Storyline: Kevin Durant to Clippers?

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Durant, Leonard and Davis are the three best players available and are the only three stars the Clippers are actively pursuing. The Clippers are firmly in contention for Leonard and/or Durant, but Durant’s torn Achilles in Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Monday night — as well as Leonard’s Finals run with the Raptors and Davis’ recently revised trade list — has somewhat clouded the offseason forecast. That is compounded by the fact that missing out on the stars they want will not force the Clippers into a reactionary decision — be it a signing or trade — this offseason, league sources told The Athletic.

Likewise, multiple league sources also told Yahoo Sports they believe the Knicks will still offer an injured Durant a max deal when free agency opens June 30. “What you don’t know is what promises have been made,” one source told Yahoo Sports. “Have the Knicks and Clippers already made such promises? If not, are they willing to get two and a half to three years out of a guy on a four-year contract? Achilles tears take a year out of you and put your other Achilles at a much greater risk.”

Kendrick Perkins, who was a teammate of Durant’s in Oklahoma City and played for Doc Rivers in Boston, further fueled the Durant-to-the-Clippers talk when he sat down with Kristine Leahy on her show “Fair Game.” “Don’t be surprised if K.D. signs with the Clippers,” Perkins said. “Everybody is screaming New York but do not be surprised if K.D. signs and plays for Doc. I don’t even have to recruit him. He likes the organization. He likes Doc Rivers.”

Clippers in the mix for Kevin Durant?

As for the bigger-picture matter of Durant’s future: I am unafraid to announce, with no trace of hot-takery, that firm predictions about what Durant will do when free agency starts in 40 days are ill-advised. Within the last month, very smart and plugged-in people I have consulted say that the Los Angeles Clippers have emerged as an equally dangerous threat to the Knicks to sign Durant away from Golden State. And I believe it.

Clips to chase KD

“I think it’s simple for KD. I think he just tells people one time and one time only. He’ll deal with that when the time comes,” George told Yahoo Sports. “In his mind right now, they’re focusing on a three-peat, they’re focusing on defending that title. That’s the only thing the media needs to worry about. Regardless of if he stays or if he goes, he gave them three great years. That’s what the Bay has to be proud of.” The New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers will take a run at the back-to-back Finals MVP, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

The team learned that the superstar free agent had eliminated it from consideration as he continued to meet with suitors and narrowed his choices. Durant informing the Clippers they were out of contention before making his final decision was a favor in that it allowed them to start executing their fallback strategy of retaining as many of their own free agents as possible. They commenced that portion of their plan by reaching agreements to bring back reserves Austin Rivers and Wesley Johnson.

Arash Markazi: Austin Rivers re-signing with the Clippers mathematically eliminates the Clippers’ “Big 4” pitch to Kevin Durant. The “Big 4” pitch by the Clippers never made much sense roster-wise. $2.8M for 5th starter. Rest of roster comprised of minimum deal guys. Clippers wanted to know today where they stood in the KD race and apparently got their answer. They now turn their attention to their FAs. The KD to the Clippers dream lives on if they trade one of their current “Big 3.” If not they’ll circle back next year when he’s a FA again. The way these deals are going the Clippers couldn’t be sure how many of their guys would be left if they waited until Monday.

Kevin Durant and the Los Angeles Clippers met for approximately four hours Friday night in the Hamptons, and sources close to the situation say Durant was “blown away” by the Clippers’ presentation. Clippers owner Steve Ballmer, president Doc Rivers, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan were present at the meeting. According to a source, Durant was incredibly impressed by the vision and direction of the Clippers and made a strong connection with those at the meeting.

One course of action the Clippers appear interested in trying to sell is the idea of a “Big Four” with Durant joining point guard Chris Paul, forward Blake Griffin and center DeAndre Jordan, fitting Durant’s salary under the salary cap. According to a league source, the Clippers are prepared to send Ballmer, Coach Doc Rivers, new executive vice president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank and General Manager Dave Wohl to Friday’s meeting. Paul, Griffin and Jordan could also end up attending, putting the “Big Four” pitch in three dimensions.

