Austin Rivers

Draymond Green, Rudy Gobert, Kawhi Leonard headline NBA All-Defensive teams

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Later Monday night, one of Draymond Green, Rudy Gobert, or Kawhi Leonard will be named NBA Defensive Player of the Year. (The smart money is on Green to win, but you can make a legitimate case for any of the three.)

Before that award is handed out, the NBA released its All-Defensive teams.

Not a lot of surprises here, especially on the first team. Green, Gobert, and Leonard are the top three vote getters for DPOY, so they were going to make this team, and since this team is positionally tied that meant two guards had to join them. (Each team has to have two guards, two forwards, and one center, and the voters have to vote that way.) Chris Paul and Patrick Beverley made that cut. The ballots were cast by 100 members of the NBA media (full disclosure I had a vote). A full list of who voted for whom will be made public on Tuesday by the NBA.

The biggest surprise: No LeBron James. Good defenders such as Jimmy Butler, Avery Bradley, and Klay Thompson also didn’t make the cut.

Here’s who made the All-Defensive teams.

2016-17 NBA ALL-DEFENSIVE FIRST TEAM

Position, Player, Team, Total Points (out of 200 possible)
Forward Draymond Green, Golden State, 198
Center Rudy Gobert, Utah, 196
Forward Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio, 192
Guard Chris Paul, LA Clippers, 140
Guard Patrick Beverley, Houston, 110

2016-17 NBA ALL-DEFENSIVE SECOND TEAM

Position, Player, Team, Total Points (out of 200 possible)
Guard Tony Allen, Memphis, 80
Guard Danny Green, San Antonio, 68
Center Anthony Davis, New Orleans, 58
Forward Andre Roberson, Oklahoma City, 53
Forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee, 35

Other players receiving votes, with point totals (First Team votes in parentheses): Avery Bradley, Boston, 46 (12); Klay Thompson, Golden State, 45 (16); John Wall, Washington, 38 (14); DeAndre Jordan, LA Clippers, 35 (1); Paul Millsap, Atlanta, 35; Hassan Whiteside, Miami, 25 (1); Marcus Smart, Boston, 21 (5); Jimmy Butler, Chicago, 18; LeBron James, Cleveland, 12 (1); Robert Covington, Philadelphia, 11 (2); Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City, 10 (5); Paul George, Indiana, 7; Kevin Durant, Golden State, 6; Dwight Howard, Atlanta, 6 (1); Mike Conley, Memphis, 5 (1); Jae Crowder, Boston, 5; Jrue Holiday, New Orleans, 5; Wesley Matthews, Dallas, 4 (2); Stephen Curry, Golden State, 3; Andre Iguodala, Golden State, 3 (1); Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Charlotte, 3; Ricky Rubio, Minnesota, 3; P.J. Tucker, Toronto, 3; Trevor Ariza, Houston, 2; Nicolas Batum, Charlotte, 2; Marc Gasol, Memphis, 2; Eric Gordon, Houston, 2 (1); Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota, 2 (1); Steven Adams, Oklahoma City, 1; LaMarcus Aldridge, San Antonio, 1; Al-Farouq Aminu, Portland, 1; Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Detroit, 1; George Hill, Utah, 1; Serge Ibaka, Toronto, 1; Damian Lillard, Portland, 1; Luc Mbah a Moute, LA Clippers, 1; Austin Rivers, LA Clippers, 1; Isaiah Thomas, Boston, 1; Cody Zeller, Charlotte, 1.

It should be noted that Atlanta’s Millsap had as many total points as Milwaukee’s Antetokounmpo for the final slot, but because the Greek Freak got seven first-team votes as opposed to zero for Millsap, Antetokounmpo wins the tie breaker. Also, Boston’s Bradley and Golden State’s Thompson had more points than Antetokounmpo, but they could only be listed as guards.

Report: Clippers hired Jerry West to help lure LeBron James

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Rumors are swirling that LeBron James will leave the Cavaliers for Los Angeles, either the Lakers or Clippers, in 2018.

The Clippers want to be prepared.

And that’s why they hired Jerry West as a consultant.

Sam Amick of USA Today:

The grand plan for West and his new Clippers colleagues, president of basketball operations and head coach Doc Rivers and executive vice president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank? Targeting the biggest fish in next summer’s free agent sea: LeBron James.

According to two people with knowledge of the situation, West’s potential ability to improve the Clippers’ chances of landing the Cleveland Cavaliers star in free agency in the summer of 2018 was a significant factor in his hiring and in the willingness of owner Steve Ballmer to pay West between $4 and $5 million annually.

The Clippers’ first order of business is re-signing Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, which won’t be easy with the Spurs (for Paul) and Celtics (for Griffin) swarming. Retaining Paul is particularly important, considering his friendship with LeBron. But keeping Griffin would also help the Clippers maintain their high level of play, a necessity when competing with the more prestigious Lakers.

The Clippers could also trade for Carmelo Anthony. LeBron has discussed a desire to play with Paul, Anthony and Dwyane Wade – even a willingness to take a pay cut to make it happen.

But how much of a pay cut?

If they trim their roster to just Paul and Griffin, the Clippers would still project to be fall short of having max cap space in 2018. DeAndre Jordan can also become a free agent that year, and the center is an important cog. LeBron joining for the mid-level exception?

This doesn’t even account for Anthony or exactly how the Clippers would drop Austin Rivers ($12,650,000 player option), Jamal Crawford ($3 million of $14.5 million guaranteed) and Wesley Johnson ($6,134,520) – all of whom have deals that run through 2018-19.

