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#pounditFriday, September 30, 2022

Articles tagged: Los Angeles Clippers

Clippers forward causes stir with tweet about his future

Marcus Morris at a press conference

Feb 17, 2020; Lawrence, Kansas, USA; Kansas Jayhawks former player Marcus Morris speaks to media at his jersey retiring press conference before the game against the Iowa State Cyclones at Allen Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

One LA Clippers player may be giving us a head start on F5 season.

Clippers forward Marcus Morris Sr. raised some eyebrows on Tuesday with a tweet indicating a desire to play with his twin brother Markieff again.

“Damn I would love to be back on the same team with bro!” tweeted Marcus.

The two brothers are very close. They played together in college at Kansas and then were selected with back-to-back picks in the 2011 NBA Draft. The two then went on to be teammates on the Phoenix Suns from 2013 to 2015 and even got into trouble together while there. They have not been on the same team since however.

After a lost season with the Miami Heat where he missed four months of action thanks to a cheap shot by Nikola Jokic, Markieff is about to become an unrestricted free agent. Marcus, meanwhile, is still under contract for two more seasons. That raises the possibility that a partnership could happen again on the Clippers, should they sign Markieff this summer.

But the Clippers, who already have close to a fully-loaded roster for next season, may not have much use for Markieff. In fact, even Marcus himself might be expendable since the Clippers have enough complementary shot-makers like Norman Powell, Reggie Jackson, and Luke Kennard. Could the Clippers foreseeably trade Marcus in a salary-saving measure, leading to Markieff following his brother wherever Marcus lands?

We probably won’t have any concrete answers for at least another several days until NBA free agency officially begins. But Marcus has been on shaky ground with the Clippers before, and this latest tweet of his may lead to a further summer of speculation.

Key Clippers free agent hinting at return to team?

Tyronn Lue looking on

Nov 19, 2021; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; LA Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue looks on against New Orleans Pelicans during the second half at Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Christmas may be coming a bit early for the LA Clippers this year.

Clippers star forward Paul George shared a photo to Instagram on Monday of a workout that he had with his teammates. Included in the picture were Isaiah Hartenstein, Terance Mann, Jason Preston, Brandon Boston Jr., Robert Covington, and Reggie Jackson.

Possibly the most noteworthy of all those players was Hartenstein, who was also wearing a Clippers shirt in the photo. Several Clippers writers believed that the presence of Hartenstein, who is an unrestricted free agent this summer, was significant.

Hartenstein, 24, quietly emerged as a massive rotation piece for the Clippers this past season. The seven-footer was their best big off the bench, providing defense, rebounding, playmaking, and an automatic floater to help anchor the second unit. Hartenstein even shot the three-ball at an absurd 46.7 percent (albeit on low volume).

The Clippers have championship aspirations for next season and were even just linked to a potential trade for one big-name star. But bringing back a steady rock like Hartenstein would be one underrated way for them to increase their chances of taking home the Larry O’Brien Trophy.

Report: 3 teams interested in Kyrie Irving if he leaves Nets

Kyrie Irving giving an interview

Kyrie Irving is facing an uncertain future with the Brooklyn Nets, and several teams are reportedly keeping a close eye on the situation in case the seven-time All-Star becomes available.

Irving has until June 29 to decide if he wants to exercise his $36.9 million player option for next season. Shams Charania of The Athletic reported on Monday that Irving and the Nets are at an “impasse” that could result in Irving becoming a free agent. Should that happen, at least three teams are expected to have interest.

Sources told Charania that the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers and New York Knicks are among the teams that could look to add Irving. Both the Lakers and Clippers would need Irving to opt in with the Nets in order to facilitate a sign-and-trade, as they do not have salary cap flexibility. The Knicks could technically clear enough space if they part ways with certain players.

The Lakers are obviously the most intriguing of the aforementioned teams. Irving and LeBron James have had their differences in the past. They won a championship together with the Cleveland Cavaliers, but Irving eventually decided he did not want to play with LeBron anymore. Kyrie has made it clear on numerous occasions that he did not like being the second option behind James. Why would that be any different now?

While Irving remaining in Brooklyn is still the most likely scenario, teams clearly feel there is a decent chance he will leave.

