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#pounditFriday, September 30, 2022

Articles tagged: Los Angeles Clippers

Tyronn Lue reveals his 1 big problem with Lakers

Tyronn Lue looking on

Much like Jerry West, Tyronn Lue is a former Los Angeles Laker who went rogue by joining the rival LA Clippers and now has an axe to grind with his old team.

In a feature on the Clippers by ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk, the Clippers head coach Lue revealed his one major problem with the Lakers, whom he almost became the coach of instead in 2019. Lue said that he felt the Lakers treated him unfairly by valuing him only as a head coach for LeBron James.

“The Lakers [saw it] more so as like [I’m just] coming to coach LeBron,” Lue said. “No, I’m coming to win. I just didn’t think I was treated fairly. And I wasn’t just going to accept any offer just to get a job. I just thought I was better than that.

“The job I’ve been able to do with the team now, like, [Erik Spoelstra] was the same way in Miami,” said Lue of coming into his own with the Clippers. “It’s also made me want to be better because not having LeBron, now I got to show people that I know my stuff. Like, I can really coach. And I still got to get a lot better. But I just want to prove to people that I can coach.”

Youngmisuk adds in the story that Lakers offered Lue just a three-year, $18 million contract (he had a five-year, $35 million deal with Cleveland prior to that). The Lakers also reportedly wanted to dictate Lue’s staff. Lue ended up pulling out of negotiations, and the Lakers hire Frank Vogel instead.

The story by Youngmisuk shares some other compelling details about Lue’s journey as a coach as well as the Clippers’ journey this season. You can read it in whole here.

Lue’s bet on himself and his own abilities definitely paid off. After the failed negotiations with the Lakers, he returned to Doc Rivers’ staff on the Clippers and took over as head coach when Rivers was fired in 2020. In his first year, Lue led the Clippers to their first conference finals appearance in franchise history. Now this year, despite having nearly $100 million in salary sitting on the bench injured in the form of stars Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and Norman Powell, Lue has led a bunch of unheralded young players to the No. 8 seed in the West in a truly remarkable head coaching job.

Whereas Lue was largely seen as James’ lackey with the Cavs, Lue is now seen as one of the NBA’s most brilliant tacticians and masters of in-game adjustments. Lue has also never lost to the Lakers since becoming Clippers head coach, holding a perfect 7-0 record and making sure to rub it in their faces at times too.

Photo: 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

Clippers forward still salty about team’s collapse to Denver in bubble

Marcus Morris at a press conference

Marcus Morris must not know who Idina Menzel is because he still won’t let it go.

The LA Clippers forward spoke with ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk for a feature this week on the team and their journey. In the feature, Morris made some salty comments about the Clippers’ collapse to the Denver Nuggets in the Orlando bubble two seasons ago.

“We only lost that s— because we were in the bubble,” he said of the Denver series. “[If] we weren’t in the bubble, we’d beat the s— out of them. Put that on the record. … Guys are out of their comfort zone. Kudos to Denver.”

The Clippers, who were heavily-favored in that 2020 second-round playoff series, went up on the Nuggets 3-1 but dropped the next three consecutive games in a stunning meltdown. It was the only fully healthy season that the team has gotten thus far in the Kawhi Leonard-Paul George era.

The Orlando bubble was indeed a once-in-a-lifetime set of circumstances that some NBA teams were built for and other teams weren’t. The Clippers definitely fell in the latter category, and one of their stars even admitted to dealing with depression in the bubble. Granted, the Clippers still deserved some criticism after going up 3-1 on Denver and having double-digit leads in Games 5, 6, and 7 but blowing every single one of them.

The bubble disaster actually ended up working in the Clippers’ favor. They fired head coach Doc Rivers and replaced him with Tyronn Lue, who has been a major part of their success ever since. The Clippers also parted with veterans Lou Williams, Montrezl Harrell, and Patrick Beverley to focus on younger and more versatile players such as Norman Powell, Terance Mann, Ivica Zubac, and Amir Coffey. Now instead of folding in the face of adversity, the Clippers made the conference finals for the first time ever last year and now sit a surprising eighth in the West this year despite all their stars being sidelined for the majority of the season.

As for Morris’ bubble comments, he will now get a chance to make good on his claim. The Clippers will face those very same Nuggets on Tuesday night.

Photo: 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

Patrick Beverley has surprising revelation about end of his time with Clippers

Patrick Beverley celebrates a play

Patrick Beverley was a beloved Clipper during his time in Los Angeles, but now he is sharing something surprising about how things ended.

The Minnesota Timberwolves guard Beverley appeared this week on JJ Redick’s “The Old Man and The Three” podcast. In the episode, Beverley revealed that he felt that the Clippers made him a “disrespectful” contract offer before his departure.

