Clippers are on verge of trading for wing Lance Stephenson

Lance Stephenson

Lance Stephenson/Photo courtesy of Charlotte Hornets, ESPN.com

 

A league source on Monday afternoon confirmed to this newspaper that a trade that would send small forward Matt Barnes and power forward/center Spencer Hawes to Charlotte for wing Lance Stephenson could be done any moment.

The deal in the works was first reported by YahooSports.

Stephenson played his first four seasons with Indiana. In his fourth season in 2013-14, he averaged 13.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 4.6 assists. He did not have similar success at Charlotte this past season, however, averaging 8.2 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.9 assists.

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Clippers have worked out several players at their practice facility

Quinn Cook 764712

Quinn Cook/Photo courtesy of Duke University

 

The Clippers at this time do not have a pick in the upcoming NBA Draft, but they can work out players and they’ve been doing that at their facility in Playa Vista.

The Clippers this past week worked out power forwards Aaron White (Iowa) and David Kravish (Cal), shooting guard Treveon Graham (VCU), small foward Julian Washburn (UTEP) and point guards Quinn Cook (Duke) and Ryan Boatright (UConn).

All of these players are projected as either late second-round picks or just outside of the second round.

The draft will take place June 25. The Clippers are the only team without a pick.

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Adam Silver doubts change will come regarding intentional fouling

DeAndre Jordan

DeAndre Jordan/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

According to a story on ESPN.com, NBA commissioner Adam Silver told reporters covering the NBA Finals in Oakland that there is little chance there will be a rule change that would prevent the intentional fouling of poor free-throw shooters like DeAndre Jordan and Dwight Howard of the Houston Rockets.

Silver said league executives at the general managers meeting in mid-May were opposed to any changes.

“The data shows that we’re largely talking about two teams, throughout the playoffs,” Silver said. “In fact, 90 percent of the occurrences of Hack-a-Shaq invole the Rockets and the Clippers. And for the most part, it’s two players. Seventy-five percent involve two players, DeAndre Jordan and Dwight Howard. So then the question becomes, should we be making that rule change largely for two teams and two players?”

Jordan, an unrestricted free agent, shot just 39.7 percent from the free-throw line this season and has just a 41.7 career percentage over seven seasons. Howard shot 52.8 percent this season and has shot 57.3 percent over 11 seasons.

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Clippers remain interested in bringing Paul Pierce to Los Angeles

Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce/Photo courtesy of Washington Wizards, NBA.com

 

The Clippers remain interested in bringing small forward Paul Pierce to Los Angeles, a league source told us today, but that Pierce would first have to opt out of his current contract with the Washington Wizards, which he can do.

We’re also told that the Clippers will be pushing hard to retain unrestricted free-agent center DeAndre Jordan by offering him a max contract to stay with the team. Only the Clippers can offer Jordan a five-year deal worth roughly $109 million while the best other teams can offer is four years in the neighborhood of $81 million.

Pierce, 37, attended Inglewood High. He has played 17 seasons and has a career scoring average of 20.7. He averaged 11.9 points this past season with the
Wizards.

Pierce’s player option with Washington for next season is $5,543,725.

Jordan, 26, averaged 11.5 points, a league-high 15.0 rebounds and 2.2 blocks during this past season. He helped the Clippers to the second round of the playoffs, where they were beaten in seven games by the Houston Rockets.

The down side to Jordan is that he can’t make free throws. He shot just 39.7 percent from the free-throw line in 2014-15 and his seven-year career percentage is 41.7.

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Clippers leaving Las Vegas to take part in Orlando Pro Summer League

The Clippers have announced that for the first time they will compete in the Orlando Pro  Summer League after playing the past nine seasons in the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas.

The league will consist of two teams from the Orlando Magic and one each from the Clippers, Brooklyn Nets, Charlotte Hornets, Detroit Pistons, Indiana Pacers, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder.

Each team will play five games from July 4-10 on the Orlando Magic’s practice  court at Amway Center in Orlando, Fla., with a championship game to be played on the final day.

The event will not be open to the public because of space limitations but games will be televised by NBA TV.

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Chris Paul named to All-NBA second team, Griffin and Jordan to third

Chris Paul

Chris Paul/Photo by Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

Point guard Chris Paul on Thursday was named to the All-NBA second team and forward Blake Griffin and center DeAndre Jordan were named to the third team.

It’s the first time in franchise history three Clippers have made All-NBA in the same season and it’s the first time since 2004-05 when Phoenix did it that a team landed three players on the respective teams.

This is the second time Paul has been named to the second team; he made the first team the previous three seasons. Paul averaged 19.1 points and a league-high 10.2 assists. He made the All-Star team for the eighth consecutive season.

Griffin led the Clippers in scoring with a 21.9 scoring average during the regular season; he averaged a career-low 7.6 rebounds, but a career-high in assists at 5.3 per game. Griffin had been named to the second team the previous three seasons and this is his first time on the third team. He made his fifth All-Star game appearance in succession.

Jordan averaged a league-best 15.0 rebounds as well as 11.5 points and 2.2 blocks. This is his first selection to an All-NBA team.

 

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DeAndre Jordan, Chris Paul named to NBA’s All-Defensive first team

Paul, Jordan Named First Team All-Defense

Chris Paul, left, and DeAndre Jordan on Wednesday were named to the NBA’s All-Defensive first team/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers

 

Guard Chris Paul and center DeAndre Jordan on Wednesday were named to the NBA’s All-Defensive first team.

Paul received 67 first-place votes and was voted to the first team for the fourth consecutive season, fifth overall in his 10-year career.

