It also includes the periphery relationship-building that is equally important, learning who matters most inside said player’s inner circle and, in essence, what makes them tick. The gray area that comes with recruiting is where it gets trickier, not only because of tampering rules that govern such matters (albeit not very well) but because of the tougher-to-define desire across the league for some professional courtesy in such matters. Yet the Raptors officials with whom I spoke, and who are hoping their mid-July trade with San Antonio to make him their centerpiece wasn’t a one-year rental, expressed no concern over the Clippers’ style. And if what transpired after that Raptors-Clippers game is any indication, it’s quite clear that this isn’t about getting Leonard to notice them or their efforts.
In this post-“Moneyball” era, many sports franchises have gone to great lengths to maximize their statistical focus, in some cases hiring journalists with a quantitative bent. Just last year, to much less fanfare, Jenkins’s friend Luke Winn left Sports Illustrated, where he’d covered college basketball, to fill a new position created by the Toronto Raptors—director of prospect strategy—that seems to combine old-fashioned scouting with the contemporary vogue for analytics. (“I probably picked up the phone ten times during this process, like, ‘I should call Luke right now,’ ” Jenkins told me. “But I didn’t. I didn’t want to seem like I was at the N.B.A. job fair.”) It stands to reason that there may now be comparative advantages, however small, to be gained from concentrated efforts to assess the intangibles with an outsider’s eyes: about the extent to which boys from chaotic households may become men who crave order in their daily routines, say, or about the predictive nature of automobile preferences.
It’s also not very expensive, given the disparity between journalists’ wages and athletes’ millions. Jenkins, for his part, downplayed the applicability of Lewis’s theory, perhaps realizing that being implicated as a spy or a therapist would diminish his effectiveness in the role. “It’s not sports psychology,” he said, of his new gig, adding that talking to players who are already under contract with other teams is considered “tampering,” and punishable by fines or worse. Neither, he said, does the job involve “P.R.” He won’t be writing copy for the team’s Web site. The only kind of externally directed writing he could imagine possibly engaging in was helping to craft letters to players’ representatives, or agents, not so much as a primary element of the job but in the collaborative sense of “looking for ways that I can add value.”
Jenkins is believably adamant that the looming sale of the magazine he’d dreamed of writing for since he was fifteen had “absolutely nothing” to do with his seizing an unusual opportunity. He said that he’d always expected to be “the last guy before they turn the lights out,” and that he intends to return to full-time writing, only with a deeper base of knowledge about how the league operates from inside, in the future. He hopes he’ll last in the new job for more than a year, but sounded skeptical of my alternative suggestion that he could remain with the Clippers for as many as five years, let alone the fifteen that Bill James has been with the Red Sox. When I asked if he’d considered writing a book about the experience, he said that he didn’t anticipate doing so.
Doc Rivers set a goal of winning an NBA championship upon taking the job, just as he’d done in Boston, which won a title in 2008. He knew he needed top players to do that. To get stars he needed the perception of the franchise, long one of the league’s least successful and most woebegone, to change. “That has happened,” Rivers said. “Now when you hear people come, when they say, ‘Well I want to go to L.A.,’ and when you hear rumors they want to go to L.A., they mean both teams. And sometimes they mean only our team. To me, that’s a level of success that tells you we’re doing something right here.”
Jenkins, 41, will be working alongside Clippers president of basketball of operations Lawrence Frank and general manager Michael Winger in the franchise's reshaped front office. Jenkins has worked at Sports Illustrated for the past 11 years, with assignments that included revelatory cover stories and features on the biggest stars in the NBA. "As a reporter, I can ask a hundred questions to a hundred people, but I could never know what really goes on behind the curtain," Jenkins told ESPN on Monday night. "The deadline. The draft. Free agency. All the strategy and gymnastics and prep work that goes into those events, but also the every day of an organization. On a personal level, I came to the realization that no matter how many player profiles I write, I still have a ton to learn about the NBA, and the best way to learn it is through immersion.
Jake Fischer: I’ve half-joked for years I wanted to be @SI_LeeJenkins when I grew up. Extremely bittersweet day. Nobody has ever had a bad thing to say about Lee. He’s an unfathomably kind person, and I’ve been ineffably lucky to call him a mentor and friend. That being said, this is awesome.
