Tag: Blake Griffin

Indiana Pacers v Philadelphia 76ers

Report: JaVale McGee ‘a serious consideration’ for Clippers


When DeAndre Jordan left the Clippers to take a four-year max contract with the Mavericks in free agency, it created a huge hole in the Los Angeles lineup.

Jordan was key to what the Clippers did on the defensive end of the floor, and was a capable enough finisher at the rim to end the year leading the league in field goal percentage, thanks to plenty of perfect passes from the game’s best point guard in Chris Paul.

But perhaps more importantly, the way the salary cap works, the Clippers could have exceeded it to re-sign him. Now that he’s gone, and with very little money available to commit to a potential replacement, it’s easy to see why L.A.’s search is already becoming a bit desperate.

Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports:

Free-agent center JaVale McGee is a serious consideration for the Los Angeles Clippers, and plans to have a telephone conversation with president and coach Doc Rivers on Saturday, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

The Clippers, who lost center DeAndre Jordan to the Dallas Mavericks in free agency, are taking a strong look at McGee, league sources told Yahoo Sports. The Clippers have roughly $2.2 million in exception space left to pay a player beyond the league’s minimum salary slot of $1.4 million.

McGee is someone who is currently out of the NBA, after he was traded from Denver to Philadelphia last season and reached a buyout agreement in March. If he could have realistically contributed anything of value, a playoff team would have snatched him up to bolster its postseason chances. But unfortunately, he’s never developed as expected, and has become known for making low-basketball-IQ plays more than anything else.

The Clippers may be able to switch gears and go small next season with lineups that feature Blake Griffin at center; they had some success doing that in the playoffs, specifically int he first round against the Spurs. But they will need to add a big body at some point for some depth off the bench — just don’t expect whoever that is to be able to provide anywhere close to Jordan’s level of production.

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban on DeAndre Jordan: ‘We see him as Shaq-like’

Houston Rockets v Los Angeles Clippers - Game Four

DeAndre Jordan turned down max money with the Clippers to sign in Dallas as a free agent this summer, and did so for a couple of reasons.

The reported locker room rift between Jordan and Chris Paul was a factor, but that may not have been the primary one in his choosing to play somewhere else.

Playing in Los Angeles alongside Paul and Blake Griffin, Jordan was never going to get the opportunity to be the focal point of the offense. Mark Cuban sold him on precisely that point while convincing him to join the Mavericks, and believes Jordan can immediately become a dominant presence.

From the Los Angeles Times:

In an interview with the sports-talk radio station The Ticket, Cuban said he sees DeAndre Jordan as a franchise player. …

“We see him as “Shaq-like” but never having been given the opportunity,” Cuban told the radio show. “We told him if he came to the Mavs, he would be a focal point. He would grow into being a franchise player.” …

“We told him that you’e capable of being a 20-20 guy,” Cuban told the radio show. “You’re just not being given the opportunity.”

Cuban said that Jordan was “like the eighth option” on the Clippers, and he could be the first option on the Mavericks because superstar 37-year-old Dirk Nowitzki was no longer interested in that role.

Jordan led the league in field goal percentage last year, shooting a ridiculous 71 percent on the season. But a big reason for that was the attention Paul and Griffin demanded from opposing defenses, which freed up Jordan to be the recipient of all those lob passes from one of the best point guards in the game.

There’s also the not-so-small matter of Jordan’s free throw shooting. He made only 39.7 percent of his foul shots last year, an embarrassingly low number any way you slice it. It’s worth wondering whether you can realistically give Jordan an increased number of touches on the offensive end of the floor unless this number comes up somewhat significantly, but the plan in Dallas, at least at the moment, is to certainly give it a shot.

Who should Clippers get to replace DeAndre Jordan? How about Blake Griffin.

Houston Rockets v Los Angeles Clippers - Game Three

It was midway through the fourth quarter of Game 7 of an epic first-round series, and the San Antonio Spurs had just gone on an 8-1 run to take a five-point lead. Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers decided to make a move and pulled DeAndre Jordan for Matt Barnes, going small and putting Blake Griffin at center.

The Clippers rode that small-ball lineup for almost the entire remaining 5:24, which included a late 7-2 run that gave Los Angeles the 111-109 victory and moved them on to the next round. (Jordan did sub in for a couple defensive possessions late.) The Clippers scored 19 points with that small lineup.

Those minutes could be the window to the future for the Clippers now that Jordan has bolted the Clippers to get a bigger role in the offense — and, more importantly, the recognition he feels he deserves — from the Dallas Mavericks.

Doc Rivers rode Jordan hard last season — he was seventh in the league in minutes played at 2,820 (more than 34 minutes a game for the full 82 games). Jordan was in the six most used Clippers lineups last season (and their regular starting five was leaned on heavily by Rivers, who didn’t trust the bench Doc Rivers the GM had given him). Jordan delivered 11.5 points on 71 percent shooting, but more importantly he was a beast on the boards at 15 a game, his offensive rebounding warped teams fast break efforts, and on the other end he was first-team NBA All-Defensive team because of his rim protection.

