Ryan Kelly, Jordan Clarkson and Making a 2nd Round Gamble

Darius Soriano —  July 21, 2014

The move that we looked at heading into the weekend became official on Monday when Ryan Kelly re-signed with the Lakers, signing his name to a two-year contract to return to the Lakers. From Eric Pincus of the LA Times:

Kelly will receive $1.65 million for the coming season and $1.72 million for 2015-16. Both years are fully guaranteed for a total of $3.37 million. The Lakers appear to have used part of their $2.7 million room exception on Kelly, leaving $1.08 million to spend on free agency.

The 48th overall pick from last season’s draft returns to a crowded front court where he will compete for minutes at power forward with rookie Julius Randle and amnesty waiver pick-up Carlos Boozer. Kelly may also see some minutes at small forward, though I still believe that his best position is at the big forward spot where his shooting and offensive skill set are better utilized against players who aren’t as used to defending players who play his style of game.

Kelly’s role, however, is a topic for another day. We still don’t even know who will be coaching the team, so exploring how he fits into the offense and how he can be best utilized within the scheme are a ways off. Instead, then, let’s shift our focus to this season’s second round pick, Jordan Clarkson.

Clarkson was selected a year later and two picks earlier than Kelly, going 46th overall. The Lakers spent $1.8 million on that pick, purchasing it from the Wizards for the right to select Clarkson. Coming out of the University of Missouri, Clarkson was viewed as a borderline first round pick so while it was not a surprise that he slid into the 2nd round the Lakers were quite pleased he slipped as far as he did. After the draft Mitch Kupchak said the team had him rated much higher than where he was selected, implying that he had the potential to be a nice player.

In summer league, Clarkson showed that Kupchak may be right. Clarkson averaged 15.8 points and 5.0 rebounds — both team highs — in Las Vegas, flashing excellent quickness and a knack for getting to the rim. Whether in transition or working out of the pick and roll, Clarkson showed a natural burst that allowed him to not only get separation, but to find angles that allowed him to finish around and over defenses. He also showed a smooth and easy release on his jumper, which was a pleasant surprise considering the knock on him in the draft was his inconsistent shot from range and an over reliance on his physical tools to create looks.

Of course there is still more work to do and Clarkson will be the first to say so. When asked about his play during the team’s time in Vegas and what he needed to work on/what was the hardest thing about playing at the NBA level, he mentioned finding the proper pace and adjusting to the speed of the game. This isn’t uncommon, especially for young players. Often times when players first get onto the floor, they find that the game moves very quickly and they often speed up their own game trying to compensate. Clarkson was no different, sometimes rushing to make a play or not showing enough patience to let a sequence unfold before committing to what he wanted to do. As a point guard who will have the ball in his hands a lot, he will need to find a way to channel his aggression and be more calculated in how and when he attacks. This will come with time. At least that is the hope.

The question, now, however, is how much time will the Lakers give him. And I don’t just mean this in the form of playing time. I started this post talking about Ryan Kelly and he provides us with a potential template to follow. With his new contract the Lakers have put a 3 year investment into Kelly. Though it as only been a few summer games, I’d argue that Clarkson might be worth a similar investment in years.

As noted above by Pincus, the Lakers have roughly $1.08 million left of their “room exception” to sign potential free agents. That money, at least some of it, could also be used to sign Clarkson, however. Under the rules of the collective bargaining agreement, players who sign for the minimum can only be inked for a maximum of two years. Second round picks often sign minimum level contracts and, thus, typically sign for a year or two, usually becoming restricted free agents when that first contract expires (this is what happened to Kelly after signing his 1-year deal when the Lakers issued him his qualifying offer).

Because the Lakers have cap room, they do not need to go this route with Clarkson, though. They can actually offer him a longer deal — up to 4 years — by signing him to a contract using the money they still have left in their room exception. I am not condoning offering him the rest of the $1.08 million they have, but a contract similar to the one that Chandler Parsons originally signed with the Rockets — a 2-year guaranteed contract starting at $850K with the final 2-years non-guaranteed — may be worth exploring for Clarkson. I am not saying Clarkson turns into the type of talent Parsons has — after his 3rd year in the league Parsons entered restricted free agency and to a max contract offer from the Mavs. What I am saying, however, is that Clarkson should be viewed as a cheap option who plays a position of need and, if agreeable to it, could be locked up for well under a million dollars for multiple seasons while developing under the guide of LA’s organization.

The Lakers are in a position to make this move and should strongly consider it. When looking at their roster beyond this next season, there are not very many players under contract. Every NBA  team needs to fill out their roster with cheap talent and few players come cheaper than 2nd round picks. If he pans out, the team has a potential contributor who, like Kelly, they would want to commit to anyway. If he doesn’t, the team is only out a small amount of money. There is very little risk and the potential for a very good reward.

For the Lakers, this is exactly the type of situation they should be looking to exploit.

Forget everything I just typed above. A simple mistake of misreading the CBA had me under the impression that Clarkson could be signed for longer than a two-year deal when that is not the case. Clarkson, whether via a portion of the room exception or via a minimum salary exception can be signed to a maximum of a 2-year contract. I’d still like the Lakers to pursue this route rather than only a one year deal, but the advantages of going this route are much lower than if the team was able to sign him for longer.

