Clippers’ Frank on Zubac: ‘He does whatever is needed’

The Los Angeles Clippers have agreed to a contract extension with center Ivica Zubac, the team announced Tuesday.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, it’s a three-year, $33 million extension; the Clippers declined his $7.5M team option for 2022-2023, clearing the way for Zubac’s new deal.

Last season, the 25-year-old Zubac started 76 games for the Clippers and averaged career-highs in points (10.3), rebounds (8.5), assists (1.6), and blocked shots (1.0). The 7-foot center also set a career-high with 25 double-doubles, the most for a Clipper since 2017-18. 

“For four seasons, Zu has been a pillar of our team, durable and dependable,” said Clippers president of basketball operations, Lawrence Frank. “He does whatever is needed: setting screens, rolling to the rim, anchoring the interior of the defense. He is a reliable teammate and a consistent pro, just entering the prime of his career. We are excited to continue growing with him.”

Zubac has appeared in 360 games and owns career averages of 8.3 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 1.1 assists in 19.0 minutes during his six-year NBA career with the Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers. Selected 32nd overall in the 2016 NBA Draft, Zubac ranks fourth in the NBA in total games played (220) over the past three seasons.

Report: Wall, Rockets agree to buyout, expected to sign with Clippers

Update: According to Klutch Sports(Wall’s agent), it’s a two-year, $13.2 million contract with the Los Angeles Clippers.

Expect to see John Wall on the court next season.

According to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon, Wall, who opted into the final year of his contract, and the Rockets reached a buyout agreement, shaving $6.5 million off of his $47.4 million salary.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Wall is planning to sign with the Los Angeles Clippers once he clears waivers.

Last season, Wall, who the Wizards traded to the Rockets in 2020, and Houston agreed that he would be shut down for the 2021-22 season.

Over the past few seasons, the 31-year-old Wall, who signed a four-year supermax contract at $170 million with the Wizards, battled injuries. In the 2018-19 season, he missed most of the season after a left heel injury. While recovering from the heel injury, the five-time All-Star ruptured his left Achilles tendon at his home. The 12-year veteran missed all of the 2019-20 season. 

It should be interesting to see what role he will have with the Clippers, who are looking to contend for a championship next season. When healthy, Wall can still play at a decent level. The last time we saw him on the court was in 2021, Wall averaged 20.6 points and 6.9 assists per game, so fortunately for him, he gets his money and an opportunity to compete for a championship.

Clips’ Frank on Covington: ‘We thought he would be a great fit for our team’

The LA Clippers have agreed to a contract extension with Robert Covington, the team announced Saturday.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, it’s a two-year, $24 million contract extension.

In February, Covington, along with Norman Powell, was acquired by the Clippers from the Blazers.

According to Clippers president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank, Covington is a great fit for the team.

“When we acquired Cov in February, we thought he would be a great fit for our team, and the past few months confirmed our belief,” said Frank. “He is an active, intelligent defender, and an excellent shooter who flourished in our system. We wanted to extend our relationship with Cov and are thrilled he wanted the same.”

Covington, 31, appeared in 71 games (42 starts) for the Clippers and Portland Trail Blazers last season, averaging 8.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 1.3 blocked shots.

The 6-foot-7 forward was the only player in the NBA this season to post at least 90 steals and 90 blocks. On April 1 against Milwaukee, Covington made 11 three-pointers, a Clippers franchise record, and became the only player in NBA history to finish a game with at least 43 points, 11 threes, eight rebounds and three blocked shots.

Covington holds career averages of 11.6 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 1.5 assists in 537 appearances across nine NBA seasons with the Houston Rockets, Philadelphia 76ers, Minnesota Timberwolves, Trail Blazers and Clippers.

Cavs’ Bickerstaff has high praise for Evan Mobley

On Monday night, the Cleveland Cavaliers began a five-game homestand against the Los Angeles Clippers.

Eight of Cleveland’s next nine games are at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

Cleveland got some help as Caris LeVert(foot), who missed eight games, and Lauri Markkanen(ankle), who missed the team’s loss to Chicago, made their return.

Evan Mobley, Darius Garland, and Isaac Okoro combined for 74 points as the Cavs defeated the Clippers 120-111 in overtime. 

Both the Clippers and Cavs had six players in the double figures.