Andrew Sharp: Very, very happy for @SI_LeeJenkins. He’s one of the kindest people I’ve dealt with in sports, and he was always more generous with help than he ever needed to be. Now time for him to get on a jet to Toronto and make some connections with Uncle Dennis 👀👀🙌🙌🙌
Adi Joseph: Lee Jenkins is my hero. Not because he’s a great writer or reporter but because he’s so genuinely ridiculously nice. Which makes him a great reporter, which helps him be a great writer.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Sports Illustrated’s Lee Jenkins has agreed to join the Los Angeles Clippers front office, league sources tell ESPN. Jenkins’ title will be Executive Director of Research and Indentity, and he’ll work alongside President Lawrence Frank, GM Michael Winger and basketball ops staff.
The L.A. Clippers have exercised their right of first refusal and will retain guard Tyrone Wallace, it was announced today by President of Basketball Operations Lawrence Frank. Per NBA rule, the Clippers had two days to match the offer sheet provided to Wallace by the New Orleans Pelicans.
“We identified Tyrone as a versatile, competitive and tough-minded player who adds to the organizational culture,” said Frank. “Ty worked hard with our staff at Agua Caliente and Los Angeles, and his growth has been a reflection of his commitment to getting better. Together with our team’s player development program, Ty demonstrated impressive improvement and contributed meaningfully to our team last season. We are excited to welcome Ty back to the Clippers.”
On whether Teodosic and Marjanovic will play for Serbia in September: “On Tuesday, I have a final meeting with the Los Angeles Clippers‘ General Manager, Lawrence Frank, after which I will know everything on Milos Teodosic and Boban Marjanovic’s situations and whether they’ll join the team. Both of them travelled to Los Angeles to meet with doctors and athletic trainers. On Monday and Tuesday they will practice, and then a decision will be made. Most likely on Wednesday, the roster will feature 16 players.”
He also likes where he’s at in terms of job description, though he says things haven’t shifted much in his tenure. “I’m still doing basically the same stuff,” Rivers said. “It’s interesting. I don’t think my role has changed since I’ve been there. “When I first came, I was just the coach, but I was involved in every decision. Then I was the president, and I was involved in every decision. Now I’m the coach and whatever other title I have — I have another title, but I don’t even know what that is — but I’m still involved in every decision, so it really hasn’t changed much. My workload has changed some though. It’s less now, and that’s good. Before this last title change, I was hiring different people so I didn’t have to do everything, and that was the intent.”
When the Clippers’ scouting department made their respective prospect rankings, Frank claims they were almost unanimous in evaluating Robinson as an NBA-ready scorer and lottery talent that would be the logical pick in the Clippers’ draft range. “It’d be one thing if I just had that opinion,” Frank said. “But when we do our scout rankings, we don’t allow out other scouts to look at the other scouts’ rankings because we don’t want to get into the group thing and you want to avoid the echo chamber. When you just kept on seeing [Jerome], you’re like, ‘OK, I think we’re onto something.’”
Though Robinson didn’t win over all of his skeptics in the media ahead of the draft — some mock drafts still had him as a late first-round pick as recently as a few days before the draft — Frank and his front office refused to waver in their confidence in the 21-year-old. “Internally we were always very, very high on him,” Frank told The Athletic. “And we thought, if you’re going to allow the mock drafts to determine your decision-making, that’s probably a little bit skewed. But we did think eventually the rest of the basketball media community would catch on to how good he is.”
Almost a Knick? West strongly shot down the notion, which was in circulation earlier this season, that the Knicks made a run at hiring him as a front-office consultant before the Clippers did. "No truth whatsoever," West said. But he did surprise me a bit by revealing that he fully expected to land with the Knicks in the 1960 draft. The Lakers had the No. 2 overall pick and selected West before the Knicks were forced to settle for Darrall Imhoff at No. 3. Referring to the intense fan interest and media scrutiny in New York, West said: "I always thought that would be an interesting place to be."
Said West: “Leaving the Warriors was probably the most difficult thing for me in my whole life. I didn’t want to leave. You get to the point where maybe you don’t feel as valued, but it’s just something that happened. I hold no malice toward anyone over there. “It did not end the way I wanted it to, that’s for sure. But this is a perfect role for me. People ask me my opinion, and I’m going to give it to them.”
Ballmer and West eventually came to terms on a two-year deal. “If he still wants to do it, we can go beyond that,” Ballmer said. “Now that I know him better, I can’t see him retiring.” Neither can West. “I’m not a person that does very well when I don’t have a reason to get up in the morning,” he said.