All that said, from what I have seen of Clarkson, I firmly believe he has an NBA skill set and that the Lakers should be looking to invest in him. As noted above he has a lot of growing to do, but I’d rather he do that under the guide of the Lakers than not.

Darius Soriano

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93 responses to Ryan Kelly, Jordan Clarkson and Making a 2nd Round Gamble

  1. Excellent work here Darius.

  2. i have high hopes for Clarkson. i hope he can keep it up and manage NBA life.

  3. Warren Wee Lim July 21, 2014 at 10:17 pm

    I too am excited for Jordan Clarkson. He should come out as our 3rd string pg but could climb to main backup PG if Nash’s health remain in question.

  4. I like the Kelly move, and Clarkson could be a find thanks to the Wizards’ never-ending cheapness.

    In the little bit of action that summer league provides, I saw some things from Randle that suggest he could see some time at the three this season. He handled the ball well and has quick feet for a four. If his shooting from range is OK, it could be fun.

    If my observation proves accurate, the head coach — assuming the Lakers ever hire one — could have some interesting versatility at the three/four spots. Boozer’s a more traditional four, but the other two could move around the floor and create some mismatches.

    The big worry is still center; I see no rim protection on this roster, unless Davis really brings something unexpected to the floor.

  5. It is good to see the Lakers showing confidence in Kelly by giving him a longer contract. A similar one to Clarkson would help show that they are committed to developing their young talent.

  6. Kelly is a young player with a good head on his shoulders with a four-year Duke education all while playing for and learning from Coach K. I just wonder what his ceiling is.

    Clarkson on the other hand, seems to have a lot of upside. He is looking like a second round steal so far. He seems mature and looks like a good fit for the LA lifestyle. He also has the weight of representing Filipino Americans and the Philippines, where basketball is unofficially the national sport.

  7. Is this site a blog?

  8. I like Clarkson a lot. I see a Penny potential there. More excited about him then Randle. If he can play PG his height and quickness could make him a star. Randle for me is not big enough to be a star PF and not a good enough outside shooter at 3.

    All in all this team could be fun to watch. Clarkson, Randle, Davis, Kelly, are the most young player with upside potential in a while for us to watch since Sasha, Farmer, Turiaf and Bynam in 2006.
    Tongue in cheek

  9. Despite the lack of new stars, the roster actually returns 8 players from last year. Hopefully there is some chemistry carryover that can rub off on the rooks. You know Nash is going to be so good for Clarkson.

  10. Why is Kelly getting paid way more than Wes Johnson? No one else will sign him –can we not sign him to the vet’s min?

  11. All of us Lakers-lovers need to pause for a moment and send a great Laker some love as he battles cancer. Best wishes for a speedy recovery to Michael Cooper.

  12. Calvin “C Mac” McMorris July 22, 2014 at 12:53 am

    I too want to acknowledge Michael Cooper! You’re in my prayers. Ryan Kelly to me is a younger version of Pau Gasol and I love Jordan Clarkson as well. He’s a tremendous talent. Before the season ends he’ll be the number one or two PG on our team! Go Lakers

  13. Yeah, I heard about Cooper–tongue cancer. Terrible. I hope he is OK, obviously.

  14. Praying for your rapid recovery Coop. Peace & Blessings to you and your family.

  15. Early NBA Power rating by John Schuhman, NBA.com has Lakers ranked 25th out of 30. Takes into account all personnel moves made by NBA clubs to date.

    http://www.nba.com/2014/news/powerrankings/07/21/summer2014/index.html?ls=iref:nbahpt3a

    Summary: Too bad to make the post-season, not bad enough for a top five pick…sound familiar?

  16. much on what I have read about the draft picks, Randle and Clarckson, this 2 are the future of the lakers, if they have been reading how san antonio made khawai leonard a smallforward from his natural position in college as a power forward , it reaped great rewards, if the lakers are really intelligent in their player management, they know this two, Randle and Clarckson will be their future if the invest in them, just like what they did to Kobe Bryant when he was picked 13th and traded for Vlade Divac, Kobe was a raw talent just like this 2, butalso showed a lot of upside, so you need not be anexpert not to see this

  17. Randle and Clarckson and the rest of the draft picks of 2014 are now the next generation of superstars, if the Lakers are keen in truely building for their future, they should start training this 2, just like they did with kobe and fisher , this is the future of the lakers, there will never be another kobe, magic, kareem or shaq but they can make a Randle, Clarckson, and kelly their future.

  18. From this year and onwards, all superstars will now start to deteriorate in their skillset, unless they are kobe who adjusts in his play to adapt in nba grind but he too fell to injuries, and most of the superstars are getting old and prone to injuries, look at wade, from my standpoint of observation, why not the lakers get the best trainers to develope its young core of future superstars and have a coach that knows how to use them now, klay thompson, and parsons were unknowns before making their mark as good players,same with khawai leonard, and Green of the san antonio spurs, but look at them today, Randle, Clarckson and Kelly have a lot of upside and this are gems needing to be polished, so why not invest in them lakers?

