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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Clippers re-sign guard Austin Rivers to two-year deal worth $6.4 million

Austin Rivers

Austin Rivers/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers

 

The Los Angeles Clippers on Monday announced they have re-signed guard Austin Rivers to a two-year contract and signed center Cole Aldrich to a one-year contract with a player option for a second year.

The Clippers last week re-signed center DeAndre Jordan and signed small forwards Paul Pierce and Wesley Johnson.

Austin Rivers, son of Clippers coach Doc Rivers, signed for a total $6.4 million, according to a league source. That’s the most the Clippers could pay him.

The younger Rivers came to the Clippers during the 2014-15 season in a three-team deal with the Boston Celtics and Phoenix Suns. He had just been traded from New Orleans to Boston and never had to report to Boston as he was then dealt to the Clippers.

Rivers averaged 7.1 points and 1.7 assists in 41 games for the Clippers after coming over in mid-January. He upped his level of play in the post-season when he averaged 8.4 points and 1.1 assists playing in all 14 games.

Austin Rivers was given a lot of credit for helping the Clippers win Game 4 of their first-round series at San Antonio by scoring 16 points on 7 of 8 shooting off the bench. That victory tied that series 2-2 and came on the heels of a 100-73 Game 3 loss at San Antonio.

Then, in the Western Conference semifinals, Rivers scored 25 points on 10 of 13 shooting to help Los Angeles to a 124-99 victory over Houston in Game 3 at Staples Center.

Rivers, who is 6-foot-4, played one season of college ball at Duke. He played the first 2 1/2 seasons of his pro career with New Orleans. He’ll be 23 on Aug. 1.

Aldrich, who is 6-11, has been in the NBA for five seasons. His contract calls for the veterans’ minimum. In his case, that’s $1,100,602 for the upcoming season. He played his first two seasons for Oklahoma City, played for Houston and Sacramento in 2012-13 and for the New York Knicks the past two seasons.

His most productive season came in 2014-15 when he averaged 5.5 points and 5.5 rebounds in 61 games with New York, starting 16 and averaging 16.0 minutes.
Aldrich, 26, was drafted 11th overall in the 2010 draft. He played his college ball at Kansas. He was named Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year in 2009 and second-team All-America in 2010.

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DeAndre Jordan takes to Twitter to apologize to Mavs owner Mark Cuban

DeAndre Jordan has taken some heat for not calling Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban to tell him he had changed his mind about signing with the Mavericks to re-sign with the Clippers.

Jordan has taken to Twitter to apologize to Cuban for the way things end up going.

 

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Clippers make the signing of small forward Paul Pierce official

Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce/Photo courtesy of Washington Wizards

 

The Clippers on Friday officially announced the signing of small forward Paul Pierce. The contract is reported to be for three years for roughly $10 million.

Pierce is being reunited with Clippers coach Doc Rivers, who was the head coach at Boston from 2004-13. Pierce began his career with the Celtics in 1998 and played for them for 15 seasons before playing for the Brooklyn Nets in 2013-14 and the Washington Wizards this past season.

Rivers and Pierce won an NBA title together in 2008.

Pierce, who is 6-foot-7, has career scoring and rebounding averages of 20.7 and 5.8, respectively. He averaged 11.9 points and 4.0 rebounds in 2014-15.

Pierce is 37 and will be 38 on Oct. 13. He prepped at Inglewood High.

It’s the third signing this week for the Clippers. DeAndre Jordan re-signed on Thursday, and Wesley Johnson also signed on Thursday.

Johnson averaged 9.1 and 9.9 points the past two seasons, respectively, for the Lakers. Johnson, a 6-7 small forward, will turn 28 on Saturday.

 

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Mark Cuban details Wednesday’s events from his perspective

Mark Cuban

Mark Cuban/AP file photo by Carolyn Kaster

 

Here is a message from Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban from his Cyber Dust account as transcribed by The Sporting News. It details what Cuban says transpired from his part on Wednesday as he tried – to no avail – to speak with DeAndre Jordan, who eventually backed out of a verbally agreed to contract with the Mavericks to re-sign with the Clippers. Cuban’s message seemed a response to ESPN reporter Chris Broussard, who Wednesday tweeted that Cuban was driving around Houston on Wednesday, calling people to try to find out where Jordan lived.

 

 

Dear Mavs fans,

After all the nonsense coming from an ESPN employee on twitter, I thought I would provide the events of the day on Tuesday.

