazers, and Wizards have talked to the Spurs about Leonard, league sources tell Wojnarowski and Shelburne. However, it’s unlikely that any of those teams has made a monster offer, given concerns that Kawhi would be a one-year rental. Portland hasn’t discussed Damian Lillard or C.J. McCollum, for instance, per ESPN.
  • Leonard is “seriously considering” participating in Team USA’s mini-camp next week, league sources tell Wojnarowski and Shelburne. There’s a sense that the All-Star wants to show the Spurs‘ prospective trade partners that he’s healthy, but there may be a concern within Leonard’s camp that participating in the mini-camp would give San Antonio more leverage to push him to report to camp in the fall.
  • While there have been whispers that Leonard has no intention of showing up at the Spurs‘ facility if he’s not traded, rival teams generally view that as an “empty threat,” since they’re skeptical he’s willing to risk forfeiting his $20MM salary for 2018/19, according to Wojnarowski and Shelburne,
  • The Spurs haven’t allowed potential trade partners to talk directly with Leonard or his camp, or to see his medical information, per ESPN’s report. It’s unlikely that stance would change unless the Spurs agree to a trade in principle with a team, Woj and Shelburne add.
  • Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders addressed the Leonard situation in his latest article, suggesting that the start of training camp could be a key deadline to keep an eye on. One source close to Leonard also tells Kyler that the forward would ideally like to be the “focal point” of a team going forward. It’s not clear how that alleged desire to be a team’s focal point will impact Leonard’s preference to join the Lakers now that LeBron James is in L.A., Kyler writes.

Clippers May Wind Up Trading Vets During Season

  • The Clippers’ moves have put them in a position to contend for a playoff berth but they might be better off falling out of the race quickly, Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times opines. Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams, Avery Bradley and Luc Mbah a Moute could turn into valuable trade pieces that could land them some prospects and additional draft picks, Woike explains. That would likely be a better outcome for the franchise’s long-term health than squeaking into the playoffs, Woike adds.

Contract Details For Mbah A Moute, Scott

  • The Clippers split their full mid-level exception right down the middle, with Luc Mbah a Moute and Mike Scott each receiving $4,320,500 (Twitter link). L.A. will be hard-capped this season as a result of using the full MLE.

Clippers To Retain Milos Teodosic

Milos Teodosic will stick with the Clippers after all, according to Brad Turner of The Los Angeles Times, who reports (via Twitter) that the Clips “really like” the point guard, who will return on the second year of his two-year deal with the club.

Teodosic and the Clippers agreed to that two-year deal in the summer of 2017, but after a guaranteed first-season salary, the second year was structured a little differently. While the 31-year-old exercised his $6.3MM player option in June, that option was only guaranteed for $2.1MM, and at least one report suggested that Los Angeles may cut the point guard before his July 15 guarantee deadline to save $4MM+.

According to that Sportando report, the Clippers had some concern over the health of Teodosic’s foot. The longtime EuroLeague star a tear of the plantar fascia in his left foot near the end of the 2017/18 campaign, ending his season early.

L.A. also has a crowded backcourt, with Teodosic, Patrick Beverley, Avery Bradley, Lou Williams, Jawun Evans, and Sindarius Thornwell on track to return while lottery picks Jerome Robinson and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander join the mix. Retaining Teodosic increases the team’s roster count to 17 players, with restricted free agent Montrezl Harrell still unsigned.

Still, the Clippers apparently liked what they saw from Teodosic in 2017/18 enough to keep him around for another year. Teodosic had a solid NBA rookie season after a successful run in Europe, averaging 9.5 PPG, 4.6 APG, and 2.8 RPG with a .419/.379/.848 shooting line. He was limited to just 45 games due to injuries.

Celtics Notes: Thomas, Rivers, Williams, Henry

Isaiah Thomas is on his third team since being traded from the Celtics, but his role in Boston’s quick turnaround shouldn’t be overlooked, writes Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald. Thomas, who agreed to sign with the Nuggets this week, helped the Celtics reach the playoffs after coming to the organization in February of 2015, then was part of 48- and 53-win seasons.

That success made Boston an attractive option for free agents Al Horford and Gordon Hayward and put the franchise in a position to trade for Kyrie Irving.