  19. I agree, how did kelly get more than davis,henry,and johnson?

    Could it be because he will be stuck on the bench?

    Also, havent most teams forced 4 yr contracts on their 2nd rnd picks like chandler parsons – I seem to remember a lowe article talking about how teams will tell their 2md round picks to sign for 4 years or that they could go play in europe

    Actually heres the article:

    http://grantland.com/the-triangle/second-round-first-priority-ricky-ledo-and-exploiting-the-cbas-inefficiencies/

    We can sign clarkson for up to 4 years

  20. Why not invest in them???
    Perhaps because their fanbase demands they trade them so they can be better this year.
    Fortunately the front office has little to do with the fanbase, unless the money stops coming in, but the noise of the ‘talking heads’ certainly can be deafening.

  21. Anyone know what is the reason why lakers haven’t signed a coach yet? At this point it’s getting laughable that they haven’t decided. I remember hearing mitch say he wanted to get a coach this week. If they don’t decide, then the people who think the f.o is inept will have more ammo of which to attack the front office.

  22. G: “Anyone know what is the reason why Lakers haven’t signed a coach yet?” No we don’t. And I don’t think “anyone” does. “people who think the f.o is inept will have more ammo of which to attack the front office.” Indeed – this is becoming an issue. I will look into some warehouse space : )

  23. band wagoners can do what rats do when the ship starts to take on water, they can bail.

  24. Still don’t get why Kelly is signed for more than johnson. Why can’t we sign him to the min for 2 years? (or 4)

  25. Kelly is probably worth more than Johnson is going forward. Kelly is not, OTOH, probably worth more than Ed Davis, but then Davis’ deal is strangely small relative to his rate stats and his skillset.

  26. Casual fan
    Johnson barely made the squad.
    Kelly is perhaps more highly valued due to his overall floor game and Bball IQ.

    G and robert
    there is a post in the last thread (anonymous) re the coaching delay relating to Byron’s atty
    (who had been handling the negotiation) being a little tied up.
    As in, being indicted.
    A bit delicate so i assume FO isn’t being chatty about it.
    So that’s one theory.
    Another theory is that FO is waiting until his Cleveland paychecks stop and then they’ll sign him.

  27. There is a reason, he is still getting paid by Cavs, so why rush it.

  28. I put out the entry on Cleveland still paying his salary and – as a finger up Gilbert’s … – the Lakers let him pay Scott for as long as possible. Another nod to the Chris Paul trade???

    Anyway, the attorney problems also could be an excuse.

    I really don’t know what everybody is getting so ‘steamed’ about. It really makes no difference until training camp; particularly if Scott is being advised of all the personnel issues and has input on what he wants players to work on – which is entirely possible.

  29. Nick Van Exile July 22, 2014 at 11:55 am

    It’d be kind of funny if the FO already had a deal with Byron that he had the job months ago but they were going to have Dan Gilbert foot the bill for as long as possible to pay him back for that rant he went on after the CP3 trade went down. Payback on principle, not for the money. Then they could hire Mike Brown as Byron’s assistant and only pay him like $1/year to give Gilbert as little relief as possible from Brown’s contract (he still has 4 years of his 5 year, $20 million contract remaining).

  30. If you ever observed Pau Gasol play in his first few years in the league, you would never say that Kelly reminded you of him. Pau has deteriorated because of all the summer’s he played for Spain, but he once was a phenomenally polished player with skills and athleticism.

    Booz’ will turn-back-the-clock for at least this season, and he’ll be happy to return home to play for the Lakers. I say home because he played much of his AAU years in southern California while playing for EBO. And it’s a much shorter flight for his parent’s from Anchorage, AK. That being said; I would rather the Lakers develop Davis, Randle, Kelly, and Johnson for the future.

    Barring health or the advances of age we know what to expect from Booz,’ Mamba, and Nashty. I like to watch the unexpected players develop and blossom into consistent players. Thus my affinity for Earl Clark, Ryan Kelly, Billy Thompson, Xavier Henry, AC Green, Wes Johnson, Kurt Rambis et al. My focal point during this ensuing season will be on Clarkson, Randle (he’s a Laker now, so no sense objecting this pick), Henry, Johnson, and Sacre (nothing wrong with him as a 3rd string center).

  31. The Cavs hired Byron Scott to a 3 year deal in 2010. In 2012 they picked up an option taking him through the end of the 2014 season. We are now in July of 2014. Byron Scott is a completely unrestricted FA, who is currently not paid or employed He is a Laker and he IS our next coach and he deserves better than this.

    As rr says: At some point the FO needs to start doing things that do not need to be explained. They will just make sense without excuses or explanation, and they will yield good results.

  32. Robert sScott contract ends the end of this month as does his pay.

  33. Well then, we may have a coaching announcement on 1 AUG. Hurray! Hurray!

    Maybe the front office will now start doing things that make sense…

  34. Doc Rivers Wants Out If Donald Sterling Stays
    July 22 at 5:04pm CDT By Chuck Myron

    Surprise sirprise! Lakers?

  35. Parrothead Phil July 22, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    I say h*** no to Doc as coach of my beloved Lakers. I despise him. He can keep his Ubuntu BS and lame excuses for losses. He will always be a Celtic to me. But then again, the Lakers did hire Bill Sharman back in the day.