Cleveland’s (39-29) two-game losing streak is over, while the Clippers(36-35) have lost four of six. 

Here is the Great, Not So Great, and the Bottom Line of the Cavs’ win over the Clippers.

The Great for the Cavs:

-Evan Mobley continued his impressive rookie season Monday night. He had a career-high 30 points to go along with six rebounds and two blocks. Mobley’s recorded his 100th block in OT as he denied Ivica Zubac’s dunk attempt. He became the fourth player in team history to have 100 blocks as a rookie in a season.

-Darius Garland had 24 points(4/9 3pt FG) and 13 assists. With just under three minutes to go and the game tied at 100, Garland hit a floater, and with the game tied at 103, Garland hit a three with 1:20 left in the fourth. He made big shots against the Clippers, and he has recorded at least 24 points in 10 of the last 11 games. 

-Isaac Okoro will always bring defense, but he did that and a little more against Los Angeles. The second-year guard had 20 points(11-13 FT), five rebounds, and five assists. The 11 free throws made are a career-high, and this was his first 20-5-5 game of his career. Cleveland is tough to beat when Okoro gets it done on the offensive end.

-Lauri Markkanen scored five of his 17 points(4/6 3pt FG) in OT. He also grabbed nine rebounds. Markkanen made a dagger three to put Cleveland up 118-111 with 54.3 seconds left in OT. He’s been in double figures in eight of his last nine games.

Three-point shooting: Cleveland bounced back Monday night after shooting 5/24 from three-point range in Saturday’s loss to the Bulls. They were 15/30 from deep against Los Angeles.

Third Quarter:  Los Angeles led 57-56 at halftime. After the Clippers took an eight-point lead with just over six minutes to go in third, Cleveland went on a 20-6 run to close the quarter and took an 87-81 lead into the fourth. 

Overtime: Cleveland shot 80%(4/5 FG) from the floor in OT, including 2/2 from deep. Conversely, they held the Clippers to 1/10 from the field, including 1/5 from downtown. The Cavs outscored the Clippers 14-5 in the extra session.

The Not So Great for the Cavs:

The Final 6:14 of the Fourth: Cleveland led 100-91 with just over six minutes to go in the fourth, but the Clippers ended the game on a 15-6 run to send it into overtime. The Clipper had an opportunity to take the lead late, but Amir Coffey missed one of two free throws with 30.8 seconds to go in regulation.

Bottom Line:

Cleveland got back on track Monday night and getting Markkanen and LeVert back in the lineup boosted this team. LeVert gives this team another ball-handler and a guy who can score, and Markkanen has been solid of late.

The Cavs, who are 21-11 at home, know they have to take advantage of this homestand, but the next two won’t be easy as Philadelphia and Denver come to town.

To the standings, Cleveland(sixth seed) holds a one-game lead over the seventh-seeded Raptors(39-30), who have won four straight, including Monday’s rout of the Lakers. The Cavs are 1.5 games behind the fifth-seeded Celtics and two games behind the fourth seed, the Bulls.

“He’ll be there one day, for sure,” Bickerstaff said of Mobley’s jersey being retired in Cleveland.

What’s Next:

On Wednesday night, the Cavs host the Philadelphia 76ers, who are 2-0 against Cleveland this season.

Best of the Rest:

-Zubac led the Clippers with 24 points and a game-high 14 rebounds. Coffey had 19 points, and Terance Mann added 18 points and 10 rebounds.

-LeVert had 11 points in his return, and Kevin Love chipped in with 13 points and nine rebounds.

-Clippers Ty Lue, who coached Cleveland to their first title in 2016, got some love from the fans as the Cavs gave him a video tribute.

Watch below as Okoro and Mobley react to win over the Clippers:

Cavs defeat Clippers to win third straight

The Cleveland Cavaliers won their third straight game on Wednesday night as they defeated the Clippers 92-79.

Here is the Great, Not So Great, and the Bottom Line of the Cavs’ win over the Clippers.

The Great for the Cavaliers:

-Collin Sexton was sensational on Wednesday night. He was everywhere! Sexton was 12/20 from the field with 26 points, seven rebounds, and three steals. Also, he had a game-high +17 rating on the night.

The fourth-year guard had some big-time dunks as well, including this one below:

After five games, Sexton is the team’s leading scorer with 20.4 points per game on 52% shooting from the field.