“Isaiah added credibility to our team by making us a legitimate basketball team,” said president of basketball operations Danny Ainge. “And on top of that he was very entertaining. But he was all-in. He was all-in for the team. He was recruiting Al Horford to come. He was recruiting Gordon Hayward to come to play with him. He’s earned a lot of respect in my eyes.”

There’s more Celtics news to pass along:

  • With the three stars of the Lob City era all gone from the Clippers, coach Doc Rivers plans to use the Celtics’ experience as a blueprint for rebuilding, Bulpett writes in a separate story. “They’ve done it as well as it’s ever been done,” Rivers said, “because all these other teams, including us now, everybody has a plan, but the plan has to work. And if it doesn’t work, then you have to start over again with another plan. And Danny and them have been able to run their plan.”
  • The Celtics haven’t given up on the possibility of first-round pick Robert Williams playing in the summer league, according to Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald. Williams is getting constant treatment on his aching left knee and is considered questionable for today’s quarterfinal contest. “If Danny wants him to play, if Robert feels he can, if our training staff feels he’s not at risk of reinjuring it, we’d love to have him,” said assistant coach Jay Larranaga. “… He just keeps getting better and better. Who knows when he’ll be able to play, but he does seem to be getting better.”
  • Pierria Henry has been the best point guard on the Celtics’ summer league team, tweets Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. Washburn expects him to be considered for a spot with Boston’s G League affiliate if he doesn’t return to Turkey.

Contract Details For Avery Bradley

  • Avery Bradley has a fully guaranteed $12MM salary in the first season of his two-year contract with the Clippers, but only $2MM of his $12.96MM salary for 2019/20 is guaranteed (Twitter link). The Clips will have to make a decision on Bradley’s second-year guarantee by July 3, 2019.

Clippers Sign Luc Mbah A Moute

JULY 11: The Clippers have officially signed Mbah a Moute, according to the NBA’s transactions log.

JULY 9: Rockets free agent forward Luc Mbah a Moute has agreed to a one-year contract with the Clippers, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets. The contract will be worth $4.3MM, Wojnarowski adds in another tweet.

Mbah a Moute had expressed dissatisfaction in his negotiations with Houston this month with the Rockets apparently offering just the veteran’s minimum. The Spurs, Lakers, Wizards, and Sixers had also reportedly expressed some level of interest in Mbah a Moute.

The Clippers essentially split their mid-level exception to acquire both Mbah a Moute and another forward, Mike Scott, according to ESPN’s Zach Lowe.

The loss of Mbah a Moute appears to increase the possibility that Carmelo Anthony will wind up in a Houston uniform. The Rockets have now lost two key defensive wings in free agency with Trevor Ariza joining the Suns.

Familiarity played a role in Mbah a Moute’s decision, as he played two seasons for Doc Rivers and the Clippers before joining the Rockets prior to last season. He averaged 7.5 PPG in 25.6 MPG in his limited offensive role while making an above-average 36.4% of his long-range attempts.

In terms of the Clippers, the addition of Mbah a Moute gives them 14 guaranteed contracts and three others – Milos Teodosic, Patrick Beverley and CJ Williams – that are partially guaranteed or non-guaranteed, Bobby Marks of ESPN notes. Los Angeles now has $118MM in salary, $5.7MM below the luxury-tax threshold.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Warriors Re-Sign Kevon Looney

JULY 10: The signing is official, according to a team press release.

JULY 3: Kevon Looney has agreed to re-sign with the Warriors, tweets ESPN’s Chris Haynes. He will receive a one-year, minimum-salary contract (Twitter link).

Golden State is able to keep an important rotation piece at a low price after opting not to guarantee the fourth year of Looney’s rookie contract. He will join Jordan Bell and Damian Jones in the Warriors’ center rotation, along with DeMarcus Cousins once he recovers from his Achilles injury.

Looney will receive $1,567,007 and Golden State will absorb a $1,512,601 cap hit, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks. The Warriors, who now have 12 players under contract, will own Bird rights on Looney when he becomes a free agent next year.

The Clippers, Rockets, Sixers and Hawks also showed interest in Looney, according to Mark Medina of The San Jose Mercury News (Twitter link).

Looney, 22, is coming off his most productive NBA season, averaging 4.0 points and 3.3 rebounds in 66 games.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.