Through all of Monday we were texting back and forth discussing players available, the amount of cap room we had left. Who our staff liked. Who he liked. How excited he was.

Then on Tuesday the communications basically stopped and we started hearing rumblings from multiple people that something was up.

So I flew down to Houston and got a room at the galleria, which is just a few minutes from his house I had my driver take me to his house. It’s inside a small gated community but the gate was wide open. So we drove in and I literally walked up to his door.

There was no one home. So I texted him saying that I was there. I know something is up. Let’s talk. He texted me that he was on a date.

I told him to have fun. I wasn’t in a rush, that I was happy to come by there and say hi or if he wanted to make the date fun, take them to Dallas for a night out.

He didn’t respond.

After about 10 mintues I went back to the hotel. I wasn’t going to sit in front of his house. I didn’t think that was right.

When I got back to the hotel I texted him that I wasn’t in front of his house. Have fun on his date and we will talk.

He hit me back immediately saying thanks.

He knew I was in town. He knew I was close by. I knew something was up. I was getting the same reports everyone else was.

I also knew his agents were coming to town. It made sense that he would talk to them and worst case, even if he was having second thoughts the agent would be able to give me updates.

Like any big career move it’s natural to have second thoughts. So while I was concerned, I still wasn’t worried. SO I went to bed.

More to come.

And for those who care. I like this medium because it’s like having a face to face conversation. I can say what I want. No trolls. I can reach any size audience. And respond to people easily.

Broussard on Friday morning apologized for his Wednesday post on his TwitLonger account:

“Regarding my Wednesday report: I should have attempted to contact Mark Cuban before I reported what my sources were telling me. I always try to carry myself with honestly and integrity both personally and professionally. I recognize that I tweeted hastily, I’m sorry for it, and I will learn from my mistake.”

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Doc Rivers likes the moratorium period just the way it is now

DeAndre Jordan

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

 

Free agents could be offered contracts July 1. But they couldn’t sign them until the clock struck midnight on July 9 Eastern time.

DeAndre Jordan on Friday, July 3, verbally agreed to a 4-year contract with the Dallas Mavericks. He backed out of that late Wednesday night and at 12:01 Eastern time, he re-signed with the Clippers.

During a conference call Thursday, coach Doc Rivers was asked if he thought the moratorium time between when players could accept and then sign contracts should be changed. Rivers at first was funny.

“I think it’s great now,” he said. “I mean, what kind of a question is that?”

Then he got serious.

“I don’t know,” he said. “I do think guys need time. People, you know, they make this decision and make it seem like it’s so easy for anybody to make. These are career decisions that young people are making, and career financial decisions people are making. If the ebb and flow goes back and forth where a guy decides and then undecides and then changes his mind and goes back, that’s life.

“It happens every day in business, and it happens in our business. The difference, if you’re the team the guy committed to first, it’s a tough seven days. I’ve been through that; or eight days, or whatever it is.”

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Doc Rivers not worried about scorn DeAndre Jordan could face

DeAndre Jordan

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

 

In this world of haters – both those attending sporting events as well as those on Twitter – one has to wonder how much disdain DeAndre Jordan is going to face in the upcoming season as he and the Clippers make their way around the league. After all, Jordan did back out of a contract to which he verbally agreed with the Dallas Mavericks in order to re-sign with the Clippers.

Coach Doc Rivers on Thursday during a conference call said he is not worried about that.

“No, I think he gets heckled enough anyway,” Rivers said. “I don’t think we’re worried about that. When you’re on the road, you’re probably going to get booed and heckled as a group and the better you are, the more it’s going to happen.

“Listen, I played for the Knicks back when we were the bad boys of physicality. I played with the Celtics, which, other than the Boston people, people don’t love. That’s part of the game. I’m sure there will be some. There will be some at me and at Chris (Paul) and at Jamal (Crawford) and DJ and at Blake (Griffin) for whatever other reasons. That’s just sports. But that’s separate than the haters.”

Rivers talked about the social media aspect of all this. Jordan has taken his share of heat on Twitter since changing his mind and leaving the Mavericks and their owner – Mark Cuban – out in the cold.

“I think what the internet has done is make a lot of people brave because they’re faceless,” Rivers said. “Growing up in the league, when I grew up, everyone that wrote something was there every day. That’s why I appreciate all the beat guys that are there every day. They don’t have to agree with me every day, they have to take my crap at times, but at least they show their face.”

But, seriously, can you imagine what it’s going to be like the first time the Clippers play at Dallas? Wow!

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