Surprising NBA team listed as favorite for Kyrie Irving if Nets trade him

Kyrie Irving wearing his Nets uniform

Feb 1, 2020; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) during the second half against the Washington Wizards at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

If Kyrie Irving has indeed worn out his welcome with another NBA team, the sports betting world likes one particular landing spot for him.

Online sportsbook shared odds for Irving’s next team if the Brooklyn Nets decide to part ways with him this offseason. The LA Clippers are surprisingly listed as the favorites at +125. The Houston Rockets, armed with a plethora of young assets plus the contract of John Wall to potentially match salaries with, have the second-best odds at +300.

Odds aside, the Clippers seem like an unlikely landing spot for Irving. They are already set for next season with their superstar duo of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George and have enough supporting shotmakers such as Reggie Jackson, Marcus Morris Sr., and Norman Powell to flank them with too. While the Clippers are thin at point guard beyond Jackson, bringing in Irving would threaten to upset the ecosystem they have built these last couple of seasons.

In any case, a Nets trade (or perhaps a sign-and-trade) of Irving, who has a player option for the 2022-23 season, is looking more and more possible by the day. It may also be appealing for Irving to reunite with his ex-Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue and compete against LeBron James in L.A.

Likely landing spot for John Wall revealed

John Wall looking on

Nov 8, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards guard John Wall (2) walks on the court after the game against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

John Wall did not play at all for the Houston Rockets this year, and he clearly is not in their future plans. The five-time All-Star is expected to land with a new team in the near future, and one Western Conference team has been mentioned as a potential suitor.

Zack Buckley of Bleacher Report recently predicted that the Los Angeles Clippers will try to acquire Wall this summer. The Clippers are coming off a season in which they missed the playoffs, and one of their obvious needs is point guard.

Wall has a $47.4 million player option for 2022-23 that he is all but certain to exercise. Given his age (31) and injury history, that is a massive sum. After Wall opts in, the Rockets will then try to trade him or — more likely — reach a buyout agreement.

If Wall is bought out, he will become an unrestricted free agent. There is at least one other team that might have interest.

Wall averaged 20.6 points and 6.9 assists in 40 games with Houston two seasons ago. The Clippers did not have a true backup point guard behind Reggie Jackson this season, instead relying on wings like Terance Mann and Norman Powell or even big men like Isaiah Hartenstein to run the offense for the second unit. If healthy, Wall could fill that role for them.

John Wall linked to 2 notable potential landing spots

John Wall looking on

Nov 8, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards guard John Wall (2) walks on the court after the game against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

John Wall may be getting rewarded for his season-long NBA exile.

Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer reported on Thursday that all signs point to the ex-All-Star point guard Wall revisiting buyout talks with the Houston Rockets if they are unable to find a trade for him by the NBA Draft in June. Fischer adds that both the LA Clippers and the Miami Heat have been mentioned by league sources as strong possible landing spots for Wall.

The 31-year-old Wall did not play all season for the rebuilding Rockets. He was also unable to secure a trade or a buyout from the team because of the bloated amount still left on Wall’s contract. Either might be more feasible now come this summer however since Wall will only have one year left on his deal (albeit for $47.4 million).

The Clippers, who should be one of the title favorites next season, would be an excellent fit for Wall. They did not have a true backup point guard behind Reggie Jackson this season, instead relying on wings like Terance Mann and Norman Powell or even big men like Isaiah Hartenstein to run the offense for the second unit. The Heat are a bit more set at point guard with Kyle Lowry, Tyler Herro, and Gabe Vincent. But they are another top contender in the East and may be appealing to Wall for a number of other reasons too.

Reggie Jackson has bold comment about Kawhi Leonard injury

Kawhi Leonard in a warmup shirt

The Los Angeles Clippers are heading for the playoffs without Kawhi Leonard, but Reggie Jackson cannot help but imagine where they might be with him.

Leonard injured his ACL in last season’s playoffs against the Utah Jazz, and the Clippers lost the Western Conference Finals without him. Despite the loss of Leonard, the Clippers pushed the Phoenix Suns to six games, and were arguably within a few plays of advancing anyway.

For Jackson, the team’s point guard, it is not easy to look back and wonder what might have been.