The Clippers’ meeting with Kevin Durant on Friday will be led by coach Doc Rivers and owner Steve Ballmer, but sources indicate that Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and Chris Paul could also attend to pitch the Oklahoma City Thunder free agent on being part of a “Big Four.” Though Durant is meeting with Thunder officials in Oklahoma City Thursday afternoon, sources tell ESPN’s Marc Stein that Oklahoma City is also seeking a second meeting with Durant and his representatives this holiday weekend in the Hamptons.

While all options will be discussed, the Clippers are expected to a highlight a scenario in which Durant would sign a deal to play alongside Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin. To make the most competitive offer possible, the Clippers would have to trade J.J. Redick, Paul Pierce and C.J. Wilcox and renounce the rights to first-round pick Brice Johnson and all of their own free agents. The Clippers could also discuss scenarios in which they trade one member of their “Big Three,” either to a team with cap space or to the Thunder in a sign-and-trade.

Wizards, Celtics, Heat, Knicks, Lakers, Clippers, Rockets, Spurs and, yes, Warriors … that’s merely where the list of teams known to be actively seeking the chance to court KD face-to-face stands. Aggressive teams like the Raptors and Blazers will presumably try their luck too. And there will surely be others we don’t see yet. As one member of the fallen visitors’ inner circle noted after Durant’s fourth-quarter surge couldn’t quite deny the Warriors in Game 7: It’s far easier to make a list of the teams that won’t have the requisite cap space and ambition to try their luck in a month, thanks to the forthcoming Crazy Cap Spike of 2016, than a list of teams that do.
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August 20, 2019 | 3:15 pm EDT Update
David Thorpe: The Clippers enter the 2019-20 season with huge expectations. It’s fair to say that if Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are healthy once the playoffs start, the Clippers are real contenders. Lowering the risk of injury is as high a priority as any single goal they can set. Meanwhile, the Clippers’ lack of perimeter depth in their roster ranks almost as high–they are short on long, athletic wings off the bench. Their coach, Doc Rivers, can address both issues when he first talks to his team just before camp opens in late September. Imagine a team dinner, with all the staff and players, as Rivers starts to speak: “Men, I need you to write down on the calendar in front of you, in pencil, the most important dates of your year, through the middle of April. Your wife’s birthday, your anniversary, the day your children were born, significant dates for your parents, a due date for a baby perhaps. Whatever matters to you and your family. “
David Thorpe: I saw the video last week of DeMarcus Cousins falling down with a reportedly torn ACL. He was not touched. But as someone who has been involved with summer basketball since 1988, I must admit that I’m confused to see so many professionals playing full-court 5-on-5 in the summer. Players would be better off not playing these games. If we can agree that the in-season schedule is at least part of the reason for some of the injuries players have absorbed, can we also agree that in general, games themselves come with more risk than workouts?
Storyline: DeMarcus Cousins Injury
SLAM: It’s been a crazy free agency. What were some of your thoughts on the signings? Scottie Pippen: I still think that Houston is going to be one of the teams that’s going to have the upper edge because they’ve been together with the one addition of bringing in [Russell] Westbrook, who can propel them to the top or to the bottom. It’s going to be an interesting season for not only the Houston Rockets, but the Lakers and Clippers. It’s going to be an interesting season for some teams on the East like Brooklyn. What can Kyrie [Irving] do? He’s going to have a year to go in and establish himself. More than any player in the game, there’s going to be a lot of pressure on him because people are used to seeing him have success and be amongst some of the top teams in the League. It’s not going to be that easy now and it wasn’t easy for him last year [in Boston]. This is—I don’t want to say it’s going to be a make-or-break situation for him—but I think a lot of eyes are on him to see if he has that ability to win again.
2 hours ago via SLAM
SLAM: So who’s the better team: Clippers or Lakers? Scottie Pippen: I would probably say the Clippers just because of where they were last year and the players that they have. They already have the confidence and feel like last year they dominated the Lakers. Now, you give them the Finals MVP [Kawhi Leonard] and one of the top defenders in the game in Paul George. That sends their confidence up through the roof. With the Lakers, I don’t think a guy going into his 17th season can really carry a team the way he needs to carry [it].
2 hours ago via SLAM