  36. @ Parrothead Phil July 22, 2014 at 3:30 pm
    … the Lakers did hire Bill Sharman back in the day.

    —————————–

    Yep, it took a Celtic to show the Lakers how to win.

  37. The Lakers FO has had an awful off season. Unfortunately, it comes as the latest in a line of miscalculations that demonstrate that Laker senior management is not well aligned nor are they well informed about the business they are supposed to be running.

    I am waiting for the ESPN/Grantland exposé on how the team has become a league wide joke. The board has touched on all the miscues that have transpired since the Veto so no need to list them here. Suffice it to say unless there are major changes in the FO the Lakers have not hit bottom yet.

  38. Get well soon Coop, peace

  39. Ko: I know you have sources, so please send me a link (other than a certain radio show) that says Scott gets paid through July. Coaches and players are paid on seasons. They are not paid on a calendar basis Why would Scott and his agent have done that? He was due $4 million for 2014. And besides either way this is lame. I realize that Scott is getting a divorce, so why can’t we just pay him the $300k and be done with it. We are causing all this grief in the media and such over $300k? What would Jerry have done? Just stroke a check and end the chaos and speculation. A Google search for Byron Scott and the Lakers yields a series of ridiculous articles.

  40. Robert
    Mike Bresnahan Times Lakers Writer in a Phone Conversation yesterday.

    I was surprised also to learn the news.

    As for Doc. I would rather eat mud.

  41. Even if the Lakers are dragging this out as a little message to Gilbert, that isn’t a very good idea. Doing that doesn’t help anything except the balance sheet, it makes both Scott and the FO look bad, and for those who try to sell the idea that the Lakers represent class, tradition, and taking care of their own, it doesn’t fit in with that very well, either. If the Lakers are selling that as the organizational image, then they should be above any pettiness with Dan Gilbert.

    It is of course very possible that there is some reason for this that we can’t see, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good reason. If Scott is the guy, hire him. If he’s not, hire someone else.

  42. I wouldn’t mind having Doc, but it’s not like he’s gonna fix our problems. We’ll be lucky if we make the 8th seed. Besides, Doc wouldn’t want to coach this team.

  43. Sid: I’m sure that the Laker struggles are bringing a smile to many in the league. Judging from the comments on FBG, I think many here could write a first rate exposé.

    One thing you said may be true, unless there are changes in the FO the Lakers may not have hit bottom yet. While I would love for Jerry West to return home that looks unlikely. An easy move would be for Jim to elevate Mitch while taking a step back himself. Mitch’s primary GM responsibilities could then go to a young stud up and comer from another team. Sometimes you need a new perspective and a breath of fresh air to see things more clearly.

  44. Actually he can’t unless Clips released him as he in under contract.

  45. Doc’s as phony as usual. The guy went out of his way to force his exit from Boston to go TO the Clippers a year ago, and then — like a death row convict who finds Jesus — he’s suddenly now seen the light about how reprehensible Sterling is/was, only after his recent comments were aired on TMZ. Puh-lease.

    Sterling’s prior racist rants were well-documented years ago, yet Doc had no issue signing to coach under the man in 2013. Now in ’14 he wants out? Bull—t.

    It’s just a power play, hoping to force the NBA’s hand to rid the league of the Donald sooner than later. Same with Paul and all the others who willingly took the guy’s money, yet now can’t bear the thought of playing for him. Total hypocrites.

    I wish Sterling nothing but the worst, but spare us all the faux sanctimony. The guy’s been a scumbag for years, and they all knew it.

  46. I really enjoy the back and forth on this site — kudos to Darius for keeping things civil yet lively.

    Craig W — I respect your opinions and like that you are an optimist (I think that’s fair?). On the coach issue, though, I respectfully disagree. If Byron is the choice, the FO should move now. The storyline on the east coast is not positive, there’s no redeeming narrative and, frankly, this seems to be a construct gathering steam the past two seasons. Who knows the impact on FOs this year and potential ones in the future? The Lakers have tried to pay max money now to at least two players we know of and can assume the same for LeBron. If the story of front office disfunction in any way affects that, then Jim Buss needs to change that starting today.

    This may be too alarmist for your taste and that’s fine. I’m just concerned as we have all seen proud franchises turn over in all sports. Decline starts almost imperceptibly, then gathers steam and before you know it, the team is sideways. Throw in the unfortunate timing of the CBA and the veto, and the Lakers cannot afford to contribute to the perception of being passed by any longer.

  47. As for Doc, I’d rather eat mud.

    Not sure if Mud should feel insulted or threatened . . .

    Chris J; On point on Doc and the hypocrisy of Paul et al. But the dirtiest hands belong to Sterling’s fellow owners, who had no problem raising the scumbag while tearing down the Lakers in an act of craven jealousy.

  48. Well said Chris J. I’m in total agreement.

    In regards to our own *coaching search*, if, when it’s all said and done, B-Scott turns out to be the man, simply put, I would have only 1 question for the FO – not to say that I’m, or anybody else, is entitled to an answer because, obviously, they don’t owe us an explanation – and that question would be: After 3 – or is it 4 – interviews and, what it seems, nobody else on the radar, what took so long?

