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Would Patrick Beverley consider Bulls in free agency? ‘I’m from Chicago. I bleed Chicago.’

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Last season, Patrick Beverley was the beating heart of the Clippers. There were better players (Lou Williams) and a budding star at his position (Shai Gilgeous-Alexander), but Beverley was the motivator, the guy who didn’t take a night off and didn’t let his teammates either. He pushed the Clippers into the playoffs and then got under Kevin Durant‘s skin once there. A lot of people around the league noticed his leadership.

Now Beverley is a free agent.

The Clippers want to bring him back, but first they are going big game hunting (Kawhi Leonard or Kevin Durant, if not them don’t look for the Clippers to wait rather than just sign someone), and then it becomes a matter of money. Beverley will have options. Phoenix, a team desperate for a veteran point guard, is expected to be a suitor.

What about Chicago? A team with interesting young talent in need of a point guard. They could be a fit, and Beverley told K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune he would be up for it — and not just because of the basketball.

“I am Chicago. I’m from Chicago. I bleed Chicago. I really think I can help the city. I think I can save the city,” Beverley said. “I inspire already. And I’d be a great inspiration just walking around the city of Chicago, knowing I’m from there, knowing that someone made it out and you can go and do the same.

“I’m a Chicago kid. So of course I’m open to playing for the Chicago Bulls if that’s a team that’s interested in me. At the same time, any decision that is made, it’s never personal. It’s always business. I have to make the right decision for me and my family.”

Allow me to translate Beverley’s comments: “I am going where I get paid the most.” 

As he should. The Clippers may pay the most to keep him because they know how much he meant to that young team.

Report: Nets, Clippers not getting anywhere with Pelicans on Anthony Davis trade

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A recent Anthony Davis trade-talk update focused on the Lakers and Celtics.

A couple other prominent teams were omitted for a reason.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

The Brooklyn Nets and LA Clippers are two teams with interest in Davis who haven’t been able to gather traction in conversations with New Orleans, league sources said.

Both the Nets and Clippers seemingly have good enough assets to make the Pelicans a compelling offer. Maybe those assets just don’t match what New Orleans wants. Maybe neither Brooklyn nor L.A. is willing to part with enough.

The Nets were reportedly very interested in trading for Davis. But they are also the leading contender to sign Kyrie Irving and could be in play for Kevin Durant. Perhaps, Brooklyn is more focused on that star pairing.

The Clippers’ longstanding pursuit of Kawhi Leonard looks shaky. But they still have other courses. They can remain competitive around Lou Williams, Danilo Gallinari and Montrezl Harrell while simultaneously rebuilding around Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Landry Shamet and two first-round picks – including the Heat’s unprotected 2021 pick – acquired in the Tobias Harris trade.

Davis isn’t the end of the line for either team.

The Celtics are reportedly full steam ahead in trying to land Davis, maybe as part of a last-ditch effort to persuade Irving to stay. The Lakers have only a limited window to contend with LeBron James, and they also have the best assurances of Davis re-signing in 2020.

So, it’d be tough for Brooklyn and L.A. to keep up with those motivated teams. Apparently, the Nets and Clippers aren’t.

Kemba Walker gets super-max eligibility with All-NBA voting; Bradley Beal, Klay Thompson miss out

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Super-max contracts have made All-NBA teams incredibly important.

This year’s selections (first-team votes, second-team votes, third-team votes and voting points in parentheses):

First team

G: James Harden, HOU (100-0-0-500)

G: Stephen Curry, GSW (91-9-0-482)

F: Giannis Antetokounmpo, MIL (100-0-0-500)

F: Paul George, OKC (71-25-3-433)

C: Nikola Jokic, DEN (59-38-2-411)

Second team

G: Damian Lillard, POR (8-87-5-306)

G: Kyrie Irving, BOS (0-52-39-195)

F: Kevin Durant, GSW (29-71-0-358)

F: Kawhi Leonard, TOR (0-73-23-242)

C: Joel Embiid, PHI (40-57-4-375)

Third team

G: Russell Westbrook, OKC (1-43-44-178)

G: Kemba Walker, CHA (0-4-39-51)

F: Blake Griffin, DET (0-13-76-115)

F: LeBron James, LAL (0-13-72-111)

C: Rudy Gobert, UTA (1-5-69-89)