Defense: The Cavs held the Clippers to 79 points, which is the third straight game they held a team below 90. In addition, according to Elias Sports, Cleveland held each of their last three opponents to under 410FG%, Atlanta(384 FG%), Denver(407 FG%), and the Clippers(356 FG%). The last time that happened for this team was in 2014.

-Rookie Evan Mobley keeps getting it done. The California native had the second double-double of his career against the Clippers. He had 12 points and snatched 10 rebounds. Also, Mobley was outstanding on defense as he added two blocks. After five games, Mobley is averaging 14 points, nine rebounds, and two blocks a contest on 75% shooting from the floor. 

-Darius Garland also was good for Cleveland. He poured in 16 points and six assists. 

-Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love continue to be vital for Cleveland off the pine. Rubio, who is fifth in the league in assists(39), had 15 points and three assists in 28 minutes; Love had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds in 24 minutes of action.

Rebounding: Cleveland crushed the Clippers on the glass(57-36) and added 19 second-chance points while holding Los Angeles to three second-chance points.

The Not so Great for the Cavaliers:

Turnovers: Cleveland had 20 turnovers on Wednesday night, which would cost you a game on most nights. Fortunately for this team, they were stellar on defense and all areas of the game.

Bottom Line:

Cleveland has won three straight, all against playoff teams last season, including two on the road. Furthermore, two of the teams they’ve beaten(Hawks and Clippers) made it to the conference finals a year ago. The Cavaliers are defending very well right now and getting contributions from everybody who touches the floor.

What’s Next:

Cleveland stays in Los Angeles to battle old friend LeBron James and the Lakers on Friday night. However, James may not play. The four-time MVP has missed the last two games for the Lakers with an ankle injury, so it should be interesting to see if he’ll be back to face the Cavaliers.

Best of the Rest:

Nicolas Batum and Reggie Jackson led the Clippers with 16 points apiece, and Paul George added 12 points and 10 rebounds.

Sexton, Mobley, and Garland talk win over Clippers:

 

 

 

 

 

Clippers’ Frank on Mann: ‘We want him to be a big part of our future’

The Los Angeles Clippers have signed Terance Mann to a multi-year contract extension, the team announced on Tuesday.

According to ESPN’s Marc J. Spears, it’s a two-year, $22 million contract extension.

Last season, Mann set career highs in points (7.0), rebounds (3.6), assists (1.6), and FG% (50.9). The second-year G/F also appeared in 19 playoff games in 2021, averaging 7.6 points and 2.7 rebounds while shooting 51.9% from the field.

In Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinals, Mann became the first player in franchise history to score at least 20 points in a postseason quarter, finishing with 39 and sparking the Clippers to their first conference finals appearance.

“Terance personifies many of the qualities we value,” said Lawrence Frank, Clippers president of basketball operations. “He is a giving teammate and an unrelenting worker who improves himself and those around him every day. In only two seasons, we’ve watched him grow from a second-round pick to a key contributor on a playoff team. We want him to be a big part of our future, and we’re glad he wants the same. We’re thrilled for Terance and excited for what’s to come.”

Originally selected by the Clippers with the 48th overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, the 24-year-old Mann owns career averages of 5.3 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 1.5 assists in 108 appearances.

Batum returns to Clippers on two-year deal

The Los Angeles Clippers have officially re-signed free agent Nicolas Batum, the team announced on Friday.

According to reports, it’s a two-year deal.

“Nico is a terrific player, a selfless teammate and a consummate professional, who lifts us in a lot of different ways,” said Clippers president of basketball operations, Lawrence Frank. “He fits in perfectly from the beginning, and we’re grateful he’s chosen to return.”

Last season, the 32-year-old Batum averaged 8.1 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 2.2 assists while shooting 40.4 percent. During the Clippers’ run to the 2021 Western Conference Finals, Batum averaged 8.1 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1.3 blocks in 29.2 minutes.

Before joining the Clippers last season, the 13-year veteran spent time with Portland Trail Blazers and Charlotte Hornets 

This summer, the Lisieux, France native helped lead the French team to a silver medal at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. 

Batum’s versatility as a defender was very valuable for the Clippers last season. At times, he played center for Los Angeles in the playoffs and was very effective doing it. Bringing him back was an important move for the Clippers.