  49. Chris, I’m afraid that’s not how employment works. We all have our limits. Plus, the players and coaches are under more pressure from friends and family with all of the publicity over Sterling. That doesn’t make them bad people or hypocrites. It makes them human. Similarly, some people can deal with an abusive spouse, but embarrassment and pressure from family can affect the decision to stay or leave.

    This is probably the best coaching job for Rivers. He has a great relationship with the players, and doesn’t want to leave. I’d gather the publicity over Sterling is more hurtful than the conditions actually working for him. Nonetheless, the publicity affects employees’ lives.

  50. I imagine myself being a player traded to the Clippers, like Chris Paul. I don’t know the owner. Perhaps I’ve heard rumors of his past behavior, but my exposure to him is limited. And I’m a player; my ability to declare my objections to the trade is limited. After all, other players are there, and they haven’t objected. So I go about my business: playing basketball.

    Fast forward to recent events involving Donald Sterling. It’s the playoffs. I want to complete the season, in which I’ve invested a great deal of work. When the season is over, I don’t want to work for Donald Sterling.

    It’s as simple as that. There’s no hypocrisy there. There’s no basis for criticism. It’s simply a mature, adult decision. It’s strange that such a position would attract criticism. Then again, maybe it’s not strange.

  51. @Chris J
    Sorry man, but you’re way off base here. It’s one thing to suspect that your employer might not like you because of your race, but it’s an entirely different animal when said employer is caught basically calling “his” players slaves. And it was 100% out in the open for all to see. I really wish that all the NBA players would have banded together last year and boycotted the playoffs. Money is the only thing that the owners really care about…

  52. Quin — I don’t know what your “then again” comment meant, but I stand by the thoughts I stated on Paul, Rivers and others.

    Your “they didn’t know” argument holds no water, unless they lived under a rock. And they didn’t.

    The court case in which Sterling’s comments about blacks and Koreans went public was well-documented and covered by the L.A. Times and other major news outlets. If someone like me, just an NBA fan who doesn’t even live in California, knew about it, trust me, others knew too. These guys have agents and advisors who are paid to know such things. But Paul and Rivers saw dollars and maybe rings, so they set their ethics aside and took ol’ Donald’s money.

    Rivers forced a trade to get to Sterling’s employ, so he was not sent there against his will. And while Paul was traded to the Clippers, he too made his choice to stay last summer when he was a free agent. Even Griffin re-upped rather than play out his rooking deal.

    So yeah, if willlingly chosing to play for a guy whose racism was well documented long before any one of those guys set foot in the building is, as you wrote, “simply a mature, adult decision” to you then yes, I can see why my criticism would be strange to you.

  53. A postmortem report on the basketball season is when a coach advises the players on the areas they were successful, and prompts them to work on aspects of their game that the coach would like to see improve. Since the entire team (save three players) were uncertain of their return to the team, was this process passed over, or did MDA communicate his expectations? At any rate, the Lakers are entering yet another season where the players lack direction on offense and defense. Missing out on prime time to develop their players: just look at the summer league, the team used nothing that the players can use during the ensuing season. However, NY and Fisher used this time to teach his players the early tenets of the triangle. One wonders why, a player like Wes Johnson has the tools, but not the demeanor to be a consistent player in the NBA, well one reason is the carousel of coaches with varying instructions. Johnson’s coaches: 2010-2011 Kurt Rambis; 2011-2012 Rick Adelman; 2012-2013 Alvin Gentry; 2013-2014 D’Antoni; 2014-2015 ????; now if you don’t think these coaches with their own individual philosophies has no effect on a player then you better think again.

  54. Amen, Chris J.

  55. WindhorstESPN Brian Windhorst
    Kareem Abdul-Jabbar tweeted tonight he’s in Indy to start offseason sessions with Roy Hibbert.

  56. Wrong Quin
    Correct Chris

    Here lies the problem. Where as they might not have known the extent of Sterling feelings they learned it. Both Doc and Paul then threatened to not play if he came back. The in lies the hypocrocey. Now you stuck your chin out based on an uneducated understanding of the legal system. From day one I said Don ain’t going anywhere. Few listened to me. As a guy who dealt with many law suits and with a bunch of entertainment lawyer friends I knew he would fight. And could turn it into a 3 to 5 year battle.

    Point is don’t open your mouth unless you know what you speak. They did not and now they either have to quit(not happening) or become giant hypocrites. .

    Playing chicken only works if your playing with a 5 pound chicken not a guy who is a 50 year lawyer.

  57. Rivers is no more hypocritical than anyone else. David Stern knew the deal on Sterling for years as well. Not only did Stern allow him to stay he rerouted one of the leagues best players to his team. He rewarded him after years on ineptitude.

    Should a player swear off the NBA because it’s chief leader gave Sterling pass after pass? Was Stern passive because he didn’t care? Did he share some Sterling’s beliefs? Who knows? But at some point players and coaches have to dance with the devil. But that doesn’t mean they can’t draw a line in the sand.