Do the Clippers hold on to those picks and wait for July 2019 to make their next big free-agent push? Do they try to package one or both in a potential trade this off-season to pursue an established star like San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard? Frank and Ballmer will ultimately make those calls, but West expects to have significant say. “I don’t just want to be a figurehead,” West said. “You want to be a part of the decision-making process. I don’t have the final decision here, but I do have a voice.”
The idea to pursue West came from Ballmer’s former Harvard classmate-turned-Clippers minority shareholder Dennis Wong, who was once part of Golden State’s ownership group. “He kept saying, ‘We need a guy like Jerry West,’ ” Ballmer said. “I kept saying, ‘Show me one guy in the world who’s like Jerry West.’ Then last season Dennis said: ‘Did you know he’s near the end of his contract? Jerry West is like Jerry West.’”
Although nothing has been made official, all indications are that Rivers and Ballmer have reached an agreement on a multiyear extension that will keep Rivers here for a remodeling job that will begin soon. This is big. This is cornerstone big. This is the Clippers setting the foundation for the post Lob City era with a guy who is coaching even better now than when he led them through the Donald Sterling crisis upon his arrival five years ago.
The extension of Rivers' contract will be his next big move, and here's guessing it won't be his last. "It feels like the start of something,'' Rivers said this week. "I feel like we're on a level playing field, not only on the floor, but off the floor. Steve understands what it takes to make an organization solid, he wants to do the right thing''
When Altman visited with James in the Cavaliers' practice facility a week ago, he let him know that there were still talks alive with the LA Clippers on a Jordan deal. What's more, there was significant progress: Altman had ownership approval to send the Clippers Jae Crowder, Channing Frye, Iman Shumpert and the Cavs' 2018 first-round pick for Jordan. The Clippers were willing to accept the trade, but on one significant condition. Clippers general manager Michael Winger explained to Altman that LA didn't want another shooting guard. He hoped to find a third team that would take Shumpert and his $21 million with draft compensation, and have the Clippers get a center back. Altman and Winger agreed to make more calls to try to find a third team to make the deal work. Winger wondered whether Altman would let him talk to Shumpert's agent about a possible contract buyout, but Altman wanted trade talks to be further along before granting that permission.
There’s a price for that, though. Ownership has no interest in a Sixers-like rebuild, a team source told Yahoo Sports, but it’s hard to see L.A. as anything but middle of the pack. The Clippers were 8-8 without Griffin this season. Bradley is one of the NBA’s most underrated players, and Harris, at 25, is having his best season. Sure, if things break right — the season-ending injury to DeMarcus Cousins will likely clear one team from the field in front of them — the Clips could make the playoffs … where a first-round butt-kicking awaits them.
Ramona Shelburne: Third reaction to Clippers trading Blake Griffin. Their new front office of Jerry West, Lawrence Frank, Michael Winger has clearly convinced Steve Ballmer it's time for a rebuild. That's a huge step for the new group and Ballmer for listening. Question is: who has his ear?
After serving as team president in the NBA's coveted "dual role" of lead basketball executive and head coach, Doc Rivers is now a mere mortal in the first chair, a job for which he's under contract through the summer of 2019. Sources with knowledge of the Clippers' thinking say owner Steve Ballmer is eager to see what Rivers can do as a coach with more limited talented. With the Clippers playing a spirited brand of basketball after (and even amid) their late-autumn swoon, the powers that be have entertained no serious thoughts of a midseason shakeup.
He might even agree, to an extent, with those who see him that way. "People are like, 'Well, his dad [Doc Rivers] gave him his chance.' Is that true or not? I don't know. It might be," Austin Rivers said. "[But] could it be that my pops knew how good I could be because he's my pops? "He told me on the phone [when the Clippers traded for him in 2015], 'If it doesn't work out, we'll just cut ways at the end of the year, keep it clean, and you can go on and try to figure it out.'"
Azoff brought Dolan and Jackson together in 2014, but in this instance, West told Azoff that the time wasn’t right to come to New York. Instead he opted to settle into an advisory role to Clippers owner Steve Ballmer.
Ballmer, to review, spent last summer making drastic changes to the way in which roster decisions are made while sparing no expense. The 61-year-old, who stands at No. 15 on Forbes’ latest list of wealthiest Americans, lured Jerry West away from the Golden State Warriors as a consultant in mid-July, paying him between $4 million and $5 million annually to be a trusted and unfiltered voice on all personnel matters.