“I’m not saying we’d be champs if he never got hurt,” Jackson said Friday, via Mark Medina of “But just with the way I’ve seen him approach the game, I was already in my mind envisioning a title.”

Does Jackson have a point? It’s difficult to say, but the Clippers surely would have had a better chance. They simply looked to be running out of gas against the Suns. Even a healthy Clippers team would have had a tough matchup with the Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA Finals, though.

Jackson probably should not get his hopes up for this year’s playoffs. Leonard does not sound extremely close to a return.

Photo: Jun 8, 2021; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; LA Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard (2) warms up prior to game one in the second round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs. at Vivint Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Kawhi Leonard had request for Clippers reporters

Kawhi Leonard in uniform

Kawhi Leonard was seen working out at the Los Angeles Clippers’ practice facility on Tuesday, and he had a request for the reporters in attendance.

Leonard was messing around before the team’s practice and then started to shoot. He was practicing some free throws, elbow jumpers and 3-pointers.

There was no video of Leonard shooting. So Cal News Group’s Mirjam Swanson shared that Leonard requested reporters not record him practicing while shooting.

Leonard is notoriously private, so that probably is part of why he didn’t want any video out. He also probably didn’t want any hype built up, which would result in pressure for him to return to action.

Leonard is recovering from a torn ACL in his right knee. A report earlier this year said there was optimism about Leonard returning this season. But time for him to return is very much running out.

Photo: Feb 26, 2020; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard (2) against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Paul George set to return Tuesday from elbow injury

Paul George in a Clippers jersey

The LA Clippers are finally getting Paul George back after a lengthy absence.

George is set to play on Tuesday for the Clippers against the Utah Jazz so long as all goes well in pregame warmups.

George has been out since late December with an elbow injury. He has a torn UCL but opted for rest rather than surgery on his elbow.

The 31-year-old forward is in his third season with the Clippers but has played in just 26 games this season. He is averaging 24.7 points, 7.1 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 2.0 steals per game.

The Clippers badly need George back. They have lost five in a row and are now 36-39, which has them 8th in the West. They’re 8.5 games behind the Denver Nuggets for the 6th spot. If they can’t get to the 6th spot, they would end up in the play-in, which is for spots 7-10.

Photo: Feb 26, 2020; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Los Angeles Clippers guard Paul George (13) against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Doc Rivers has interesting comments about former team Clippers

Doc Rivers in a suit

Doctor Rivers is offering an interesting medical diagnosis about his time with his old team.

Speaking with reporters this week before Friday’s matchup against the LA Clippers, Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doc Rivers made some noteworthy comments about the Clippers, the last team he coached before the 76ers.

“Listen, I was with [that] organization for [seven] years,” said Rivers, per Keith Pompey of the Philly Inquirer. “But a lot happened in that [seven] years. I left [the organization] a place of destination.”

“We were the laughingstock [when I arrived],” Rivers continued. “‘No one wanted to play for the Clippers.’ We heard all of that. ‘If there’s a free-agent war versus the Lakers, don’t try.’ That [transformation] is something that I will always be proud of. The Clippers now are in the NBA, and I feel like I played a major part in that.”

Rivers indeed deserves his credit for the good that he did for the Clippers. He led them to 48-plus wins in six of his seven seasons and also masterfully guided the franchise through the turbulence of the Donald Sterling scandal. Winning the Kawhi Leonard sweepstakes over the rival Los Angeles Lakers in 2019 was a major coup as well.

Detractors will argue however that the Clippers were already a 56-win team under Vinny del Negro before Rivers arrived in 2013. Rivers also inherited a roster that already had Blake Griffin and Chris Paul, whom many will point to as bigger reasons for the Clippers’ success. Furthermore, there is the obvious barb of Rivers’ playoff shortcomings, having never gotten the Clippers out of the second round.

The correct answer is probably somewhere in the middle. Rivers was a fine leader for the Clippers whom players respected and who gave the franchise a sense of legitimacy they were previously lacking. But it was also the correct decision for the Clippers to move on from him in 2020 and hire Tyronn Lue, who led them to their first conference finals berth ever in his first season and is now outperforming despite major injury absences in his second season. Rivers was also probably no longer tenable for the Clippers considering his beef with one of their current stars.

Photo: Greg M. Cooper-USA Today Sports