    Many of us do a variation of what Doc is doing every day. That goes double if you are a working stiff. But we all reserve the right say when enough is enough. Let’s come down from our high horses a bit. The idea that you forfeit your right to object because you take a dollar doesn’t square with the real world.

  58. Great board.
    Excellent posts.

    Lots of people have jerks for bosses.
    Did Donald’s racism pervade the Clipper locker room?
    Or was he, to players, just an annoying owner that (until recently) was merely an occasional embarrassment?

    Sterling’s recorded comments were shocking to everyone. That’s why they were newsworthy.

    I’ve lived in LA all my life and I only recently learned the extent of Sterling’s bigotry as it pertained to his rental discrimination lawsuit,
    reprehensible comments, etc.

    Chris Paul was traded to LA. He later agreed to a contract extension, I’m guessing, because he didn’t feel
    discriminated against or insulted in his daily routine as a Clipper.

    I agree with Ko; players now taking a stand without understanding of due process may wind up with egg on their face. But I don’t think this makes them Uncle Toms until now.

    Here’s a skewed analogy.
    Was every young German soldier in WWII driven by evil? Or were some just young, eager to serve their country and ignorant of its dark agenda?

    Life isn’t always black and white.
    So to speak.

  59. Chris, first of all, these players are not “taking Donald’s money.” The idea that a player who is traded to a team is employed only by that team owner is a falsehood. Chris Paul will be playing basketball in the NBA. That much is for sure. Donald Sterling didn’t reach out to CP3, out of the goodness of his heart, and offer the poor guy a job. That’s just ridiculous. CP3, as an NBA player, has a contract to deliver a service to a team which derives shared revenues from the NBA. Again, he was traded to the Clippers. He didn’t choose them out of nowhere. It’s ridiculous to think that the money that goes into his pockets came out of Sterling’s or the team’s. It didn’t.

    Furthermore, you realize things have changed between then and now, right? A lot.

    There’s nothing at all hypocritical about someone evaluating his work situation on a day-by-day basis. There’s only dudes on the internet who wish to assign some guilt to a guy for standing up against bigotry. We don’t all share in one guy’s bigotry and flaws. You guys don’t seem to have any idea how to define the word “hypocrisy.”

  60. @KO, you have billion dollar sponsors that are ready to part ways with the nba and clippers if Sterling isn’t removed as the owner of the team. The players have already stated they will boycott, the coach won’t coach, the sponsors won’t sponsor. The team will sell for nothing instead of the 2b valuation it has, the league and shelly sterling know this, and Donald sterling knows this too. He just doesn’t want to go away like the little piece of scum that he is. He wants to see the owners vote on removing him, because he knows the owners don’t want to make it public, he just wants to put more pressure and hate out there as he leaves this earth because he has nothing. I hope Ballmer changes the name first thing.

  61. @Chris J,

    and maybe you should ease up on the Players hypocrisy, now that a racist F*&^ like Sterling won’t own the Clippers they can still choose to play in a beautiful state in a beautiful city for awesome fans and yes for an opportunity to win a championship. Maybe you just don’t have that big of a problem with Sterling’s comments. His settlement for housing discrimination was basically him saying he prefers Korean tenants to African American and Latino tenants because they are cleaner. That is straight up discrimination and he lost. What he confirms on the audio tapes on deeply embedded beliefs that have nothing to do with business and discrimination. Now it has gone to racism. You’re forcing others to ACT racist on your behalf. Now it’s out there and Sterling is 86 to a lot of newer NBA fans he didn’t even exist. You can’t honestly be looking for a way to criticize doc rivers chris paul and blake griffin for wanting to play in Los Angeles and win a ring together. Are you serious?

  62. 1. Man I do not see what most of you are talking about re: Ryan Kelly. I’ve seen all his NBA games and I can’t see his ceiling as anything more than a 12th man on a lottery team. I hate that we gave him a two year deal and so much money.
    2. I have no idea what kind of attorney advised Adam Silver to drop the hammer down so hard on Sterling and think the whole process would be done by training camp. There’s a legitimate question of if Sterlings due process rights have been violated and if the NBA can do this to him that needs to play out in court. Also I don’t buy for a second that any clippers players will demand to be released if Sterling stays. If these guys didn’t have the backbone to standup for themselves in 2011 when the owners crushed them like bugs in the CBA (to the point where Kobe f’n Bryant is a villian to the ham n egger sports fans for taking a 24 mil a year deal) they won’t have the gumption to fight too hard about a guy who’s private conversation where he told his girl friend not to bring black people with her to his games came to light.Doc may leave and if he does I DO NOT want him coaching the Lakers. Of course Danotni and Nash were long time Lakers enemies and we brought them in with open arms. Worked out great for us to lol

  63. I thought Nick Johnson, also drafted in the 2nd round, signed a three year deal with the Rockets? Why is Clarkson not able to sign a similar deal?

  64. Chris/Quin
    Again issue is not their desire to get away from the fool it’s talking about it in public without understanding the legal system. They should and can be angry but now what. If the creep stays they sit out without pay? Tons of things in life are not fair, does that means you quit? You stay and force him out by on-going comments to disgrace him.