Also receiving votes: Bradley Beal, WAS (0-1-31-34); Klay Thompson, GSW (0-3-18-27); Karl-Anthony Towns, MIN (0-0-20-20); LaMarcus Aldridge, SAS (0-2-11-17); Danilo Gallinari, LAC (0-1-4-7); Ben Simmons, PHI (0-0-7-7); Mike Conley, MEM (0-0-4-4); Donovan Mitchell, UTA (0-0-4-4); Pascal Siakam, TOR (0-0-4-4); Nikola Vucevic, ORL (0-0-4-4); Dwyane Wade, MIA (0-1-0-3); Luka Doncic, DAL (0-1-0-3); Andre Drummond, DET (0-1-0-3); DeMar DeRozan, SAS (0-0-3-3); D’Angelo Russell, BRK (0-0-3-3); Tobias Harris, PHI (0-0-2-2); Devin Booker, PHO (0-0-1-1); Eric Gordon, HOU (0-0-1-1); Jrue Holiday, NOP (0-0-1-1); Kyle Lowry, TOR (0-0-1-1); Lou Williams, LAC (0-0-1-1); Marvin Bagley III, SAC (0-0-1-1); Domantas Sabonis, IND (0-0-1-1); Anthony Davis, NOP (0-0-1-1); Myles Turner, IND (0-0-1-1)

The fallout:

  • Kemba Walker is now eligible for a five-year super-max contract projected to be worth $221 million over five years. Will the Hornets offer it? Would he accept it? Difficult decisions for both sides as he enters free agency this summer.
  • The Wizards dodged a bullet with Bradley Beal placing a fairly distant seventh among guards for three All-NBA spots. A super-max extension for him would have been too large a commitment right now, and not offering it threatened to alienate him. Forces would have been pushing toward a trade. Now, Washington’s options with Beal – who has two years left on his contract – are wide open. If he continues to play well and earns All-NBA in a future season, the Wizards could justify giving him the super-max then.
  • Likewise, the Warriors avoid their payroll skyrocketing as far into the stratosphere. Klay Thompson didn’t make All-NBA and therefore his max contract is capped at five years, projected $190 million. Considering he seems so happy in Golden State, the extra spending power of the super-max likely would have only cost the Warriors money without actually making Thompson more likely to stay.
  • Karl-Anthony Towns missed his last chance to trigger the super-max in his rookie scale extension, which will pay him a projected $158 million over the next five seasons. He would have earned about $32 million more with an All-NBA selection. The Timberwolves now have Towns secured at the lower amount. They surely hope the sense of urgency he showed late this season persists.
  • Damian Lillard has clinched eligibility to sign a super-max extension this offseason (four years, projected $193 million) or the 2020 offseason (five years, projected $250 million). He’ll reportedly ink the deal this summer with the Trail Blazers.
  • Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo will be eligible in the 2020 offseason for a super-max extension projected to be worth $250 million over five years. He’ll probably sign it. But until he does, all eyes will be on him.
  • Anthony Davis can this offseason sign a five-year, super-max extension projected to be worth $235 million with the Pelicans. He doesn’t want to. David Griffin has made noise about keeping Davis into 2020 free agency. But because he missed All-NBA this season, Davis isn’t guaranteed to be super-max-eligible then. He’d have to make All-NBA next season. So, New Orleans would have less of an upper hand in re-signing him – which makes a risky strategy even riskier.
  • The actual All-NBA teams look good to me. I would have picked Bradley Beal and Jrue Holiday over Russell Westbrook and Kemba Walker, but it was close. I have no significant complaints about the players chosen.
  • On the other hand, some of the stray votes: Dwyane Wade (second team!),  Eric Gordon, Domantas Sabonis, Marvin Bagley III. Wow.

Doc Rivers as Clippers look to free agency: ‘This is the start of something great here’

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LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Clippers overcame low expectations and a roster without any current or former All-Stars to win 48 games, make the playoffs and push the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors to six games.

Now they’re ready to go shopping. A blockbuster list of free agents comes on the market this summer.

The Clippers have depth and a cohesive bunch of players who fight to the finish – comeback wins of 31 points in Game 2 against Golden State, 28 points at Boston, 25 points at Detroit and 20 points at Charlotte – and that should help catch the eye of big-name talent.

They went 48-34, extending a franchise record with their eighth consecutive winning season. Their 13-2 mark was the NBA’s best in March.

“We did more than most thought we could,” coach Doc Rivers said. “This is the start of something great here.”

