Report: Clippers, forward Paul Pierce agree to terms on 3-year deal

Paul Pierce

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

 

The Los Angeles Clippers and small forward Paul Pierce have come to terms on a 3-year deal that will pay him nearly $10, YahooSports.com has reported.

The 6-foot-7 Pierce, who will be 38 when the 2015-16 season begins, has been in the NBA for 17 years. The Inglewood High alum has a career scoring average of 20.7 and a career rebounding average of 5.8.

Pierce played the first 15 years of his career with the Boston Celtics before moving first to Brooklyn and then to Washington this past season. He was coached by current Clippers head coach Doc Rivers in Boston.

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Broadcaster Ralph Lawler to get a star on Hollywood Walk of Fame

Ralph Lawler To Get Star On Walk Of Fame

Ralph Lawler/Photo by Anwar Torres, Clippers.com

Longtime broadcaster Ralph Lawler will receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the team announced Monday.

Lawler just completed his 36th season with the Clippers

“This is one of the great thrills of a very long and rewarding career,” Lawler said in a statement. “I think it is also a further indication of the Clippers’ ascending position in the community. It’s a great day for my family and me.”

Doc Rivers, coach and president of basketball operations, was stoked to hear the news.

“Ralph loves this game and the Clippers,” Rivers said. “We are lucky to experience his enthusiasm and knowledge every night. I’m excited for him to broadcast Clippers games for many years to come.”

A date for Lawler’s big day has yet to be set.

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Doc Rivers says he has a lot more work to do to spruce up his roster

Lance Stephenson at Thursday’s news conference/Staff photo by Scott Varley

 

Doc Rivers, coach and president of basketball operations, on Thursday wanted to make sure everyone knew he is by no means done trying to spruce up his roster. Rivers played host to a news conference to introduce Lance Stephenson, acquired in a trade Monday that saw the Clippers ship Matt Barnes and Spencer Hawes to Charlotte.

Speaking to a large group of reporters at the team’s headquarters in Playa Vista, Rivers – though a bit vague – indicated as much.

“Well, we need to add players,” Rivers said. “Obviously, we just gave two for one, so that means one more. We still have a lot of work to do. I don’t want to say what
positions, I think it’s pretty easy to figure out. But we’re going to look for the best players. We don’t really care about the position as much as others. We feel like we have to get deeper, we have to get more athletic, we have to add toughness, we have to be a better defensive team.

“Offensively, we were not broke last year. Defensively, we were in the middle of the pack, even though in the second half we were really good. But we want to be a consistent defensive rebounding team that can score.”

The Clippers allowed 100.1 points this past season, 16th in the league.

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Clippers set to introduce Lance Stephenson to Los Angeles media

Lance Stephenson

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

 

The Clippers on Thursday afternoon will introduce newly acquired Lance Stephenson to the Los Angeles media at a news conference.

Doc Rivers, Clippers coach and president of basketball operations, on Monday traded small forward Matt Barnes and forward/center Spencer Hawes to the Charlotte Hornets for Stephenson, who at 6-foot-5 can play both guard positions and small forward.

Stephenson, just 24, played his first four seasons with the Indiana Pacers. His final season with them was his statistical best as he averaged 13.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 4.6 assists in 2013-14.

Stephenson signed with Charlotte after that season, but he did not follow up his previous season with anything similar. He averaged 8.2 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.9 assists in his only season there. He started just 25 of 61 games in which he played.

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Clippers to unveil new look in and around Los Angeles on Thursday

Members of the Clippers family on Thursday will visit several locations around the greater Los Angeles area to meet with fans and unveil their new look with a food and t-shirt giveaway.

The Clippers will have a presence at Sprinkles Cupcakes in downtown Los Angeles (735 S. Figueroa) from 8 a.m. to noon with owner Steve Ballmer appearing from 10-10:45 a.m. T-shirts and cupcakes will be distributed.

The Clippers will be at Pink’s Hot Dogs (709 N. La Brea) from noon to 2 p.m. with coach Doc Rivers and longtime broadcaster Ralph Lawler buying lunch for fans from noon-1 p.m.

Also, Gillian Zucker, president of business operations, will meet with fans at L.A. Metro (800 N. Alameda St.) from 6-7 a.m. with the team presence beginning at 4 a.m. and lasting until 8 a.m.

