Grizzlies trade Eric Bledsoe to Clippers for Patrick Beverley, Rajon Rondo and Daniel Oturu

The Memphis Grizzlies have acquired guards Patrick Beverley and Rajon Rondo and center Daniel Oturu in a trade with the Los Angeles Clippers for guard Eric Bledsoe.

“We are excited to add Eric, a strong, versatile guard and an established playmaker who can attack the paint and defend multiple positions,” said Clippers president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank. “Eric started his career with the Clippers and we’re delighted to bring him back.”

Bledsoe has appeared in 702 games (539 starts) and owns career averages of 14.0 points, 3.9 rebounds and 4.7 assists in 28.0 minutes during his 11-year NBA career with the New Orleans Pelicans, Milwaukee Bucks, Phoenix Suns and Clippers. Selected 18th overall in the 2010 NBA Draft out of the University of Kentucky, the 31-year-old averaged 12.2 points, 3.4 rebounds and 3.8 assists in 29.7 minutes over 71 games (70 starts) for New Orleans last season.

“It’s always difficult to part with people we care about, respect and admire,” said Frank. “Pat has been a pillar of our team for the past four years. He helped build our foundation with his vocal leadership and competitive spirit. Pat played a vital role in some of our most significant achievements. We are grateful for his presence and for the contributions of Rajon, a premier orchestrator, and Daniel, a promising young center. We wish them the best.”

Per the Los Angeles Times, “in addition to dumping the expiring contracts owed to Beverley and Rondo off their books, the Clippers aren’t locked in long-term with Bledsoe; only $3.9 million of his $19 million salary next season is guaranteed. His addition was a bet on the belief that the Clippers’ ability to spread the floor with three-point shooting will play to Bledsoe’s strengths by opening driving lanes to the rim.”

Beverley (6-1, 180) has appeared in 468 games (384 starts) and holds career averages of 8.8 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.14 steals in 27.6 minutes in his nine-year NBA career with Houston and the Clippers. Selected by the Los Angeles Lakers with the 42nd pick in the 2009 NBA Draft out of the University of Arkansas, the 33-year-old Chicago native competed in 37 games (34 starts) and averaged 7.5 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 22.5 minutes for the Clippers last season.

Rondo (6-1, 180) has appeared in 918 games (732 starts) and owns career averages of 10.0 points, 4.6 rebounds, 8.1 assists and 1.62 steals in 30.4 minutes in his 15-year NBA career with Boston, Dallas, Sacramento, Chicago, New Orleans, the Los Angeles Lakers, Atlanta and the Clippers. Drafted by Phoenix with the 21st overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft out of the University of Kentucky, the 35-year-old Louisville native split last season with the Hawks and Clippers and averaged 5.4 points, 2.4 rebounds and 4.4 assists in 17.1 minutes in 45 games (three starts).

Oturu (6-10, 240) appeared in 30 games off the bench and averaged 1.8 points and 1.6 rebounds in 5.4 minutes as a rookie for the Clippers last season. The 21-year-old Brooklyn native was selected by Minnesota with the 33rd overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft out of the University of Minnesota.

Clippers re-sign Kawhi Leonard

The LA Clippers yesterday re-signed free agent Kawhi Leonard.

Per the Los Angeles Times, “a person with knowledge of the contract said Thursday that the fourth year is a player option; he will earn $176 million over the length of the deal. The final season runs through 2024-25, the same season the Clippers hope to open their proposed arena in Inglewood that carries a privately financed budget of $1.8 billion.”

Per the Orange County Register, “Leonard will earn $176.3 million on a deal that will run through 2025, the season after the Clippers plan to open their new home arena in Inglewood.”

“Kawhi is a transcendent player and a relentless worker who improves himself every day,” said Clippers president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank. “We share many of the same goals, which include a long-term relationship. This agreement marks another important moment for our franchise and our fans, as we strive to create a championship-caliber organization, where players find the success and fulfillment they seek. We’re eager to continue building with Kawhi. For now, we will do whatever we can to support him in his recovery from injury. We look forward to seeing him back where he wants to be, on the court with his teammates.”