Paul reportedly had issue with Austin, especially after Doc Rivers was unable to make a rumored deal for Carmelo Anthony that would’ve sent Austin Rivers, Paul Pierce and Crawford to New York. Rivers denies that he rejected a deal in order to keep his son and takes issue with criticism of Austin and how he coached him. “I don’t think we’ve really heard a former player actually say that. It was reported,” Rivers told The Vertical. “I think Austin, it will always be unfair to him, throughout his career. He was a McDonald’s All-American. I guess that was because of me. The game-winning shot against North Carolina? Somehow I made that shot. He was drafted 10th. I guess that was me, too. He’s always got to deal with extra crap. He’s an easy target. It’s very easy for reporters. Use his name, and you’ll get hits. I’ve told Austin this a lot. ‘Is it a fair shake? But the lifestyle you’ve been able to live growing up, you had that advantage.’ ”
They were sitting in a meeting on the eve of free agency, when one of the NBA’s icons captured the room for Blake Griffin. With owner Steve Ballmer, coach Doc Rivers and Los Angeles Clippers teammates, Jerry West captivated Griffin, who made clear his desire to return. West had been hired as a special consultant with the Clippers, and the first task he had embraced was persuading Griffin to re-sign with Los Angeles. For all of the voices in the final meeting before midnight, West’s resonated, and Blake returned.
“Jerry had a major voice to me, and he’s had an influence in coming and working on the culture here,” Griffin told The Vertical. “This franchise had unfinished business, and I had unfinished business here. We had unfinished business together and I valued that. We laid it out there that no matter what was going on around us, both sides hadn’t accomplished what we set out for. I couldn’t abandon this now.”
The Clippers pulled off one of several blockbuster trades in a wild NBA summer when they dealt Chris Paul to the Houston Rockets, but it was Paul who wanted out of Los Angeles, not the other way around. And in an appearance on ESPN’s The Hoop Collective podcast with Kevin Arnovitz, head coach Doc Rivers admitted “there were a lot of reasons” why one of the best point guards in NBA history was ready to move on. “I think he was tired of hearing my voice,” Rivers said. “I think Chris is a guy who is very opinionated, wants to be coached 'kind of,' if you know what I'm saying, but wants a partnership as well. And it's tough from a coaching perspective. You gotta have a partnership but at times, you've gotta make the call. I thought that bothered him.
Shams Charania: The Los Angeles Clippers are hiring Knicks executive Mark Hughes as assistant general manager, league sources tell The Vertical.
Brad Turner: Can confirm Michael Winger has accepted Clippers GM job, per source. Also, Dave Wohl, who had been Clips GM, is now special advisor to team.
Oklahoma City Thunder executive Michael Winger has reached an agreement in principle to become the general manager of the LA Clippers, league sources told ESPN on Wednesday. The Clippers offered Winger the job late last week, and the sides have agreed on terms for a multi-year contract.
On Monday, the former Lakers legend and Hall of Famer talked about his move south an interview with The Athletic's Tim Kawakami. "Frankly it was very sad, OK? It really was. A place where I thought that if I was going to work another year or if somebody wanted me to work another year, I thought I could contribute; I did not want to leave. I did not want to leave. I was very happy there. But those things happen sometimes. Obviously to be around a bunch of players that were as together as any I’ve seen and I think more importantly the talent that was on that team and to see the joy. There’s a lot of joy there. I think those are the kind of environments where people really prosper."
West then explains why he's not with the Warriors anymore. "It was time for me to leave. I’m in Los Angeles again. For me, I’ll have a chance to go in the office a little bit and watch some of the people that have been hired, to watch our coaches coach. I’ve often said I’ve done some crazy things in my life because of the timing and maybe the timing was right."
Redden worked with Winger in Cleveland, where he rose in the executive ranks as a well-regarded talent evaluator who worked under Danny Ferry, Chris Grant and Griffin. He will complement Winger, who has established a reputation as an expert strategist with a steady administrative hand and strong negotiating skills. For years, the Clippers had among the thinnest staffs in the NBA under the thrifty ownership of Donald Sterling. Since the arrival of Steve Ballmer in 2014, the franchise has grown into a robust organization with a basketball operations department that has expanded exponentially in size. Sources say the team has plans to add another assistant general manager to its brain trust.
