NBA schedules released; the Clippers will play at Dallas on Nov. 11 on ESPN

DeAndre Jordan

DeAndre Jordan and the Clippers will play at Dallas on Nov. 11/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers

 

NBA schedules for the 2015-16 season were released Wednesday and, for at least the first two weeks, the scheduling gods were good to the Clippers.

The Clippers will play their first seven games in California. They open Oct. 28 on the road at Sacramento, then host Dallas, Sacramento and Phoenix. The Clippers then play a road game Nov. 4 at defending-champion Golden State before returning home for games against Houston and Memphis.

The Clippers will play their first out-of-state game Nov. 11 at Dallas, where extra security might be needed to keep DeAndre Jordan safe from those angry Mavericks fans who are bound to let Jordan know how much he disgusts them after he backed out of a verbal agreement to sign with Dallas, only to re-sign with the Clippers. That game will be televised by ESPN.

The Clippers don’t play the Lakers until Christmas night, and that will be a Lakers home game.

 

Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan, Blake Griffin to attend Team USA mini-camp

Chris Paul

Chris Paul/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers

 

USA Basketball on Thursday announced that Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan will be among 34 players to participate in the Team USA mini-camp Aug. 11-13 in Las Vegas.

The roster is expected to include all 12 members of the 2014 gold-medal winning World Cup team as well as nine Olympic gold-medal winners – eight from the 2012 London Games team.

Paul won Olympic gold medals with Team USA in the 2008 Beijing Games as well as in London. Griffin was originally part of the 2012 team, but was forced to withdraw because of injury.

Head coach is Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski.

The mini-camp will feature practices on Aug. 11 and Aug. 12 and will culminate with a showcase game between Blue and White teams Aug. 13 at Thomas & Mack Center.

Doc Rivers believes Clippers now match up with best in the West

DeAndre Jordan

DeAndre Jordan re-signed with the Clippers for four years and $88 million/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers

 

The Clippers have made several additions to their roster during the off-season. The players brought on board include Paul Pierce, Lance Stephenson, Josh Smith, Cole Aldrich, Wesley Johnson and draft pick Branden Dawson.

That’s not to mention the Clippers re-signed DeAndre Jordan and Austin Rivers and are expected to soon make the signing of Pablo Prigioni official once he passes his physical, which, according to a league source is all that remains for that to be a done deal.

The question is, how do the Clippers now stack up with the best in the West? Golden State is NBA champion, San Antonio now has LaMarcus Aldridge and Oklahoma City figures to be very tough, providing it stays healthy.

Coach Doc Rivers believes his team is right there with anyone and everyone in the conference.

“Well, I think we’re better,” Rivers said. “And I think you have to be better. The West is better in a lot of ways. Oklahoma is better because they’ll be healthy. I think people are forgetting about them. San Antonio has gotten a lot better. But I think we have gotten a lot better as well. And Golden State, they’re the champs. So they’ve gotten better by winning it. Their swag, their confidence now will be hard. You have to knock that off.

“But the one thing I do look at this team is you look at the last two champions, we’ve beaten the last two in the playoffs. Two years ago we beat Golden State and last year we beat San Antonio. So the last two teams that have won titles we knocked them out in the last two years as well.”

That means a lot, Rivers said.

“So (that) tells us we’re right there,” he said. “But we’re not over the hump yet. And that’s what we have to get this year.”

Cole Aldrich stoked to be with Clippers after escape from New York

Cole Aldrich

Cole Aldrich/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers

 

You have to wonder who might have been the happiest guy in the room Tuesday when the Clippers hosted a news conference at Staples Center to re-introduce DeAndre Jordan and Austin Rivers to L.A. reporters, as well as introduce newcomers Paul Pierce, Wesley Johnson, Josh Smith, Branden Dawson and Cole Aldrich.

Well, since Jordan just signed a four-year contract worth an estimated $88 to stay with the Clippers, he was probably the most stoked in a room that also included coach Doc Rivers. But Aldrich was, perhaps, almost as thrilled because he went from the rebuilding New York York Knicks to the contending Clippers in a New York minute.

