Relax, Clippers fans.
Yes, Blake Griffin pulled out of Team USA duties because of a hairline fracture in his back. But he wants you to know it’s not that serious (something you could probably tell when he was doing backflips into the ocean).
Griffin is working out in the South Bay and is working on his game for the fall, his body just wasn’t ready for the full-on contact of a game situation as he would have seen with USA Basketball, Griffin told the Los Angeles Times.
“It’s less than a hairline and my back is not fractured. Everything is still intact,” Griffin said. “I can still come out here and I can do my workouts and I can do everything I used to do. I just shouldn’t be playing and practicing everyday this early….
“It’s not that my back is broken and I’m walking around with a broken back, or I’m in so much pain. But if I start playing basically two months earlier than everybody else and then go through all of next season and the playoffs, then I’m probably going to put myself in a bad position. I couldn’t do that.”
Hard to argue with that.
Griffin knows the Clippers are on the edge of contending, and that he is a big part of that. He’s an explosive player who gets the shoe commercials because of how he finishes running in transition or off the pick-and-roll. But he’s got good post moves (using that elite quickness) and he’s a good passer out of the post.
Most importantly he’s developed a reliable midrange game — this was key. DeAndre Jordan can protect the rim on defense, but on offense he’s not much good outside an arm’s-length from the basket. Griffin had to develop a jumper just to provide spacing in the offense, something that is doubly important come the playoffs (the Clippers need to pull rim protecting bigs out away from the basket, giving Chris Paul more room to operate.
The Clippers were the third best team in the NBA at the end of last season, they just ran into another of the top three in the second round (Oklahoma City) and you throw in the distraction of the Donald Sterling tape going public and they couldn’t advance.
They have a shot next year with a little more depth up front (Spencer Hawes will help). But none of it happens without a healthy Griffin. He’s making the right call this summer.
Bucks guard Sterling Brown said he’d sue the Milwaukee police department over his tasing and arrest last January. The now-filed lawsuit makes the involved police officers look even worse than videos of the incident already did.
Somehow, J.R. Smith and his gaffe in Game of the NBA Finals got involved.
Wesley Lowery of The Washington Post:
Lowery posted the full lawsuit here.
There is a systematic problem where police too frequently trample on the rights of people, disproportionately minorities. Celebrating that intrusion of governmental forces is disgusting and speaks to the mindset that fuels the problem.
A few suspensions won’t fix the problem. Brown’s lawsuit won’t fix the problem.
But, hopefully, it sheds light on the bigger issue and is a step toward a solution. Unfortunately, history suggests the city will settle and just views it as a cost of doing business.
It appears increasingly likely the Suns will draft DeAndre Ayton No. 1 and the Kings will take Marvin Bagley No. 2.
So, Luka Doncic – once more of a consensus top-two prospect – could fall.
All the way to the Mavericks at No. 5? They apparently hope so.
Adrian Wojnarowski on ESPN:
Dallas at five, they’re asking themselves, “Can we stay at five and get Luka Doncic, or do we have to move up to get the player?” Because that is the guy they have targeted for the Mavericks.
I doubt Doncic gets past the Grizzlies at No. 4, though I wouldn’t rule it out. The Hawks could even take him at No. 3.
Could Dallas trade up with Atlanta at No. 3 to get Doncic ahead of Memphis? What about swapping picks with the Grizzlies, maybe even taking Chandler Parsons‘ toxic contract (though that’d come with complications)?
This is a common situation. The Mavericks have the No. 5 pick. They want a player most people rate higher than fifth. Many teams want players rated higher than where they’re drafting.
The big question: What will Dallas do about it?
Chris Paul is reportedly recruiting LeBron James very hard to the Rockets.
Stephen A. Smith of ESPN:
According to my sources, several things are happening. A, Chris Paul is telling folks Lebron ain’t trying to come to Houston. He wants to be in L.A. These are things I’m getting through the grapevine. Chris Paul is saying LeBron wants to be in L.A.
That’s quite believable. LeBron reportedly said he doesn’t like Houston as a city, and we know he likes Los Angeles. Lifestyle matters.
But it won’t be the only consideration. LeBron is still in “championship mode,” and the Rockets are closer than anyone to beating the Warriors. Perhaps, Paul can still convince his friend to join Houston.
But it sounds as if Paul recognizes he’s playing from behind – and so are all other non-Lakers suitors for LeBron.
The Clippers have (an ideally healthier) Patrick Beverley at point guard. Lou Williams and Austin Rivers are comfortable as lead ball-handlers. With the No. 12 or 13 pick, L.A. could add another point guard – Trae Young, Collin Sexton or Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
Where does that leave Milos Teodosic, a 31-year-old who’s coming off a rookie season in which he missed 37 games while dealing with a foot injury?
O. Cauchi of Sportando:
The Los Angeles Clippers, in fact, are not planning to keep the Serbian point guard for the next season, a league source told Sportando.
his health is one of the main concerns behind Clippers’ decision, a source told Sportando. The team would love to add a younger player in that position and fear that Teodosic’s foot issue won’t be fixed easily, sources told Sportando.
Teodosic holds a $6.3 million player option for next season, but just $2.1 million is guaranteed until July 15. He ought to opt in and collect his $2.1 million before moving on. And if he opts in, maybe the Clippers strike out in free agency, don’t need the additional cap flexibility and keep him.
If they go through with waiving him, Teodosic could land with another NBA team or return to Europe. His foot issues could determine whether another NBA team wants him.
Teodosic is a wonderfully creative passer and good shooter. He’s also a woeful defender, and foot problems would only set him back further.