More from the Register: “The Clippers were in a position to offer Leonard – who had surgery on his knee on July 13 – two different deals, including the one he signed (which was less than the four-year, $181.5 million contract extension he could have signed if he had not opted out of his previous deal).”

Last season, Leonard’s second with the Clippers, he appeared in 52 games and led the NBA in offensive rating (121.4), ranked fourth in net rating (12.2), and tied for fifth in steals per game (1.6). The five-time NBA All-Star averaged 24.8 points, 6.5 rebounds, and a career-high 5.2 assists while shooting 51.2 percent from the field and 88.5 percent from the free-throw line. A 6-foot-7 forward, Leonard scored 30 points or more with zero turnovers in four regular-season games, most in the NBA.

The two-time Defensive Player of the Year was named to his seventh All-Defensive team after helping the Clippers finish the season eighth in defensive rating (110.6) and second in net rating (6.1). Leonard was also named to his third All-NBA First Team, the only player to average at least 24.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, 5 assists, and 1.5 steals.

Originally selected with the 15th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, Leonard has appeared in 576 career games, averaging 19.2 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 2.9 assists with the San Antonio Spurs, Toronto Raptors, and Clippers. In 2012, Leonard was named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team.

A native of Moreno Valley, Calif., Leonard played two seasons of college basketball at San Diego State University, averaging 14.1 points and 10.2 rebounds, and was named second-team All-American after his sophomore year. His No. 15 jersey was retired by the Aztecs in Feb. 2020.

Clippers re-sign Nicolas Batum

The LA Clippers have re-signed free agent Nicolas Batum.

Per the Los Angeles Times, “Batum agreed to take less money than he could have — a first-year salary projected to be around $3.2 million, instead of the team’s taxpayer mid-level exception worth $5.9 million.”

“Nico is a terrific player, a selfless teammate and a consummate professional, who lifts us in a lot of different ways,” Frank said. “He fit in perfectly from the beginning, and we’re grateful he’s chosen to return.”

Batum, 32, appeared in 67 games for the Clippers last season. The versatile veteran averaged 8.1 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 2.2 assists while shooting 40.4 percent. During the Clippers run to the 2021 Western Conference Finals, Batum averaged 8.1 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1.3 blocks in 29.2 minutes. The 6-foot-8 forward has appeared in 856 career games with averages of 11.3 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 3.6 assists over 13 seasons with the Portland Trail Blazers, Charlotte Hornets, and Clippers.

From Lisieux, France, Batum has been a member of the French National Team since 2009, representing his country in the 2012 and 2021 Olympics, 2010 FIBA World Championship, 2014 FIBA World Cup, and 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2015 FIBA European Championships. He led France to a gold medal in the 2013 European Championship, silver medals in the 2011 European Championship and the 2021 Olympics, and bronze medals in the 2014 FIBA World Cup and 2015 European Championship.

LA Clippers re-sign Reggie Jackson

The LA Clippers have re-signed free agent guard Reggie Jackson.

“Reggie elevates our team with his energy, his confidence, and his ability to be at his best in the biggest moments,” said Clippers president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank. “He was an important part of our team last season, and he will continue to be going forward.”

Per multiple reports, Jackson’s new Clippers contract is for two years, $22 million.

Jackson, 31, appeared in 67 games (43 starts) for the Clippers last season, averaging 10.7 points, 3.1 assists and 2.9 rebounds while shooting a career-high 43.3 percent from beyond the arc. The 6-foot-2 guard also appeared in 19 games (17 starts) in the postseason, averaging 17.8 points, 3.4 assists and 3.2 rebounds while shooting 40.8 percent from three and a career-high 48.4 percent from the field. During the postseason, Jackson ranked second in the NBA in total three-pointers made (58) and 10th in total points (338) and plus-minus (+107).

