Tag: Spencer Hawes

Josh Smith

Reports: Josh Smith to sign with Los Angeles Clippers


Depth along the front line was a serious issue for the Clippers last season. There was Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, then… Spencer Hawes.

Now the Clippers are going to have a couple very nice reserves, they are expected to bring back Ekpe Udoh.

Now come reports that the Clippers have landed Josh Smith. Michael Scotto of Sheridanhoops.com had it first, others have since confirmed.

The Clippers could only sign him for the league minimum (all they had left) but Smith was good with it since the Pistons still will pay him $5.4 million as part of their waiving and stretch of his contract. (What the Clippers will pay him will be offset from the money Detroit owes him.)

At that price, Smith is a steal.

Smith has his flaws, starting with his love of the three ball — he’s a career 28 percent shooter from three who last season knocked down a barely passable 33 percent with Houston. But coming off the bench, Smith is a massive upgrade for the Clippers — he provides physicality and defense, plus he can still get points and rebounds and defend at a quality level. He brings some legit depth and versatility to the Clippers front line, plus he has stepped up in the playoffs.

Doc Rivers the GM has really helped out Doc Rivers the coach this summer. The formerly anemic Clipper bench will now have Jamal Crawford, Lance Stephenson, Udoh (probably) and Smith (plus guys like Austin Rivers that will get some run).

When you talk serious NBA title contenders next season, do not leave the Clippers off the list.

Report: Clippers to sign Cole Aldrich

Los Angeles Clippers v New York Knicks

This could have been a very big deal.

Thankfully for the Clippers, it’s not.

Derek Wetmore of 1500 ESPN:

That’s surely a minimum contract, because that’s all the Clippers can offer.

Cole Aldrich will back up DeAndre Jordan, but the Clippers should keep shopping for a better center to bump Aldrich to third string. Aldrich is a good shot-blocker and rebounder in short spurts, but he’s a very limited player.

This is the cost of trading Spencer Hawes. Doc Rivers clearly didn’t trust Hawes, and Lance Stephenson could provide solid in the the deal that also sent out Matt Barnes. The Clippers conceded to a talent downgrade at center, and Aldrich represents that.

Either way, Jordan will get the lion’s share of center minutes. Depth behind him is thin – a little less thin now, but still thin.

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 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

Report: Dallas most likely team to lure DeAndre Jordan from Clippers, Chandler Parsons already recruiting

Houston Rockets v Los Angeles Clippers - Game Four

Two summers ago Chandler Parsons helped recruit Dwight Howard to Houston. Then last summer Parsons bolted the Rockets and signed with the rival Mavericks over in Dallas.

Even there he doesn’t stop. Chandler is back to recruiting big men.

He met last week with DeAndre Jordan at his Texas home and flew back to Los Angeles with him. Dallas is looking like the biggest threat to lure Jordan away from the Clippers, as reported by Tim MacMahon at ESPN.

Sources told ESPN.com that the Mavericks are the team feared most by the Clippers even though Jordan is expected to meet with at least two more teams: the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers.

Mavericks small forward Chandler Parsons, who regards himself to be Dallas’ lead recruiter on free agent matters, visited Jordan in Houston last weekend and traveled to Los Angeles immediately after Thursday’s draft to spend more time with the big man.

Jordan’s decision likely comes down to staying with the Clippers or heading to Dallas. He wants to be more at the forefront of a team, and that’s not happening with the Lakers (that’s Kobe Bryant’s team, and then it will be probably D’Angelo Russell’s). The Knicks are a long shot.

Clippers fans should be nervous — if Jordan bolts Los Angeles has no way to replace him with near the same quality (even without Jordan’s contract LA would be close to the cap and have only the mid-level exception to use; which last year got them Spencer Hawes). Jordan reportedly has felt like the third wheel at times — the Clippers are Chris Paul and Blake Griffin’s team. Jordan gets Defensive Player of the Year votes, Doc Rivers pumps Jordan up like no other (he restored the confidence Vinny Del Negro had shattered), but Jordan is not the focal point of the Clippers. Not even close, and that plus CP3’s unrelenting competitiveness can wear on some guys.

Still, the Clippers have three big things going for them. First, Jordan likes being in Los Angeles and Hollywood, he likes all the perks that can be associated with living in the nation’s second . Second, frustrated with him or not, no point guard is going to make Jordan look as good, no point guard trust him like Paul. Finally, and most importantly, the Clippers can offer one more guaranteed year (five years vs. four) and about $30 million more in guaranteed money than anyone else.

The money — and the fact the Clippers are contenders — should have Jordan leaning Los Angeles. But after years of feeling like the third guy at best on the team, the fact other teams are going to pump up his ego — as Parsons is already doing — will play well with a guy wanting that recognition.