Kevin Arnovitz: Longtime Cavs exec Trent Redden will join the Clippers as their new assistant general manager, league sources say.
Brad Turner: Clippers hired Trent Redden as assistant GM, per source. Redden was fired from same position with Cavaliers, along with GM David Griffin.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Michael Winger, close to deal as new Clippers GM, and Redden worked together with Cleveland. They'll work under president Lawrence Frank. twitter.com/kevinarnovitz/…
The LA Clippers have offered Oklahoma City Thunder executive Michael Winger its general manager's job, league sources told ESPN. A deal could be finalized soon, league sources said. Winger, an assistant GM/team counsel for the Thunder, would report directly to new Clippers President of Basketball Operations, Lawrence Frank.
Fred Katz: Thunder have two assistant GMs along with Troy Weaver but this will be a big loss for them. Winger is very well-respected.
Rivers remains an elite coach, and it's a misjudgment to believe that Ballmer moving him out of the front office is a prelude to running him out of the organization. If the Clippers' new top basketball executive had been anyone else but Frank, Rivers might have walked himself. There's trust there, and a bond. This structure can work for the Clippers, and Rivers could end up signing a coaching extension beyond the two years, $23 million left on his contract.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver believes that Rivers did a great service to the franchise's value, and to the NBA, with how he held together the organization and its star players through the tumult of the Sterling nightmare. Silver wasn't necessarily against Rivers' ascension to the top of the Clippers masthead, but the commissioner has privately expressed concerns to owners and senior franchise officials in several instances, case by case, about the dynamic of the coach-in-charge model, league sources said.
Rivers' losing his front office duties isn't so much an indictment of his individual fitness for the duties, but the fact that it is suited for no one coach in this modern era. For everyone trying to replicate the San Antonio dynasty, understand this: The Spurs have the greatest coach (Gregg Popovich) and greatest executive (RC Buford) of a generation. As much as it's the ultimate model, it's the ultimate aberration too. Popovich defers to Buford's expertise and judgment, in ways that Minnesota president and coach Tom Thibodeau will likely never do with a GM.
Brad Turner: Doc Rivers will still earn his entire salary of $10-plus million per season, source said.
Brad Turner: Ballmer did explain his decision on new Doc's role changing to Jerry West, the team's consultant, per source.
LA Clippers owner Steve Ballmer is returning Doc Rivers to the primary duty of head coach, freeing him of front office responsibilities, the owner told ESPN on Friday. Rivers, who held the title of president of basketball operations, will continue to have a strong voice in personnel and organizational matters and will partner with Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Lawrence Frank, Ballmer told ESPN Friday. Frank will now oversee basketball operations, including the general manager.
Both Frank and Rivers will report directly to the owner. Frank and Rivers enjoy a strong personal and professional relationship, which has allowed for them to cement a shared vision on the franchise's future.
"I've owned the team for three years now, and I really better understand what an owner's responsibility is -- and it turns out that running a franchise and coaching are two enormous and different jobs," Ballmer told ESPN on Friday. "The notion that one person can fairly focus on them and give them all the attention they need isn't the case. To be as good as we can be, to be a championship franchise, we need two functioning strong people building teams out beneath them. There needs to be a healthy discussion and debate with two strong, independent minded people.
Brad Turner: Clippers interviewed Mark Hughes Thursday for assistant GM job, per source. Hughes is director of player personnel for Knicks.
Marc J. Spears: Former NBA player Gerald Madkins is departing from the Clippers to be the Knicks' new assistant GM, sources told @TheUndefeated.
Brad Turner: Gary Sacks has resigned from his position of assistant GM with Clippers to pursue other interest, per sources. His contract expired June 30.
Ramona Shelburne: Wanna know Jerry West's influence on the Clippers? You're seeing it. He was not in favor of the "just bring everyone back" plan.
Jerry West says his new role with the L.A. Clippers DOES NOT require him to get involved in the efforts to resign Blake Griffin and Chris Paul ... telling TMZ Sports, "It's not my responsibility." West was playing coy when we saw him leaving Caffe Roma in Bev Hills on Tuesday -- saying it's up to other key members of the organization to bring in the players ... "I'm just an adviser."