“We in the Western Conference Finals, something the team has never done,” he said. “Me being there from the beginning, I’m thinking that this contract extension, I’m thinking it’s going to be easy. I walk in and they throw me a number that I felt was borderline disrespectful.”

Beverley did add though that he had an honest conversation with Clippers executive Lawrence Frank (whom Beverley called “my guy” and said that he loves to death) and that Frank told him to provide a list of teams he wanted to go to. Beverley said that Minnesota was among his top three destinations.

The two-time All-Defensive Teamer Beverley was first traded to Memphis but eventually made his way to Minnesota where he is now a key cog for the No. 7-seeded Timberwolves. The Clippers did pretty well for themselves too, getting Eric Bledsoe in the Beverley trade, then flipping Bledsoe and Justise Winslow to Portland for Norman Powell and Robert Covington.

We hesitate to say that the Clippers did Beverley dirty here. There were definite injury concerns with the 33-year-old guard, who has only appeared in 70 or more games once in his career. The Clippers also made sure to work with Beverley on a preferred destination, and it does not sound like Beverley has any bad blood towards them. But the Clippers certainly have no qualms about letting go of fan favorites, as we saw a much more drastic example of several years ago.

Photo: Nov 13, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves guard Patrick Beverley (22) enters a game against Los Angeles Clippers during the first quarter at Staples Center. The Clippers won 129-102. Mandatory Credit: Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

Clippers reportedly losing hope of Kawhi Leonard return

Kawhi Leonard in his Clippers uniform

The Los Angeles Clippers have downplayed a possible Kawhi Leonard return throughout the season, but they had not completely closed the door on him joining the team. That may be changing as the season nears its end.

The Clippers are privately beginning to lose hope in Leonard playing this season, according to Farbod Esnaashari of AllClippers. Leonard is still trying to work his way back, but the Clippers are committed to not rushing him. The fact that the team appears destined for one of the play-in games has only led to further questions regarding whether it’s even worth pushing Leonard back to action.

Leonard actually looked great this week doing pregame shooting drills, raising hopes of a potential return. The mood within the organization seems far less optimistic, though.

To be clear, this has been the Clippers’ stance publicly for some time. Part of this was probably down to managing expectations. Any optimism behind the scenes seems to be dissipating now.

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 sparks buzz with latest practice video

Paul George in his Clippers uniform

As the shorthanded LA Clippers continue to fight and scrap this season, one of their injured stars could be flying in to save the day like Han Solo on the Millennium Falcon.

Clippers forward Paul George sparked buzz on Saturday with a video of him getting shots up at practice. George has been battling a torn UCL in his right shooting elbow and has not played in roughly two-and-a-half months now. He looked pretty fluid though as he let it fly from midrange on Saturday.

Law Murray of The Athletic adds that George is only able to shoot within 17 feet right now but that his shooting display during practice left a positive impression on the coaching staff working with him. George’s Clippers teammates also sounded pretty encouraged.

The Clippers have defied the longest of odds with George, Kawhi Leonard, and Norman Powell all sidelined this season. On paper, those are their three best players. But the Clippers have won their last five consecutive games and seven of their last eight to climb their way to an improbable 34-31 record. Their 132-111 beatdown of the rival Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday was perhaps the Clippers’ signature win of the season.

George, who was averaging 24.7 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 5.5 assists a game before he went down in December, can singlehandedly elevate the ceiling of the entire team. If the positive indications we recently heard about Leonard are any hint as well, opponents may be wise to prepare for impending doom.

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

Did Tyronn Lue admit to disrespecting Lakers after game?

Tyronn Lue looking on

Tyronn Lue is now 6-0 against the rival Los Angeles Lakers since becoming the LA Clippers head coach, and after his latest win, he essentially admitted to doing it with his eyes closed.

The Clippers knocked off the Lakers by the final of 105-102 on Friday night in the first game out of the All-Star break for both teams. After the contest, Lue made some interesting comments about how his team prepared for the Lakers — they didn’t.

“We didn’t even prepare for them,” he said, per ClutchPoints’ Tomer Azarly. “We just basically worked on ourselves, our small-ball lineup, the things we needed to get better at. It’s not about the Lakers, it’s about us going forward, getting better every game.”

That sounds pretty disrespectful to admit that you didn’t even have to game-plan for an opponent and after beating them no less. While Lue is familiar with LeBron James from their time together with the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Lakers do look a little bit different these days without Anthony Davis. Even if they have struggled this season, you would expect that opposing teams would at least somewhat have to still prepare for the Lakers.

Maybe beating the Lakers just comes way too easy for Lue and the Clippers. After one of their earlier victories over the Lakers this season, Lue even had one of the Lakers’ stars admitting that they were outcoached.

Photo: 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

Clippers’ Marcus Morris had funny shade for Lakers after beating them

Marcus Morris was feeling a little shady after winning the Battle of Los Angeles on Thursday night.