The Clippers cannot replace Jordan with anything near equal talent. Not with the money they have available. Once Jordan signs in Dallas and the Clippers fall below the tax line, they could have a full mid-level exception they can use (depending on Paul Pierce’s signing), but that is just $5.5 million — the money that got them Spencer Hawes a year ago (and the Clips just traded Hawes to get Lance Stephenson). The Clippers are pushing to send Jordan to Dallas in a sign-and-trade that would create a big trade exception they could use to get a big. (That alone can’t land them Roy Hibbert, who makes north of $17 million with a trade kicker; it likely would take a complex three-team trade involving the Pacers and Mavs to do that, and it is highly unlikely.)  The Clippers might try to trade Jamal Crawford for a big, suggests Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders, and maybe his salary (plus filler) could net someone like Kosta Koufos of Memphis (who is currently a free agent but might do a sign-and-trade).

The Clippers do need to land another center, but he’s not going to be the same as the guy they lost.

What the Clippers do have is the ability to go small.

That small ball lineup that Doc Rivers used against the Spurs — Chris Paul, J.J. Redick, Jamal Crawford, Matt Barnes, and Blake Griffin — played just 19 minutes last regular season. But they were +59 points per 48 in that very small sample size, with an offensive rating of 134.4 points per 100 possessions.

The Clippers just signed Paul Pierce, who has had his best success in recent seasons as a four in a small lineup that spaced the floor in Washington. The Clippers are trying to chase David West now (although that is a long shot at best).

The pieces are there for Doc Rivers to go small, play fast and overwhelm teams on offense. At least for stretches — longer stretches than he was willing to try it last season. It can work. It’s not going to work the same as Golden State, a team that suffers no real defensive drop off when they go small thanks to Draymond Green’s versatility. The Clippers don’t have that kind of defender (nobody else does).

But small can work for the Clippers. And it may be their best chance to stay among the elite of the West.

If they were willing to go to it in Game 7 against the Spurs, with their season on the line, they shouldn’t fear it when next season tips off.



Report: DeAndre Jordan’s relationship with Chris Paul was ‘demonstrably poor’

DeAndre Jordan, Chris Paul

DeAndre Jordan agreed to a four-year free agent deal with the Mavericks, and shunned a Clippers team that was, by most accounts, much more ready-made to contend for a title in the immediate future.

So, why go? There are two very legitimate reasons.

First off, Jordan would never fully get the praise and recognition that he craved while playing alongside two big-time players in Blake Griffin and Chris Paul. Young NBA players have egos, and that fact undoubtedly played a part in Jordan’s free agent decision.

But so did the reality that he and Paul weren’t always on the best of terms.

Ken Berger of CBSSports.com:

On one hand, there was Jordan’s relationship with Clippers All-Star Chris Paul, which sources told CBSSports.com was demonstrably poor. These things are never one man’s fault, but they believe that Jordan’s relationship with the man who got him the ball in LA played a role here.

Paul, like his Staples Center co-inhabitant Kobe Bryant, is among the game’s fiercest competitors, and will ride his teammates mercilessly in pursuit of winning, while prioritizing it above all else.

That act can wear thin on younger players, who want to enjoy the NBA lifestyle more than they necessarily want to win night in and night out, at any cost.

The Clippers locker room wasn’t the most pleasant of places at times last season. And once the opportunity presented itself, Jordan chose an option that wouldn’t harm him financially, but that would provide him with a level of star power and enjoyment that were clearly missing from his current situation.

Report: DeAndre Jordan agrees to four-year, $80 million deal to join Dallas Mavericks

San Antonio Spurs v Los Angeles Clippers - Game Five

DeAndre Jordan is choosing his native Texas — and a more featured role in the offense — over staying with the Los Angeles Clippers.

He has chosen to play for thee Dallas Mavericks, something first reported by Marc Stein of ESPN.

Soon a number of others confirmed the deal, including Marc Spears of Yahoo confirmed this news. Some reports said both the Mavericks and Clippers were informed of the decision.

This, along with the signing of Wesley Matthews, will constitute another huge off-season for the Mavericks and make them one of the top teams in the West.

Chandler Parsons, who helped recruit Dwight Howard to Houston when Parsons was a Rocket, has been glued to the hip of Jordan for days trying to sway him toward Dallas. That guy should be a college coach someday the way he recruits.

This is a massive blow to the Clippers, a team that up until a few days was confident that Jordan would return. Doc Rivers built up Jordan’s career — got him to focus on his strengths, put him in better spots on the floor, built up the confidence that Vinny Del Negro had torn down — but Rivers could not convince Jordan to stay. Chris Paul tried to contact him and smooth over their relationship, but that also ended up not being enough.

Los Angeles does not have much cap space left to replace Jordan, just mid-level exception money of around $5.5 million (once Jordan signs). That got them Spencer Hawes a year ago, and we all saw how that worked out. The Clippers may try to get Dallas to do a sign and trade to create a trade exception, and they may try to trade for another center (such as Nene, who would fit in that slot), but they are not gong to land anyone of near the same quality.

Jordan was named first-team NBA All-Defensive Team this past season, he led the NBA in rebounding at 15 a game and he averaged 11.5 points a game on a league-best 71 percent shooting.

Jordan doesn’t feel he gets enough recognition for these kinds of accomplishments — for example, he’s never made the All-Star Team — in part because he has played behind Chris Paul and Blake Griffin (plus he and the ultra-competitive CP3 have had rough patches). In Dallas, Jordan would be the No. 2 option (at least that’s what they told him), and he would get the recognition he seeks from their marketing efforts, plus he’d be going home to Texas.

Jordan is leaving almost $30 million on the table (the Clippers offered five years, $109 million, a max offer), leaving Los Angeles (where he likes living) and leaving a sure fire contender with the Clippers.

But what he really wants is in Texas