Per the Los Angeles Times, “Jackson joined the Clippers in 2020 after having his contract bought out in Detroit, where a string of injuries hampered his initial effectiveness with the Pistons. Despite being reunited with George, Jackson’s first months with the Clippers hardly predicted a bright future. He called the communication with former coach Doc Rivers about his role sparse and endured rocky performances during the league’s 2020 restart in Florida. He spent two months following that season evaluating whether he still had the passion to return.”

Jackson holds career averages of 12.6 points, 4.2 assists and 2.9 rebounds in 628 appearances across 10 NBA seasons with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Detroit Pistons and Clippers.

Born in Pordenone, Italy, Jackson played three collegiate seasons at Boston College before being selected by the Thunder with the 24th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. At Boston College, Jackson was named All-ACC First Team during his junior season in 2010-11.

LA Clippers sign Justise Winslow

The LA Clippers have signed free agent Justise Winslow, it was announced today by president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank.

Winslow, 25, has appeared in 267 career games with averages of 8.8 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 2.6 assists over six seasons with the Miami Heat and Memphis Grizzlies. The 6-foot-6 forward played in 22 games last season for the Grizzlies, averaging 6.8 points and 4.5 rebounds. He has also appeared in 19 career playoff games, posting averages of 7.3 points and 5.1 rebounds. In his debut season with Miami, Winslow was named to the All-Rookie Second Team after averaging 6.4 points and 5.2 rebounds.

Per the Los Angeles Times, Winslow “only played 11 games during the 2019-20 season because of back injuries and a concussion, and was traded to Memphis in February 2020. He couldn’t realize his vast potential with the Grizzlies either after he injured his hip in a practice during the lead-up to the league’s restart near Orlando, Fla.”

The 10th overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, Winslow played one season of college basketball at Duke, starting all 39 games. He averaged 14.3 points and 9.3 rebounds during the NCAA tournament to help lead the Blue Devils to a national championship. The Houston native was a McDonald’s All-American and was named Mr. Basketball for the state of Texas in 2014.

Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard undergoes ACL surgery

L.A. Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard underwent surgery today to repair a partial tear of his right anterior cruciate ligament.

Via the Los Angeles Times:

Leonard underwent surgery Tuesday to repair what the Clippers described as a partial tear of the anterior cruciate ligament in the all-NBA forward’s right knee, an injury that sidelined Leonard during the final eight games of the Clippers’ season and casts some doubt over his potential availability for the start of next season.

As part of its announcement, the team said that there is no timetable for Leonard’s return. Training camp is scheduled to begin in late September.

The surgery comes less than three weeks before Leonard must inform the team whether he intends to pick up the player option for the final year of his contract, which is worth $36 million next season — with the possibility of then signing an extension. Or, he can decline it and become an unrestricted free agent. As such, he could re-sign with the team for a deal that, at its maximum, could last four years and be worth more than $176 million.

LA Clippers guard Patrick Beverley suspended for shove of Chris Paul

LA Clippers guard Patrick Beverley has been suspended one game without pay for an unsportsmanlike act for forcefully pushing Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul from behind and knocking him to the court during a stoppage in play, it was announced today by Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.

The incident, for which Beverley was assessed a technical foul and ejected, occurred with 5:49 remaining in the fourth quarter of the Clippers’ 130-103 loss to the Phoenix Suns in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals on June 30 at Staples Center.

Beverley will be suspended for the first game of the 2021-22 NBA regular season for which he is eligible to play.

Down 3-1 in WCF, Clippers coach Tyronn Lue says to take it one game at a time

The Suns lead the Clippers 3-1 in the Western Conference Finals, and L.A. remains without the services of forward Kawhi Leonard, which puts a massive amount of pressure on Paul George, Reggie Jackson and the rest of the squad. It’s a tough situation for the Clippers. Via the Los Angeles Times:

Coach Tyronn Lue said he isn’t fazed by the latest either, a 3-1 hole sealed in the Western Conference finals after an 84-80 loss to the Phoenix Suns on Saturday at Staples Center.

Lue is the only coach whose team has overcome a 3-1 deficit in a best-of-seven NBA Finals, a title path in which two of the final three victories came on the road, which would be the same scenario required for the Clippers to advance.