Morris’ LA Clippers won a thriller against the rival Lakers, winning 111-110 in a game that came down to the very final possession. Morris did his part though, scoring 29 points on six three-pointers, including a huge go-ahead triple with less than 20 seconds remaining.

After the win, Morris was asked what it meant to get victories over teams like the Lakers and the Philadelphia 76ers despite not being favored to win.

“I mean s—, both them teams is pretty average from what I’ve seen,” he said, per ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk. “I don’t see them just being great teams.”

The Clippers beat the No. 3 seed 76ers back on Jan. 21, so that comment probably doesn’t sting as much. But Morris’ shade for the Lakers was a lot fresher and also a lot more accurate. The loss dropped the Lakers to 25-28, which is ninth in the West. The Lakers also now have the 19th-best record out of 30 teams in the NBA, so they are actually below average technically.

In any case, the Clippers have now won their last five consecutive matchups against the Lakers and 30 of the last 37 overall. That means that Morris can continue to talk his junk, just like he often does when the Clippers win.

Photo: 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

Report: Clippers making several big names available for trade

Steve Ballmer at a press conference

The LA Clippers may be ready to sell like Amazon on Cyber Monday.

Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer reported Monday that the Clippers are open to trading Eric Bledsoe, Marcus Morris, and Serge Ibaka, calling them “the most available” trade candidates on the team. Those three very well-known veteran names, albeit all of whom are now in their 30s.

The Clippers are one of the most interesting clubs to watch before the Feb. 10 trade deadline. They still have little sense of when star players Kawhi Leonard and Paul George might be back (though one teammate recently offered an update). But even without their franchise players, the Clippers are still hanging around and are currently 26-26 on the year. O’Connor notes that the Clippers do not own their 2022 first-round pick either because of the George trade, giving them no incentive to bottom out.

That said, the Clippers have gotten excellent contributions this season from players still in their early to mid-20s like Luke Kennard, Amir Coffey, Ivica Zubac, Justise Winslow, Terance Mann, Isaiah Hartenstein, as well as rookie Brandon Boston Jr. The team also has financial incentive to trade some of their aforementioned veterans. Shedding bigger contracts and focusing on younger players who have already proven that they can get wins may be the best move for the Clippers as they wait out Leonard and George and try to stay competitive at the same time.

Photo: Aug 18, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer at press conference at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

LaMelo Ball’s trash talk against Clippers backfired

LaMelo Ball makes a hand gesture

LaMelo Ball is one of the most exciting young players in the league, in part because of his supreme confidence in his own abilities. On Sunday against the LA Clippers though, that backfired on him a bit.

Clippers forward Justise Winslow blocked Ball’s shot during the first half and stared Ball down a bit.

After the game, Winslow said that Ball was talking some trash to him following the block.

“He kinda was just like, ‘Don’t poke the bear,'” said Winslow, per Mirjam Swanson of Southern California News Group. “Melo was like, ‘I’ll go get ten in a row.’ And I was like, ‘Go do it then.'”

Winslow’s block came at the 6:16 mark of the second quarter. Ball then went scoreless for the rest of the period, going 0-for-2 from the field. Ball did go on to score 14 points in the second half. But most of those points came with Winslow on the bench. The Clippers ended up winning in a 115-90 blowout.

Winslow did add in his postgame comments that he had “a lot of respect” for Ball. But it looks like he got the better of the young Hornets star on Sunday.

Ball is an excellent player who is averaging 19.4 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 7.6 assists per game this year. He is the unquestioned leader of the Hornets and is putting up even better numbers than he did last season when he won Rookie of the Year. Ball’s confidence is also a major part of his success. But sometimes, that confidence can go south on Ball like we saw on Sunday and like we have also seen before that.

Photo: Jan 8, 2022; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball (2) reacts after making a three point basket against the Milwaukee Bucks during the second period at the Spectrum Center. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

2 NBA teams have interest in John Wall if he is bought out?

John Wall in a suit

John Wall has not played at all this season, but there are some teams that reportedly would have interest in him if he becomes a free agent.

Wall was traded by the Wizards to the Rockets in Dec. 2020. He played in 40 games for them that season before the sides agreed it would be best for him to move on. He hasn’t played at all this season.

But in a column published on Wednesday, NBA reporter Marc Stein said two teams would have interest in Wall if he becomes available.

Stein says the Los Angeles Clippers and Miami Heat would have interest in Wall.

The Rockets would have to reach a buyout agreement with Wall for him to become a free agent. Wall is making $44.3 million this season and set to make $47.3 million next season.

Few teams would have interest in trading for Wall on that kind of salary. His best shot at playing for another team would be reaching a buyout and taking less money.

When he did play last season, Wall averaged 20.6 points and 6.9 assists per game. This is the second time we’ve heard him linked to the Clippers.

Photo: 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