“I love it,” said Aldrich, a 6-foot-11 post who will back up Jordan. “You know, going from New York last year, where we struggled, to being on a contending team, it’s going to be awesome. You’ve got a bunch of guys that are going to come in every day and work hard and have fun doing it.”

Aldrich, 26, played his college ball at Kansas. He has career scoring and rebounding averages of 3.1 and 3.4. But he’s coming off his best season, in which he averaged 5.5 points and 5.5 rebounds as well as 1.1 blocks.

Aldrich signed a two-year contract with a player option for the second season. He is slated to make the veterans’ minimum this coming season, which for him is $1,100,602.

Doc Rivers has an idea how his rotation might go, but he’s not saying

Los Angeles Clippers press conference to announce new and returning players Tuesday July 21, 2015 at Staples Center. Players from left holding jerseys are Branden Dawson, Deandre Jordan, Austin Rivers, Josh Smith, Cole Aldrich, Paul Pierce and Wesley Johnson.
Photo By  Robert Casillas / Daily Breeze

Clippers coach Doc Rivers poses with five new players and DeAndre Jordan and Austin Rivers at Tuesday’s news conference/Staff photo by Robert Casillas

 

It was Tuesday, about 12:30 p.m., and Doc Rivers had just finished playing host to a news conference at Staples Center. He was there to re-introduce DeAndre Jordan and Austin Rivers (Doc’s son), as well as five new players, to the Los Angeles media. The five included forwards Paul Pierce, Josh Smith, Wesley Johnson and Branden Dawson and center Cole Aldrich; Dawson was picked No. 56 in the June draft, the other four were signed as free agents.

The question now is, what’s the lineup and the overall rotation going to look like?

“I have an idea,” said Doc Rivers, who will be entering this third season as head coach.

With small forward Matt Barnes now gone via a trade, will Pierce start in his spot? Perhaps it will be Smith. Or Lance Stephenson, who earlier this off-season was introduced after coming over in the trade with the Charlotte Hornets for Barnes and Spencer Hawes.

Doc Rivers wouldn’t say.

“I want to make them play,” he said.

In other words, there will be a fight for that spot, as well as for playing time in general.

At 37, Pierce may be better suited to come off the bench. And since Stephenson could be used at three different positions – guard, point guard and small forward – he might be more useful as a reserve as well. That would seem to leave Smith with the best shot at starting at small forward. Smith, who can play power forward as well, could spell Blake Griffin at that spot, too.

This is not to discount Johnson, who played the past two seasons with the Lakers. He can play both small forward and shooting guard.

The obvious starters at this moment are J.J. Redick and Chris Paul at the guard spots, Jordan at center and Griffin at power forward.

DeAndre Jordan talks about his alleged discord with Chris Paul

DeAndre Jordan

DeAndre Jordan/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers

 

A beef with teammate Chris Paul was supposedly one reason why DeAndre Jordan initially accepted a deal to leave the Clippers and sign with the Dallas Mavericks. Jordan on Tuesday was asked about that when he and several other Clippers played host to a news conference at Staples Center.

“I love Chris,” said Jordan, who changed his mind and re-signed with the Clippers. “When Chris got here he changed the culture of our team. He helped me out in so many ways on and off the floor, just becoming a better player and a student of the game. I know it maybe looked that way on the floor because we were both emotional and vocal players. But when it comes down to it, we’re all criticizing each other because we want what’s best for the team.

“And I just feel like when you do butt heads on the floor, 30 seconds later it’s over because we’re all trying to win a basketball game. And I think that we let facial expressions and outside stories dictate what we believe. But Chris is like a big brother to me and other guys on this team.”

Paul allegedly was unhappy that the poor free-throw shooting Jordan did not spend enough time working on that part of his game.

Jordan has spent all seven seasons of his career with the Clippers. He signed on for four more at a total of roughly $88 million.