“Just focus on Monday’s game, that’s it,” Lue said. “Not focus on winning three games. Got to take it one game at a time, and that’s got to be our mind-set. We beat Utah and won four games in a row. So it’s very doable.

“We’ve just got to make sure we’re locked in and understand what we’re doing offensively. I think we’ve got to be more locked in offensively to beat this team.”

Suns beat Clippers 84-80 to take 3-1 Western Conference Finals lead

Los Angeles Times: Imperfect but impossible to count out in Game 4 of their Western Conference finals against Phoenix, the Clippers followed what had become their traditional playoff plot line Saturday inside Staples Center: tie themselves in knots by mistakes often of their own doing, then produce a daring, improbable escape to stay alive. Their 16-point deficit in the third quarter was down to just one with 10 minutes to play, the arena coming alive at the same time as the home team. But given shot after shot to even this series, one of the NBA’s top offenses missed over and over, sapped by a devastating combination of tired legs and woeful execution on their way to an 84-80 loss. The Clippers were 0 for 12 in the fourth quarter with a chance to tie or take the lead and did not make a field goal for more than five consecutive minutes in the quarter. And still, another 2-2 tie, after falling behind 2-0, was there for them.

OC Register: Phoenix will be playing for an opportunity to advance to the NBA Finals for the first time since 1993. With a Staples Center sellout crowd of 18,222 agonizing on its collective feet for much of the suffocating fourth quarter Saturday, when the Clippers shot 3 for 19 and the Suns went 4 for 19, and 0 for 6 and 0 for 3 from 3-point range, respectively. The Clippers were 0 for 12 on fourth-quarter shots that could’ve tied the score or given them the lead, the most such attempts without a make in the fourth quarter of a game over the past 25 postseasons. They drew within one point four times in the fourth, but they couldn’t ever pull in front. “We just couldn’t get over the hump,” Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said.

OC Register: In his second game back following COVID-19 health and safety protocols, Paul finished with 18 points and seven assists. Deandre Ayton finished with 19 points and a career playoff-high 22 rebounds. And Devin Booker scored a game-high 25 points on 8-for-22 shooting before fouling out in the final minute.

OC Register: The Clippers shot 32% (27 for 83) for the game; Phoenix was a smidge better at 36% (31 for 86). The Clippers made just five 3-pointers in the game – fewer than in all but one game this season. The Suns hit just four from deep.

Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard will miss Game 5 against Jazz

The Clippers, who are already without the services of center Serge Ibaka, now have a major injury problem at the forward spot. Via the LA Times:

When Kawhi Leonard was asked about his right knee Monday night following Game 4 of the Clippers’ second-round playoff series against Utah, he replied quickly, “I’m good.”

Because the answer was hard to hear through the videoconference’s feed, he was asked again.

“Yeah,” Leonard said. “Next question.”

Less than 48 hours later, with Game 5 of a deadlocked series looming Wednesday night in Salt Lake City, Leonard is not good. The forward, who has averaged more than 30 points, seven rebounds and four assists while shooting 57% in the postseason, is out for Game 5 because of a strained right knee suffered in the final five minutes of Game 4, when he was bumped by Utah’s Joe Ingles.

And from the OC Register:

Leonard – who was named to the All-NBA first team on Tuesday, his third such honor – reportedly could miss the rest of the best-of-seven series, which is tied, 2-2. He was not listed on the Clippers’ official injury report Tuesday, but according to ESPN, the 29-year-old forward told teammates Tuesday night to prepare for him to be out. The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that the Clippers are fearful Leonard has suffered an ACL injury.

The five-time All-Star from Moreno Valley planted awkwardly on a drive to the basket in the fourth quarter of the Clippers’ 118-104 victory on Monday night at Staples. He grimaced following the play but remained in the game, missing both free throws he was awarded on the drive after a foul was assessed to Bojan Bogdanovic. Leonard remained in the game briefly after that, too, drawing another foul and making both of those free throws.

The Jazz remain without the services of point guard Mike Conley. But Leonard being out is a bigger problem for L.A. than Conley being out is for Utah.