Clips’ Leonard has surgery to repair partially torn ACL

Clippers F Kawhi Leonard underwent surgery to repair a partial tear of his right ACL, the team announced on Tuesday.

According to the team, the surgery was a success, and there is no timetable for his return.

Leonard, 30, injured his knee against the Jazz in Game 4 of their second-round series and would miss the rest of the playoffs.

The nine-year veteran can opt out of his contract this summer and become a free agent. 

This season, Leonard, who signed with the Clippers in 2019 after winning a championship with the Toronto Raptors, averaged 24.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 5.2 assists per game.

Suns’ Paul: ‘I just kept thinking, if we do what we’re supposed to do, I get the last laugh’

Phoenix Suns point guard Chris Paul has made it to the NBA Finals! Paul scored 31 of his game-high 41 points in the second half, including 19 points in the fourth quarter, as the Suns defeated the Clippers 130-103 in Game 6 of the Western Conference finals at Staples Center on Wednesday night. With the win, Phoenix will make the NBA Finals for the first time since 1993.

According to ESPN Stats & Info, Paul’s 31 points in the second half is the most he’s scored in the second half in his career(regular season and playoffs). 

In addition, the 36-year-old Paul, who scored 37 points in a series-clinching win against the Nuggets in the second round, became the oldest player in postseason history with 35 points in consecutive close-out games within a postseason, according to ESPN Stats & Info.

The 16-year veteran struggled with his shot in the team’s Game 5 loss against the Clippers, but Suns head coach Monty Williams knew that Paul could have a breakout performance in this series, and it came at the right time.

“I’ve told you guys from the jump I wanted to stay out of his way,” Williams said postgame. “There were questions about his production before tonight, and in my heart, I felt like it was a matter of time. I didn’t know it was going to be like that, but that’s who Chris(Paul) is. He was tired, and he was still making those kinds of plays — getting to the basket, the threes, orchestrating everything.”

Paul, who spent six seasons with the Clippers, broke Los Angeles with his performance in the second half, and the Suns knew that when Patrick Beverley shoved Paul in the back after a Clippers’ timeout in the fourth quarter. Beverley would get ejected, and Phoenix continued to pour it on.

“Over the years, people talk junk to me, and a lot of times I usually say something back, but I done changed a little,” Paul said. “A little. A little. And I just kept thinking, if we do what we’re supposed to do, I get the last laugh. So you stay the course long enough, you break ’em, and that’s what we did.”

Jae Crowder, who scored 19 points in Game 6, added on Beverley’s shove: “They broke. We know we broke them. There’s no better sign of defeat than knowing that moment, that moment where it’s like competition meets and we just — you can’t do anything else to help your team overcome that situation. He just broke. That’s what we were trying to reach.”

Paul, who was traded to the Suns by the Thunder last offseason, getting to this point was not easy. He’s suffered untimely injuries in past years during the playoffs and had untimely injuries this postseason(shoulder, COVID), but according to Paul, he knew his chance to make it to the Finals would come.

When asked if he ever thought this moment would not happen, Paul said the following:

“No. No. I ain’t built like that. It’s just get to work,” he said. “Get to work. What was it, Game 3, I find out I tore some ligaments in my hand. I said, oh, here we go. But you just — I got an unbelievable team around me.”

Not many people had the Suns in the NBA Finals, but guess what? They’re here, and with home-court advantage in the Finals, injury issues with both the Hawks and Bucks, and based on the way they’re playing, Phoenix has an excellent chance to win a championship.

Watch below as Paul talks making NBA Finals:

Clippers sign Yogi Ferrell to 10-day contract

The LA Clippers signed Yogi Ferrell to a 10-day contract, the team announced on Monday.

Ferrell, 27, appeared in two games for the Cleveland Cavaliers this season, averaging 9.5 points. 3.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.5 steals. The 6-foot-0 guard also appeared in 14 games for the Salt Lake City Stars of the G League this season.

The four-year veteran holds NBA career averages of 7.8 points, 2.3 assists and 2.1 rebounds in 251 career appearances with the Brooklyn Nets, Dallas Mavericks, Sacramento Kings and Cavaliers. A native of Indianapolis, Ind.,

Ferrell earned a spot on the 2016-17 All-Rookie Second Team, and in February 2017, became just the second undrafted rookie to win Rookie of the Month honors in his first professional season.
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