  65. Anyone who interprets my comments yesterday as a defense of Sterling is incorrect. Go back and re-read my remarks from the outset of this. My point was never that his comments were OK; it’s that he’s been saying this stuff for years and until recently, no one has seemed to care to act upon it. The commissioner and other owners are complicit in this too; they turned a blind eye for a very long time.

    Sterling was a plague on the league for decades, yet until this TMZ thing came out it flew under the radar and lots of people were all too happy to do business with him. Was what he said on the TMZ tapes any less deplorable than his many prior, documented comments? Yet no one took a stand before — and that’s my critique now.

    I call out Doc Rivers and Chris Paul more so than others because they only recently signed deals to play for Sterling — the comment “that a player who is traded to a team is employed only by that team owner is a falsehood” is flat out absurd.

    Lastly, I’m not on a high horse about this. I merely pointed out what I see as a conflict in Doc’s statements today vs. his actions last summer, when he couldn’t wait to come coach the Clippers — owned by one Donald J. Sterling. In my view, not much has changed since April. Sterling was a scumbag prior to then, as much as he is today. All that’s changed is that more people know about it and profess to care.

  66. Quin,

    I feel so bad for those poor dumb jocks that are getting paid millions of dollars a year yet whining about not playing because their owner, who they never deal with day-to-day, is racist. Must be a terrible life!

    I cannot, under any circumstances, imagine anything worse than getting paid a few million dollars a year, do a job you love (and/or is great at), and have a boss who is racist yet you never ever have to deal with him except public perception.

    Life must be tough for those uneducated dumb jocks!

  67. Agreed completely with Chris Y. Quin makes a very legitimate point: that we all have the right — maybe even the obligation — to reassess a situation when it reaches critical mass, and act accordingly. That’s what Doc and Paul and other people did in this case, and that’s fine. But let’s not say that they showed any courage, or deserve any praise for it, because they don’t. They waited until the whole wide world knew something that they, and the rest of the NBA, knew a long time ago and chose to ignore. Courage would have been Chris Paul refusing to report to the Clips after the Veto, or Doc refusing the job. (For that matter, Magic has known for decades, probably, about Sterling’s views.)

    Did these guys do the right thing? Sure. Are they heroes for doing it? Nope.

  68. My prior comments seem to be missing..
    Kelly had received interest from the Jazz, which bumped his price up a bit. He was rated as one of the best rookies offensively last year. This was a good pick last year. He is not going to be the next Dirk, you want him coming off the bench. But he is a solid role player who can fill minutes and as 2nd round pick thats a bargain.

    The F.O. moves individually make sense but put together do not. I hate the Randle pick but ok so lets put a shot blocker behind him, signs Hill to 10 million, say what?!?

    As for Sterling, if he is mentally unwell and therefore you can force him to sell then why was he held accountable for his words if he wasn’t of well mind? If he is mentally well then you can’t force him to sell and you have to fight in the courts in a country that prizes property rights. The whole issue is a mess.

  69. Chris J,

    You are definitely right on this. I actually think Doc is not as clueless as KO thinks he is regarding the legal system in this case. Doc is saying this because he knows Sterling will be removed as the owner of the Clippers. Doc will not step down if Sterling is removed but keeps the fight alive in the legal system for years. If Sterling is removed, he is removed, and it doesn’t matter if he keeps fighting in the courts for years to come. Doc will not leave a good situation behind.

  70. Money is the only thing that the owners really care about…


    That’s been another point I’ve made here repeatedly. When the Clippers were awful and getting three-inches of newsprint space on page 9 of the sports section, it was easy to look the other way at Sterling’s bigotry. But now that Paul and Griffin are “Lob City” on SportsCenter, selling insurance and Kias on TV ads, suddenly it’s less appealing to the NBA to have a suddenly high-profile franchise owned by someone so repugnant. Hence, the TMZ fracas gave Silver and others the weapon they needed to address this long-ignored problem.

    The NBA is better off — financially, and perceptionwise — with new ownership for the Clippers, no question.

  71. I like the moves and the value the Lakers have gotten in the 2nd round over the last few drafts. Given time to develop and mature properly I believe that Clarkson can develop into NBA caliber starting player and Kelly a solid NBA bench player and give the Lakers solid minutes in the rotation. We are starting to build a core of nice young players just need to coach them up and continue drafting and developing talent.

    With Randle, Clarkson and Kelly that forms a good young nucleus of talent to build upon. We will see what occurs but there is no doubt we need young talent coupled with the combination of free-agent moves and trades.

    I know we don’t really speculate on FO moves but this example validates my point in regards to talent. LeBron who gave us a courtesy meeting pretty much knew he was going home to Cleveland unless Miami could have pulled something big like get Gasol for example. Why, because they have great young talent and if it develops then watchout…they could be on a multi year title run. The young talent also means you have trade assets that other team are willing to let a veteran big time player like Love go for in a trade thus making you an instant title contender. So, Washington who is pretty darn young and talented themselves have a heck of a team and don’t think Durant isn’t thinking about seriously going there because he is. So, essentially the Lakers could be without the services of one Mr. Durant which they so highly covet. The Wizards simply have a better and bigger pool of young talented players plus its home and Momma and all that. This demonstrates that building that pool is the single most important thing the Lakers have to do going forward. If we can pull another one-two punch in the draft next year then watchout because I want our hometown NBA superstar to come back home then too and maybe just by then we will have a big group of young talented players to pull it off.