This was Jordan’s first such honor. He received 84 first-place votes. Jordan led the league in rebounds during the regular season with a 15.0 average. He also led in defensive rebounds at 10.1 per game and was fourth in blocks with a 2.23 average.

Paul was second in the league in total steals with 156. His 1.9 per-game average was fifth.

Joining Paul and Jordan on the first team were forwards Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs and Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors and guard Tony Allen of the Memphis Grizzlies.

The second team is made up of forwards Tim Duncan of San Antonio and Anthony Davis of New Orleans, center Andrew Bogut of Golden State and guards Jimmy Butler of Chicago and John Wall of Washington.

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Doc Rivers hopeful he can convince son Austin to return to Clippers’ nest

 

Austin Rivers

Austin Rivers/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

Clippers guard Austin Rivers had his share of good games in the playoffs, and he had some where he did not play well. All told, he averaged 8.4 points and 1.1 assists in 14 games. He was terrific in a Game 4 victory at San Antonio in the first round, when he scored 16 points on 7 of 8 from the field. He also played key roles in two of the three victories over the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference semifinals won in seven games by the Rockets. He scored 17 points in a Game 1 victory at Houston and came through with a whopping 25 points on 10 of 13 shooting in a Game 3 victory at Staples Center, during which he had the fans there chanting, “Austin Rivers, Austin Rivers.”

His father, Clippers coach and president of basketball operations Doc Rivers, said Tuesday he’d love to re-sign his son for next season. He knows it won’t be easy because the Clippers can’t offer him as much money as other teams.

But he does want him back, regardless of some of the heat the younger Rivers took when he did not play well. It’s during those times that perhaps people don’t remember that he’s just 22 and won’t be 23 until August 1.

“Yeah, people who want to criticize him don’t,” the elder Rivers said. “That’s the way I always look at them. He’s young and he clearly helped us, I think we all have to agree with that. And I think he loved it here.

“I even think he liked the coach at times. You know, it’ll be interesting. I really want him back and I think it would be great to have him back and I think he’s a great fit for this team. But business is business and it’ll be an interesting thing this summer.”

Austin Rivers averaged 7.1 points and 1.7 assists during 41 regular-season games with the Clippers after being traded to the team in mid-January. After the 25-point performance in Game 3 against the Rockets, Rivers scored 12, eight, five and two points over the last four games of the series and shot a combined 11 of 32 (34.3 percent).

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Blake Griffin doesn’t think much of the so-called ‘Clippers Curse’

Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

Not long after the Clippers were eliminated by the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference semifinals when the Rockets won Game 7 on Sunday in Houston, Blake Griffin was asked about the so-called “Clippers Curse.” The question seemed to center on the team never having gotten past the conference semifinals in franchise history, more than anything else.

Griffin seemed less-than-thrilled with the question, but he responded.

“The ‘Clippers Curse’ when I first got here was No. 1 picks getting hurt and not working out, their draft picks not working out and them not making the playoffs, them not having winning seasons,” he said. “No one talked about getting past the second round, not a single soul talked about that. But now, that’s what everyone talks about. Just like the last one, we’re going to bust through this one.”

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Contrary to report, DeAndre Jordan practiced free-throw shooting a lot

Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan hug it out.

Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan share a hug/Photo by USATSI

 

I have read with great interest about the alleged discord between Clippers point guard Chris Paul and center DeAndre Jordan. No sooner were the Clippers eliminated by the Rockets in Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals Sunday, than did a story surface about how perturbed Paul has been about Jordan not working enough on his free-throw shooting during the season.

The rumor, according to this report that by the way did not quote anyone by name but went with the old “source” thing, is that Jordan may not re-sign with the Clippers, in part because of this.

I won’t mention the reporter or publication by name here because I don’t think one reporter should publicly argue with another. But I can tell you that the reporter who broke the story was not at Clippers practices on any kind of a regular basis this season. So while I’m not doubting that this reporter was told what was reported, said reporter wasn’t present enough to have seen for himself.

As someone who was at virtually every Clippers home practice and shootaround this season, I can say with conviction that no other Clippers player practiced his free-throw shooting as much as Jordan. He was often at a corner basket shooting one after another and usually a coach was with him.

That’s why any time coach Doc Rivers mentioned to us that no one shoots more practice free throws on the team than Jordan, it was easy to believe.

Now, we’re not naive. It is possible that Paul has indeed become fed up with having a starter on the team that has difficulty making more than 4 out of every 10 free throws – Jordan shot 39.7 percent this season and has a 41.7-percent career average.

But Paul, who is ultra-competitive, never expressed anything but support this season for Jordan in this regard. There never seemed to be any body language on his part that would indicate he’s mad as heck and can’t take it anymore.

Speaking of Paul’s competitiveness, the report also included an inference that Jordan does not like Paul’s “edginess” and that it wore on Jordan’s nerves. I didn’t see anything obvious in that regard, either, but sometimes professional athletes do a good job of keeping stuff like that under wraps.

More than anything, I wanted to shoot down the notion that Jordan did not practice his free throws enough. The view from here is that he practiced them more than enough. He made a lot more during practice than he did in the games, too.

I remember at one practice he asked reporters if we noticed how many of them he was making that day. He then admitted that it gets into his head during games.

I inquired about this today. I hate using the “source” thing, so I won’t go into all the details of what I found out about why this rumor has circulated. All I can say is I was told that this is all a bunch of bull and that if Jordan does leave, it won’t have anything to do with Paul.

Again, we’re not naive. That itself could be hogwash.

We’ll see what else comes up in this regard. Stay tuned.

 

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