The Clippers will have people at a total of 32 locations around the city. Other prominent locations and times include:

6 – 8:30 am     Stauffer Middle School                       Lamond Murray (7 am – 8 am)

11985 Old River School Road            Clippers Spirit Dance Team

Downey, CA 90242

 

5 – 6 am          American Airlines Terminal/LAX        Clippers Spirit Dance Team

1 World Way, Los Angeles CA, 90045

 

8 am – 1 pm    Universal Studios                                Gary Grant (10:30 am – 12 pm)

100 Universal City Plaza                    Pooh Richardson (10:30 am – 12 pm)

Universal City, CA 91608                   Clippers Spirit Dance Team

(Fountain near Saddle Ranch)

 

9 am – 2 pm    Santa Monica Pier                              Olden Polynice (11:30 am – 12:30 pm)

380 Santa Monica Pier                       Darrick Martin (11:30 am – 12:30 pm)

Santa Monica, CA 90401                   Clippers Spirit Dance Team

(Pacific Park basketball game – access by walking down pier)

 

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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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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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Magic Johnson says Clippers’ loss to Rockets will haunt them forever

Magic Johnson

Magic Johnson/Associated Press file photo by Reed Saxon

 

Magic Johnson helped play host to a Los Angeles news conference Monday to announce the intention to build a 22,000-seat stadium that would house the expansion Los Angeles Football Club that will play in the MLS. Johnson is one of several in the ownership group.

During his time with reporters, Johnson was asked about the Clippers falling in seven games to the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference semifinals. Never shy to speak his mind, Johnson said quite a bit.

“Well, I was disappointed because Chris Paul is my good friend, Doc Rivers is a good friend and I want them to win and get the monkey off their backs,” Johnson said.

He then talked about Game 6, when the Clippers blew a 19-point lead late in the third quarter. Not only did they lose that one 119-107 at home at  Staples Center, they missed their best chance to close out the series and advance to the conference finals for the first time in franchise history. The Clippers lost Game 7 by a 113-100 count Sunday in Houston.

“I thought they missed the opportunity in Game 6,” Johnson said. “You gotta close out at home. You can’t allow it to go to a Game 7. If you think about all the Lakers heydays, when we had closeout games and we had them in the Forum or Staples Center with Kobe (Bryant) and Shaq (O’Neal) or with my Showtime Lakers, we closed out. So when you have your opportunity, you gotta close out.

“I remember when we didn’t, in terms of we had the Celtics in seven games and we lost there, that will haunt us forever and this loss will haunt the Clippers forever because they had their opportunity up 20 in the third quarter. You gotta win that game in the Staples Center. So we’ll see what happens.”

Johnson intimated he’s hopeful the Clippers can get over the hump.

“I wish them well because I want so bad for Chris Paul to have his opportunity to play in the championship,” he said. “I want that for him. He’s meant a lot to the league, but also to the fans here in Los Angeles because this is a Lakers town, but we like Chris Paul. We do. We love the way he plays, his leadership.

Blake (Griffin) has really grown. You saw him grow up this season and really do some wonderful things. But at the same time, it’s going to be tough for them to swallow this.”

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Clippers could use better shooting from beyond the arc in Game 7

Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan don’t look too happy here during the second half of Game 6, a 119-107 loss to the Rockets on Thursday that resulted in a Game 7 for Sunday back in Houston/Photo by Jae C. Hong, Associated Press

 

The Clippers shot 37.6 percent from 3-point range during the regular season, third-best in the NBA. They have shot just 25.7 percent and 23.3 percent from beyond the arc in the past two games of the Western Conference semifinals against the Rockets – both Clippers losses.

Coach Doc Rivers on Saturday was asked specifically how hopeful he is that will improve in Game 7 on Sunday at 12:30 at Toyota Center in Houston. He then touched on the fourth quarter of Thursday’s Game 6, when the Clippers shot just 4 of 22 from the field – 2 of 9 from 3-point range – in their 119-107 defeat.

“I mean, we’ve had open shots,” he said. “You look at that fourth-quarter debacle, I mean, we had a lot of open looks. It’s funny, live I thought we did. And on film, it was even better than I thought.

“Not only did we have open looks, for the most part, we had them by the guys that we wanted to and they just didn’t go in. The one thing that will never change is it’s a make-miss league. If you make them, you’re better.”

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Doc Rivers doesn’t think Clippers will play Game 7 with Game 6 hangover

Clippers head coach Doc Rivers walks off the court with Chris Paul after their 119-107 loss to the Rockets. (Photo by Michael Owen Baker/L.A. Daily News)

Doc Rivers and Chris Paul get ready to exit the court at Staples Center after the Clippers fell apart in Game 6 and lost 119-107 to the Houston Rockets/Staff photo by Michael Owen Baker, Los Angeles Daily News

Doc Rivers met with reporters before practice Saturday at Toyota Center in Houston ahead of Game 7 against the Rockets on Sunday at 12:30 p.m.

Not surprisingly, he was asked about the proverbial hangover his team might be feeling after falling apart in Game 6, when the Rockets outscored the Clippers 51-20 over the final 15 minutes to emerge with a 119-107 victory to force Game 7.

“Whether we have a hangover or not, I don’t think so,” Rivers said. “That’s all I can say. I mean, I don’t know, obviously. But I don’t think so. I think the guys, yesterday, they were still beat up a little bit. Then we got through the film and, you know, if you looked at it rationally and that’s what I try to do, if you look at it for three quarters, we were fantastic. And so you go through the bad stuff and then you move on to the good stuff and I think that gives them some kind of comfort.”

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