West, who officially joined the Clippers on Monday as a consultant, will be heavily involved. Rivers said when West first arrived he started listing players the Clippers should target, a list that turned out to match the one the Clippers had already made. Rivers said owner Steve Ballmer started laughing and said, “Jeez, you guys are a match made in heaven.”
Do the Laker moves at all, do they affect you today?” Jerry West: “Well, what have they done? You know something, every year when people… I love Earvin Johnson, OK? I love him. I will admire him forever. But just because people do things doesn’t always make it right. How many times has the first player failed in the draft? Three times. Everyone gets excited about the draft. I’m excited even though the Clippers don’t have a draft pick at this point in time. Laker fans should be excited about it, they should be. But there’s so much more to this than meets the eye.
According to two people with knowledge of the situation, West’s potential ability to improve the Clippers’ chances of landing the Cleveland Cavaliers star in free agency in the summer of 2018 was a significant factor in his hiring and in the willingness of owner Steve Ballmer to pay West between $4 and $5 million annually.
Ric Bucher: Connecting dots just for the heck of it: Jerry West, new LAC consultant, once tried to hire David Griffin in Memphis.
Ramona Shelburne: Jerry West, "I heard Steve Ballmer was rich. I heard that. But the thing that shocked me was, he has got the most common appeal"
An official announcement is not expected until next week, another executive said, possibly as early as Monday. “Obviously, it’s attractive to him because he lives in the Los Angeles area and started his career as a player in L.A. with the Lakers,” one executive said. “This is the place for him to go because he’s looking for things to do still. He’s looking for another challenge.” Even after West met with Clippers owner Steve Ballmer and Doc Rivers, the team’s coach and president of basketball operations, on May 30 at the team’s practice facility in Playa Vista, the executives said West “twice changed his mind” before deciding Wednesday that he wanted to join the Clippers.
After six years as a special consultant, Jerry West is leaving the Golden State Warriors to take a similar job with the Los Angeles Clippers, SI.com has learned. West, who turned 79 as the NBA Finals began, made his decision over the last couple of weeks.
But recently, West himself told friends that he wondered whether Myers really needed his input much any more — that Myers had grown so much in the position, West’s voice maybe would be more valuable somewhere else. West pushed for Myers to get the promotion to team president and a large raise last summer, but pointedly West did not get an extension at the same time — their previous extensions had been relatively simultaneous.
Kevin Durant probably was going to sign with the Warriors last July even if he didn’t get a last-minute phone call from West, but Durant taking that call was an indicator that he wanted to talk to a league legend, who happened to be affiliated with the Warriors, and that Durant was ready to sign on.
Can you give an update on your talks with the Clippers and your future with the Warriors? Jerry West: I don’t have any update on that. I’ve got a decision to make. I don’t know what that decision is going to be. I don’t really want to talk about it.
Jerry West insists he knows NOTHING about the Clippers reportedly trying to steal him away from the Golden State Warriors ... but watch the video -- and pay attention to that smirk! West is currently an executive board member for the Warriors -- but ESPN's Marc Stein reported the Clippers are actively courting him to L.A.
Jerry West, one of the NBA’s foremost executives, is “very intrigued” about joining forces with the Clippers, said two league executives who were not authorized to speak publicly about the ongoing talks.
Jerry West, one of the NBA’s foremost executives, is “very intrigued” about joining forces with the Clippers, said two league executives who were not authorized to speak publicly about the ongoing talks. West, an executive board member with the Golden State Warriors who consults with the team’s basketball operations, would also be an advisor with the Clippers with a strong say as a consultant, the executives said.
West recently met with Clippers owner Steve Ballmer and Doc Rivers, the team’s coach and president of basketball operations, said the executives. The Clippers got permission from the Warriors to speak with West, one executive said. “But nothing is going to happen any time soon,” the executive said.
If West were to join the Clippers, there is a chance he would hire his son, Ryan West, who is the assistant director of scouting for the Lakers, in a front-office job with the Clippers, one executive said.
Brad Turner: Was just told per source that Jerry West is "very intrigued" about working with the Clippers, as @Marc Stein first reported.
Marc Stein: Updating the Clippers/Jerry West story: League sources say West has already held talks w/owner Steve Ballmer and coach/president Doc Rivers.
The LA Clippers have expressed interest in hiring NBA legend Jerry West away from the Golden State Warriors, sources told ESPN. League sources told ESPN that the Clippers would like to bring West into their organization in an advisory capacity, similar to the role he has held with the Warriors since May 2011.