  72. I dont know what you were watching all of last season but Ryan Kelly was one of the few highlights of the season for me. He will improve his game, he has the length to play good defense once he adjusts to pro game.

  73. The situation in Clipperland has to be on the radar of the Lakers. Those players who decide they don’t want to stay on a Sterling owned team, but love playing in L. A….well guess what, there’s another team in town. Lakers should definitely have the inside track here.

    Please don’t misunderstand, I want Sterling out, as fast as possible. However if this goes on, as many think it will, four three to five years, all of the Clipper’s players contracts will have expired.

    First up: 26 year old, 6’11 unrestricted free agent DeAndre Jordan, come July 1st, 2015. And Mr Jordan has only played in L.A. his seven professional years. :-)

  74. Interesting piece on why the Lakers (or anyone else) never went after Eric Bledsoe by Zach Lowe in Grantland: http://grantland.com/the-triangle/eric-bledsoes-long-hot-restricted-summer/.

  75. I thought Kelly was a positive last season and certainly better than a 12th man on a lottery team. He has an elite shot. He is a very good passer. He gets himself open, is long and has some mid-range game. He can finish at the rim. He positions himself well on defense and knows how to play team defense. He is also pretty darn good at using his length and awareness to block shots, change shots, disrupt the passing lanes and get steals. He has a safe handle and good shot selection.

    While Kelly is not an elite athlete he is mobile. While he isn’t the best one on one defender or one on one scorer his role is not going to require he do that. As compared to Wesley Johnson, who makes spectacular plays due to athleticism, his shot selection is poor, he is not a one on one scorer. Also, Johnson has had 4 seasons to improve his IQ and while he is probably a better player than where he started, he is no where near the player he might be if he were smarter. Before the Sterling conversation leaks into my critique, this is not a matter of “smart white player” vs “athletic black player”. I am not basing any of my assessment on racist BS. It is simply an observation of two human beings who work in the same field and have different talents, skills and personalities. I have every reason to think Kelly will become a good NBA player. He could be in a 9-man rotation for a contending team, or not, depending on how hard he works and the situation he winds up in. In my opinion, the same is not true of Johnson.

  76. So what! Doc Rivers threatens to step down if Sterling remains owner of the Clippers, did he give a timeline for such a move? No! Sterling could drag this out until death, what does he care, he can’t take it with him, and what better way to mess over his wife by leaving her nothing. Doc could remain at the helm of the Clippers for two years, and this year make it to the finals, and next year win the championship or vice versa.

    Veiled threats to leave the team means nothing without a year and date.

  77. Sorry, I can’t muster up the slightest amount of sympathy for the Clippers, their players and coaches or the current situation with the team. In fact, I get a sort of perverse pleasure out of it, especially after the Veto. Karma, anyone?

  78. On another note, Knicks just waived Shannon Brown per Knicks website. Fyi.

  79. @ Chearn July 23, 2014 at 1:28 pm
    Veiled threats to leave the team means nothing without a year and date.

    ————————————————
    Yes, in somewhat analogous fashion Jimmy’s promise to step down in “several” years if things don’t “improve.” I would characterize both “stances” with a rather old fashioned word: jive

  80. If Scott is the choice and he’s still being paid by the Cavs,there is the possibility the Cavs haven’t let him out of his contract because they want compensation from the Lakers. Whether money,a draft pick(likely a Second they can use in a Love trade) or a player or wanting to unload one,the Cavs may have been playing hardball in order to get something.
    While it’s customary for teams to let a fired coach out of his contract,nothing says they have to.
    The Cavs may be p****ed at Scott or just trying to exact a price from the Lakers.
    OTOH,the Lakers offer may be less than The Cavs are paying him,so Scott may want the extra he’s getting from the Cavs as long as possible.

  81. Byron Scott is NOT under contract with Cleveland and they have no hold on him. Further, NBA coaching contracts terminate at the end of the playing year. Lastly see rr’s post above – we need to get this done.

    A more likely reason why there could be a delay is the length of the contract. Lakers are probably offering 2 – 3 max with the last year being a team option. Scott probably wants 5 with the option on his side. If the length is the hold up then the FO did not handle this well. That should have been a condition during the initial interviews when Scott had competition for the job. As I said 3 months ago – it is going to be Scott, and if not – we are in trouble, as the second most likely guy on the board is Joey Buss.

  82. Excuses regarding the Scott non-hire are wearing comically thin.
    Unless a hire is made this week it will be interesting to see what “reasons” are offered next.

  83. Breaking news.

    Lakers buy a new IPhone App which will coach the Lakers next year.

    It’s called the Short Buss App.

  84. funny fact for all those in love with high draft picks, the Lakers are chock FULL of high draft picks now.

  85. I was just thinking … I guess we finally get to see this season just how good a coach Erik Spoelstra is.

  86. “Doc is saying this because he knows Sterling will be removed as the owner of the Clippers.”

    (1) See KO’s above comment re uneducated regarding the legal system. Here that would be uneducated re the law;

    (2) