Tag: Chris Paul

DeAndre Jordan, Chris Paul

Report: Rift exists between DeAndre Jordan and Chris Paul; Jordan to visit with Lakers, Mavs, Bucks, Knicks in free agency


DeAndre Jordan led the league in rebounding and field goal percentage last season, and was a key component of a Clippers starting lineup that was good enough to lead the league in offensive efficiency.

Jordan anchored the defense, too, and his two-way skill set (free throws aside) is what makes him so valuable in Los Angeles.

He’s an unrestricted free agent this summer, and while Doc Rivers has made it clear that the Clippers will offer him the five-year max contract that no one else can to re-sign, Jordan has made it known that he’ll look around in free agency, just to see if a better situation may catch his eye.

Now, we may have an indication as to the reason why.

From Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times:

The season ended with Rivers denying reports Jordan and Chris Paul had a beef with each other.

But other NBA officials not authorized to speak publicly on the matter said there indeed is a rift between Jordan and Paul.

The officials said Jordan wants to be more involved in the offense and wants to be an All-Star, and he’s not sure whether those things can happen on the Clippers with All-Stars Paul and Blake Griffin.

Paul is one of the game’s most fiery competitors, on par with Kobe Bryant in terms of his on-court intensity and his ability to push teammates to extremes behind the scenes.

This is a quality you want in one of your team’s leaders as a fan, but as a teammate who doesn’t possess quite that same level of intensity, the constant grind can wear thin over the 82-game regular season.

That may be one reason Jordan is considering his options, which are expected to include meetings with the Lakers, Mavericks, Knicks and Bucks once the July 1 free agency period is upon us. But he can make the most money by re-upping in Los Angeles, if he believes he can co-exist with Paul for the foreseeable future.

Hornets’ coach says Lance Stephenson much better fit in Clippers offense

Lance Stephenson

Lance Stephenson’s season in Charlotte was a disaster. There’s no other good word for it (at least that we can publish here). He shot just 37.6 percent overall and 17 percent from three (yet he took more threes as a percentage of his shots than he had in his career), and he never fit in with the Hornets offense. He spent more and more time riding the bench as the season wore on.

The Clippers acquired Stephenson in a trade (for Matt Barnes and Spencer Hawes), hoping that a change of scenery — plus the leadership of Chris Paul and Doc Rivers — could find the Indiana version of Stephenson. The one that was a difference maker on both ends of the court.

Steve Clifford, the Hornets coach, told Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated Stephenson will fit in much better with what the Clippers run than what the Hornets did.

And that’s where I think that playing with the Clippers, who have more perimeter shooting than we do, will help him. I mean, his game is pick-and-roll. He can drive it, and he can make all the passes, he can hit the screener, whether the screener is rolling or flaring. And he can hit all of the perimeter options, and he has great size and a great knack for making the right decision. And with us, again, because we weren’t able to find ways where he was on the floor with a lot of perimeter shooting, he didn’t always have the room he was accustomed to to turn the corner, get in the paint and get the ball going to the basket. And if you look at it statistically, the biggest difference in his game really was the number of layups he was able to attempt here versus the year before in Indiana, and those turned into pull-up jumpers, which is not his strength.

Clifford is right, the last two years he was in Indiana 37 percent of Stephenson’s shots came at the rim, but that fell to 29 percent in Charlotte. Teams packed the paint against the Hornets, who had the worst three-point shooting percentage in the league. That said, with the Clippers the ball is usually in the hands of Chris Paul or Jamal Crawford, can Stephenson adjust to being off the ball for long stretches?

The larger questions and concerns with Stephenson are in the mental aspects of the game — two teams in a row were happy to move Stephenson and get him out of their locker rooms. The Clipper locker room is unlike most any other in the league, where players’ children have the run of the locker room after games, and the atmosphere can be pretty light. But it’s also a team with legitimate title aspirations. Rivers and Paul treat players like adults and expect them to respond accordingly, to be mature and professional. Can Stephenson do that?

If so, and if what Clifford said about Stephenson on the court pans out, this could be a good move for Los Angeles.

Report: Clippers exploring Wilson Chandler trade


The Clippers tried to trade for Wilson Chandler during the season.

With an even bigger need at small forward after trading Matt Barnes, they’re trying again.

Arash Markazi of ESPN:

The Clippers are also exploring trade options for Jamal Crawford, according to sources, and one possibility is trading Crawford and C.J. Wilcox, the team’s 2014 first round pick, to the Denver Nuggets for Wilson Chandler.

Maybe the Nuggets are more willing to trade Chandler than they were at the deadline, but I don’t think this would be enough.