Jovan Buha: Doc was adamant that he just coaches and Lawrence Frank runs the day-to-day GM duties for the team. Doc simply has final say with his role.
For one thing, Rivers isn’t leaving the Clippers. He’s owed $22 million-plus over the next two years, and he has the confidence of Ballmer. The Clippers didn’t promote Lawrence Frank to executive vice president of basketball operations, give him a long-term deal, only to tear apart the management structure months later. Ballmer, Rivers and Frank have worked to build out the front office and scouting department, and examine the processes of what they all agreed was the most important summer in franchise history.
There has been a lot of talk about current Clippers president Doc Rivers making a return to Orlando, where he still maintains his off-season home. However, sources close to that situation said that Rivers addressed the rumors with Clippers owner Steve Ballmer back in March and pledged to stay in his current deal, a deal that pays him north of $11 million per year to skipper the Clippers as coach and team president.
July 26, 2021 | 7:35 pm EDT Update
Cade Cunningham has been the public favorite to go No. 1 to the Detroit Pistons since the lottery. While Detroit is surely doing its due diligence, is there any reason to doubt that Cunningham will be the first name we hear on Thursday night? Matt Babcock: I expect Cade Cunningham to be the top overall pick in this draft, selected by the Detroit Pistons. However, I’ve been told that the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder have been knocking the Pistons’ door down. Rumor has it that the Thunder offered the No. 6 pick and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in exchange for No. 1 — the Pistons declined. If the Pistons receive an offer better than that one, they may need to seriously consider it.
Scottie Barnes has moved up to No. 4 in your latest mock draft, breaking through what is generally considered to be a four-player top tier of Cunningham, Evan Mobley, Jalen Green and Jalen Suggs. What inspired you to make that change? Babcock: Scottie Barnes’ draft stock seems to be at an all-time high. There’s a lot of buzz swirling around that he’ll be going to either the Toronto Raptors at No. 4 or Orlando Magic at No. 5. I’m not completely convinced that Barnes will end up in Toronto at No. 4; however, it’s what I decided to go with for now. Another thing worth noting is that I’ve heard Toronto is very high on Evan Mobley, who I do not think will be available at No. 4. I could see a trade between Toronto and either Houston or the Cleveland Cavaliers making sense.
Five teams (Oklahoma City, Orlando, Golden State, New York and Houston) currently own multiple first-round picks. Do you expect movement from any of these squads? Babcock: There has been so much trade chatter this year among those teams, but most of the other teams, too. I fully expect there to be a ton of movement prior to, or during, this year’s draft.
However, two other names also are swirling around. Moses Moody has been someone league sources have said the Grizzlies are very interested in. He’s one of the most intriguing 3-and-D guys in the draft. In his one year at Arkansas, he made 35.8 percent of his 3-pointers, and nearly 50 percent of his shots came from beyond the arc. Nobody is blown away by 35.8 percent, but scouts/executives believe in his shot and are encouraged by the 81.2 percent he shot from the free throw line. Free-throw percentage is often an indicator of someone discovering long-distance accuracy.
Charlotte Hornets GM Mitch Kupchak has been around the NBA for the better part of five decades, dating back to his days in the late 1970s with Washington. So when he witnesses something a bit unusual, as he has for a hefty portion of these past two months since the season ended, it should be noted.
“Our gym has been just full of activity for the last 6-8 weeks,” Kupchak said Monday during his pre-draft availability. “Our coach has done a great job of setting up times for players to come in. Starting with treatment, training room, migrating to the weight room, then going upstairs (to the gym) and getting shots in. Tuesdays and Thursdays, they have fun, they scrimmage. Unlike any gym that I’ve been around in a long, long time.
“Players like living in Charlotte. They are staying here and they are coming in every day to work out. Even on a Friday — which we call a flex day — in which a player might want to get away for a weekend a lot of these guys are still coming in on Friday.”
That includes LiAngelo Ball. As first reported by SI.com’s All Hornets, LaMelo’s older brother is expected to be on Charlotte’s summer league roster when it’s finalized before the team heads off to Las Vegas in just under two weeks. “Melo and his brother LiAngelo — I call him Gelo — he showed up about a month ago,” Kupchak said. “We allow our players to have a workout partner. They can come in during the morning on odd hours or the afternoon or at night and come back. And they would be working out together. And then on scrimmage days, they would scrimmage.”