What I hear about James Harden, Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers’ offseason – The Athletic

Los Angeles Clippers guard javier moon was named to the NBA Summer League 2023 Second Team. If that sounds abnormal, that’s because it is; The Clipper hadn’t won a summer league award since 2016 first-round pick Brice Johnson was named to the Orlando All-Tournament Team that same year.

Moon has worked in relative obscurity for his entire basketball career up to this point and is without a contract as an unrestricted free agent. Waiting for him for a real opportunity to make a roster in the nba it’s just one of many patience jobs renewed for the Clippers now that summer league is over. He showed this month that he is capable of getting to his spots and playing basketball efficiently (19.6 points, 55.4 percent shooting from the field) while also stepping up in games for a Clippers team that finished 3- 2 with a differential of more than 23 points.

the clippers believes that Moon is a legitimate NBA player. But at this point, the Clippers are focused elsewhere. That hasn’t stopped them from deciding on the other parts of the roster that are easier decisions, like the sophomore center. moussa diabate agreeing to another year on a two-way contract on Friday. That leaves two spots open for two-way contracts, with one likely earmarked for the second-round rookie forward. jordan miller.

Moon isn’t the only Clippers point guard who isn’t sure what the future holds. jason preston, a 2021 second-round pick, has a contract guarantee date today (July 18). Unlike Moon, Preston had an up-and-down experience in summer league, scoring just the right number of points (45) on just the right number of field goal attempts (41) as he did two summers ago as a rookie. Preston remained healthy and had a stellar assist-to-turnover ratio of 30:8, but the five summer league games didn’t significantly change ideas about where Preston stands at this stage. Preston has some NBA tools (passing acumen is special, he doesn’t take bad shots and he has a nose for rebounding), but concerns with his strength and athleticism belie his intelligence and length.

The reality for Preston and Moon is that the roster was full from the moment the first-round rookie kobe ​​brown signed his contract. Although the idea is to update and consolidate, it is a list that could Be the one the Clippers enter training camp with:

Post Las Vegas Summer League depth chart

Post-LVSL starters 2nd unit 3rd unit Other


russell westbrook

Terence Mann

hyland bones

Jason Preston (July 18)


paul george

Norman Powell

Brandon Boston Jr.


kawhi leonard

Kenyon Martin Jr.

Amir Coffey


Markus Morris Sr.

Nicholas Batum

Robert Covington


Ivica Zubac

mason plumlee

kobe ​​brown

moussa diabate

The move everyone is waiting forof course, that’s how Philadelphia 76ers guard point james harden comes to the LA Clippers. A source close to Harden, given anonymity so they could speak freely, said the athletic that Harden began showing interest in joining the Clippers in late June, prior to the decision to opt out of the final year of his contract to facilitate a trade, and the Clippers’ starting point guard russell westbrook he was aware of Harden’s interest prior to re-signing.

But Harden’s acceptance gave Philadelphia control of when and where Harden would move. The timing of this transaction has not gone the way we Chris PaulThe 2017 underwriting came when the Clippers traded him to Harden’s houston rockets. Kyrie Irving‘s opt in with him Brooklyn networks last summer was milder than this; the Nets didn’t end up trading Irving until the weekend before the trade deadline last February. The previous February, 76ers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey finally switched to the inactive and disgruntled Ben Simmons for (ironically) Harden. Even going back to how Morey acquired Harden in the first place shows how late these things can come together, as Harden wasn’t traded for the oklahoma city thunder to Morey’s Rockets until October 27, 2012, four days before Houston’s regular season opener that year.

Anyone waiting for that particular transaction will want to go for a walk, because it’s not happening anytime soon. The Clippers will still keep an eye on that possible deal and other smaller ones that would achieve the ideals of cementing roster depth; As president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank said on draft night, the roster the Clippers have now may not be the same roster when the season starts in the fall or continues at the trade deadline. winter or when it ends in time for the spring postseason. . With a large number of tradable contracts compared to other teams that could go after Harden or other players, the Clippers will be open for business. It’s just that the business isn’t going to resemble the hot-stove rush hour of the early days of free agency; the baristas will be taking breaks and cleaning the shop a bit.