I like where Doc Rivers’ head is, though.

Bringing Lance Stephenson off the bench is ideal. A 3-and-D player like Chandler would be a better fit around Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. If Stephenson is handling the ball off the bench, that makes Crawford somewhat superfluous.

Chandler isn’t the only option to create this roster figuration. Paul Pierce would also work.

Steve Ballmer: Clippers should win a championship if they keep their ‘Big Three’ intact

Los Angeles Clippers Media Day

The Clippers eliminated the Spurs in the first round of the playoffs in what was an epic seven-game series, but ended their season on a sour note after a second-round collapse against the Houston Rockets.

L.A. held a 3-1 series lead before seeing it all slip away, and the lack of depth in place on the roster was a big reason why.

Clippers owner Steve Ballmer believes the trio of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan should be good enough to win a title. But honestly, it just isn’t that simple.

From Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times:

“We believe we are very close. The key for us is not to blow things up.”

Start with the roster. Ballmer reiterated that the Clippers hope to re-sign potential free DeAndre Jordan — “We love D.J.” — and that with Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, they have a title-worthy threesome.

“You have arguably three of the best 20 to 25 guys in the NBA,” Ballmer said. “You should be able to win it with three of the best 20 to 25 guys in the NBA. I don’t think you’ll find another team with three of the best 20 to 25 guys in the NBA.”

In the same piece, Ballmer puts a little bit of pressure on Doc Rivers the executive to improve the roster enough to where Ballmer’s statement can become truth instead of fiction.

The reality is that you need an extremely deep team to win a championship, and despite having Paul (second team), Griffin and Jordan (both third team) earn All-NBA status, this Clippers team had little to no help available when turning to their bench.

Jamal Crawford was there to provide offense, but the defense took a nose dive in lineups that featured him on the floor. Beyond that, there was only Austin Rivers, who (to put it mildly) was inconsistent, at best. That led to the Clippers being forced to play their stars heavy minutes in the postseason, and just as we saw with the Cavaliers in the NBA Finals, short rotations come playoff time, when fatigue becomes a very real factor, are a recipe for disaster.

Jordan is an unrestricted free agent this summer, and the Clippers are on record as saying that they’ll offer him a max contract to entice him to stay. Keeping their so-called Big Three together is a fine start to L.A. becoming a championship contender. But they’ll need smaller tweaks to the roster (like the recent trade to acquire Lance Stephenson, for example) to ultimately pan out in order to achieve that elite level of success.

New Clipper Lance Stephenson: “I’m very good in the locker room”

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - APRIL 3:  Lance Stephenson #1 of the Charlotte Hornets stands on the court during a game against the Indiana Pacers on April 3, 2015 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2015 NBAE (Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images)

Lance Stephenson came to blows with teammate Evan Turner on the eve of the playoffs in Indiana, then Stephenson went out and became a meme by blowing in LeBron’s ear. In part due to chemistry concerns, the Pacers didn’t chase him too hard in free agency, so Stephenson went to Charlotte where he clashed with what had been a rock-solid veteran locker room.

The Clippers are counting on Chris Paul, Doc Rivers and their strong locker room to change that trend. They think they can get Stephenson to play nice and return to Indiana form on the court.

Except there’s nothing to worry about off the court. At least if you ask Stephenson.

He’s a dream in the locker room, at least that’s what he said at his introductory press conference with the Clippers, as reported by Arash Markazi of ESPN.

“I’m going to work hard this season to get those rumors out,” Stephenson said as he was formally introduced as a Clipper at a news conference at the team’s training facility on Thursday. “That’s not the issue. I’m very good in the locker room. You can ask all the players that I’ve played with. You can ask the coaches. I’m very good in the locker room.

“When I’m on the court I got that type of energy where it looks like I’m yelling at somebody. But when I talk to my teammates it amps them and makes them work harder. I want to take that [negative] title off my name because that’s not me. I’m a good locker room guy.”

There’s no reason to get into a debate if he had some locker room issues in the past — he did — because this is his reality now:

He better not have any in Los Angeles if he wants to get paid in this league.

He’s got two years, $18.4 million left on his contract, but the second year of that is a team option. If he flames out off the court — or can’t produce on it — the Clippers can just decline the final year of that deal. And if that happens Stephenson is going to find himself near the bottom of the NBA pecking order.

Los Angeles isn’t Stephenson’s last chance, we all know in sports guys with potential get a lot of chances. But the road back to where he wants to be — and a decent payday by NBA standards — is a long and winding one if L.A. doesn’t work out.

If one thing can motivate behavioral changes, it’s cold hard cash. We’ll see if it works in this case.