If LeBron wants to sign with the Clippers, they could always trade Griffin. It’d be hard, but possible, to build a championship contender from there. Griffin would fetch something.

It’s a grand plan, one West might be singularly qualified to execute. He brought Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant together with the Lakers when Shaq was the biggest free agent ever and teams picking higher than the Hornets (whom the Lakers traded with) wanted Kobe.

West also shares a bond with LeBron, which stems in part from their shared losing in the NBA Finals. LeBron, a student of the game, surely respects West – and probably appreciates how often West has publicly defended him.

There’s a long way between that mutual admiration and LeBron signing with Clippers. But the upside is so incredible, it’s a swing for the fences worth taking.

Besides, the Clippers’ road to LeBron looks similar to their optimal path forward anyway. Success starts with re-signing Paul and Griffin.

Rumor: Clippers would like to get in Paul George conversation

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Doc Rivers has said he wants to bring everyone back this summer — free agents Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and J.J. Redick — but we also know that’s not likely. Steve Ballmer may have 10,000 lifetimes worth of money, but is he willing to have one of the highest payroll/luxury tax bills in the league to run the same group back again?

What if they could land Paul George to fit with some/all of that core?

It’s a crazy longshot — the Clippers don’t have the assets to get in the conversation seriously — but they would like to, reports Sean Deveney of the Sporting News. The Clippers wanted in the George conversation back at the trade deadline (when the Pacers were not serious about dealing him).

Among them, league sources told Sporting News, are the Clippers, who have three significant free agents — Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and J.J. Redick — and are desperate to add a player who could change their perennial postseason disappointment. The Clippers have expressed interest in George.

Any team trading for George would be gambling that it could persuade him to stay in free agency, and not bolt for the Lakers in 2018. That limits the teams Indiana can deal with to a handful of contenders or teams willing to take a risk. The Clippers have slipped in their status as contenders, but they’re not risk-averse and can get George to Los Angeles, if not with the Lakers. The Clippers could work out a three-team trade to accommodate a guy like Redick or Griffin.

Would Jerry West sign off on this? Depends on the deal. It’s obvious why the Clippers want in the George dance. If they can pair George with Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan, that might be a team that could reach the Conference Finals. Maybe. But for a Clippers team who sees a small window to be a threat, they might as well go for it. And maybe George likes playing with CP3 enough to re-sign with the team next summer.

But why would the Pacers do it? They reportedly want a couple first round picks and a young rotation player in the deal (they’re not going to get that much, but that’s what they are asking for). The Clippers don’t have a first-round pick they can trade until 2021 (their 2017 goes to Toronto, 2019 to Boston, and teams can’t trade their lone first rounder in consecutive years). Also, even if you could get Griffin to agree to a sign-and-trade with a Pacers team set to rebuild — and good luck with that — Indy would just have to flip him in another deal, because he’s not part of anyone’s rebuilding plans. The Clippers don’t have much else on the roster to offer — Austin Rivers at $11.8 million, or 37-year-old Jamal Crawford — that will interest anyone.

It’s going to be a very interesting summer for the Clippers, it feels like the West hiring was the first domino in a few changes coming to the franchise. They still may want to win now, and George would help with that, but they aren’t going to get him, the Pacers will have better offers.

Austin Rivers: Glen Davis ‘constantly out of shape, late, don’t remember plays’

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Asked about Glen Davis’ weight loss a couple years ago, Clippers coach Doc Rivers said, “It’s like throwing a deck chair off the Queen Mary.”

This year, Davis accused Rivers of playing him on a broken ankle and called his former coach “lucky as hell” to win a championship with the Celtics. Davis – nicknamed “Big Baby” – also apparently put a face behind the reports of other Clippers somewhat resenting Austin Rivers‘ favored status.

Austin, via Fox Sports 1:

That’s a bunch of BS. That’s just Baby talking outside of his lane. I’ve heard Baby say to me multiple times, “Oh, man, you know why Doc is so good?” “Doc is so great.” And then now he’s saying bad things about him. It’s a huge contradiction.

And I don’t have a problem with Baby. Me and Baby have always been cool.

But it makes no sense to what he’s doing, and whatever he has between him and his pops – my pops said the jokes about his weight and stuff. It was hard – Let me ask you something: If someone is constantly out of shape, late, don’t remember plays, how the hell are you supposed to play him?

So, I don’t know where that even goes with the team. That has nothing to do with him coming at my father. I really don’t care. That’s between him and my pops.

But as far as him talking about me, being my coach – that has never had a play in the team. I’ve earned every stripe that I’ve gotten. I’ve earned every playing time. That’s just him talking out the side of his neck. I don’t even understand where that comes from, so I’m not even paying that no mind.

It’s impossible to hear this as anything other than Austin sticking up for his dad – which is exactly what the guard is trying to avoid. But playing for his dad invites that perception, fair or not.

Austin has worked hard to improve and earn a bigger role. He leveraged the Clippers lack of flexibility to replace him into a big contract.

Whatever aid Doc provided, Austin did his fair share. I understand why Austin would resent any implication to the contrary. But Austin also ought to understand why – just situationally, if nothing else – he receives this scrutiny.

As far as Austin’s claims about Davis: Davis played his whole career out of shape. He made it work for a while. It’s also a tough way to last in the league.

Steve Ballmer loses control after Austin Rivers three, creates another meme

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Clippers’ owner Steve Ballmer has been a meme machine this series. First, there was the sad face after the Clippers Game 5 loss at home.

Then Friday, there was his reaction to an Austin Rivers three.

Ballmer’s reactions may be the best part of the Game 7 between these teams Sunday.