After missing out last year, they returned to the playoffs for the seventh time in eight years. As an eighth seed, they lost in 4-2 in the first round to Golden State, but not before their Game 2 comeback – the biggest in NBA playoff history.

“That’s a beautiful basketball team,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “They’ve got a bright future.”

Some things to watch:

IMPACT ROOKIES: Two of the team’s three rookie guards made a big impact. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander started 73 of 82 games at the point, averaging 10.8 points, 2.8 rebounds and 3.3 assists during the regular season. He scored a Clippers rookie playoff record 25 points against the Warriors. Landry Shamet joined the team in February in a trade from Philadelphia, where he played his first 54 games. He finished fourth all-time in 3-pointers made (167) by a rookie during the season, when he shot 42 percent. Jerome Robinson showed promise while struggling to find minutes in a crowded backcourt, dealing with a nagging foot injury and going back and forth to the G League. The trio’s presence could help make the Clippers an attractive free-agent destination, knowing their youngsters can make plays in big games and have huge upside. “They were complete pros,” Lou Williams said. “They took every challenge that we had for them, on the road, in practice.”

GETTING A STEAL: C Ivica Zubac came over from the Lakers in a steal of a deal at the trade deadline in February. The 7-foot-1 center started 12 of 33 games for his new team, averaging 8.5 points and 4.9 rebounds. He had a playoff career-high of 18 points and 15 rebounds against Golden State. Zubac and Montrezl Harrell formed one of the best center combinations in the league. Zubac, a third-year pro, can become a restricted free agent after the season.

OFF THE BENCH: Harrell and Williams, a candidate for his third Sixth Man of the Year award, proved a lethal combo off the bench. They notched the highest combined scoring average of any reserve duo in NBA history at 36.9 points. Williams led the league in bench scoring at 20.1 points (also tops on the team) while becoming the No. 1 bench scorer in league history. Harrell was fourth at 16.8.

FRONT OFFICE: The Clippers have a solid front-office to pursue free agents. President of basketball operations Lawrence Frank presides over general manager Michael Winger, assistant GMs Mark Hughes and Trent Redden, and consultant Jerry West. Winger is so committed to seeing the franchise build a long-term contender that he took himself out of contention for Minnesota’s basketball ops job. Under Frank, the team traded its highest-scoring players each of the last two seasons (Blake Griffin and Tobias Harris) for multiple draft picks and other players while freeing up room under the salary cap to offer maximum deals to free agents this summer. Coach Doc Rivers is locked in for what’s to come, having said in March he’s working out a long-term contract extension.

Lou Williams, Patrick Beverley praise Kevin Durant after 50-point game

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LOS ANGELES — What can be done to stop Kevin Durant?

After he dropped 95 points in two games on the Clippers — eliminating Los Angeles with the second performance and sending Golden State on to the second round against Houston — the question was posed to Lou Williams and Patrick Beverley of the Clippers.

“What you think?” Beverley said, to laughter, but challenging the reporter. “You played basketball before? What you think? That’s an honest question. What you think?”

“I promise we tried,” Williams said.

Then came high-level praise from an elite scorer himself in Williams, something that sounded almost like a recruiting pitch to a free agent to be.

“Like sometimes… sometimes you come across special people and it doesn’t matter what you send to them. There’s no scheme,” Williams said. “There’s no nothing that you can do with special people. He’s one of them. And he showed it tonight. He put them guys on his shoulders.

“Even the game he came out, he was, like, I’m Kevin Durant; y’all know who I am. That’s like a bold statement to make when you’re about to go see some guys that’s extremely competitive. And he came out that game and he said, I can really shoot over these guys and he did it. It wasn’t lack of effort on our part.

“He’s an all-world professional and he proved himself. He proved exactly who people think he is, who he thinks he is himself and he did it. And you tip your hat off to a guy like that.”

A “guy like that” is exactly what the Clippers need. An elite player who can take a strong core — something the Clippers showed they have this season then pushing the Warriors six games — and turn them into contenders.

Los Angeles is going big game hunting this season, and their playoff performance against the Warriors was part of that recruiting pitch — “look how good we are, look how much fun we have playing, how hard we go every game, don’t you want to be a part of that?

The Clippers have been most often linked to Kawhi Leonard, and most people around the league think if Leonard leaves the Raptors it will be for the Clippers. However, Durant’s name has come up as a Clippers’ target as well (even though most sources think he is bound for New York). Never hurts to make a little recruiting pitch early.