The summer league in Las Vegas allowed the front office, coaches, and non-participating players to come together. Head coach Tyronn Lue was moving around on a scooter to take pressure off a lower leg injury; he was in every summer league game. kawhi leonard he was with assistant coach Jeremy Castleberry. paul george recorded episodes of his podcast with teammates (finally) while training with young players like Brandon Boston Jr., hyland bonesnew business acquisition KJ Martin and Amir Coffey. mason plumlee he arrived after signing his contract to watch one of the post-exodus summer league games from Vegas. Norman Powella player often connected to a potential Harden deal, he returned from a vacation in Greece to attend a game. Terence Mann I was in town early.


Why James Harden’s meeting with Daryl Morey in Philadelphia went wrong

Just as the potential trade market is relatively slow, so will the extension talks between the Clippers and Leonard. The dialogue is healthy, as Leonard is eligible for the extension now; George will not be eligible for an extension until September. The story goes that Leonard is likely to hit the open market. He Saint Anthony Spurs he did not reach an extension with Leonard in 2014 despite Leonard being the reigning NBA Finals MVP. Leonard hit restricted free agency in 2015 and signed a five-year max contract from there that included a player option. Leonard opted out of that contract after winning his second NBA Finals MVP award in 2019, leaving the toronto raptors after one season to sign a three-year contract with the Clippers.

Leonard opted out again in 2021 to sign the current contract he has now, a four-year contract that contains a player option for 2024. On media day in 2021, Leonard spoke openly about the fact that he would have signed one plus one to maximize his gains had he not torn his ACL in the previous postseason, and he wanted to avoid the team answering questions about his willingness to return from injury or re-sign while recovering from knee surgery during the 2021-22 season. Leonard could take less money in an extension with the Clippers needing relief to build future teams. But Leonard could also maximize his earning potential, especially after missing postseason games to injuries three years in a row.

On the other hand, George already reached an extension with the Clippers once, forgoing free agency in the 2021 offseason to sign the four-year extension he’s on now. That deal contains a 2024 player option, which is ultimately what Leonard aligned his 2021 contract with to define this current contender window prior to the Intuit Dome opening. Unlike Leonard, George has a history of extensions, having also waived restricted free agency in 2014 by signing a maximum five-year extension in September 2013 with the Indiana Pacers who had a 2018 player option. George declined that option after one season with the Oklahoma City Thunder, signed a new four-year contract with Oklahoma City to begin the 2018 free agency period, was traded to the Clippers to join Leonard a year later in 2019, then signed his current contract. extension one year after that.

Frank has praised Leonard and George for being good partners in team building. For one thing, both Leonard and George could sacrifice themselves in their upcoming deals to stay in their hometowns and try to give the Clippers their personal best shot at a championship. On the other hand, both stars are on the other side of their 30s, with multiple serious injuries on their respective ledgers. Both are playing at a high level and both know that signing a contract with a team doesn’t mean that team won’t trade you (see: Blake Griffin; I do not see: bradley beal).

Training camps will be underway for all 30 teams 10 weeks from today; we’re as close to that as we are away from the end of the conference semifinals. We’ve come a long way with some things this offseason, but now that summer league is over, the real dog days of the NBA offseason will begin. For the Clippers, that means lots of potential moves with no real timeframes to spur real short-term action.

(Photo by James Harden and Paul George: Kyle Ross / USA Today)

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Ellis Wilder

Hey there! My name is Ellis Wilder, and I'm a student at the University of Calgary. When I'm not hitting the books, you can usually find me writing articles for sports and travel blogs. I've always had a passion for exploring new places and experiencing different cultures, so I love sharing my travel stories with others. Whether I'm hiking in the Rocky Mountains or exploring a new city, I always try to capture the essence of the places I visit in my writing. Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you enjoy reading my articles as much as I enjoy writing them!

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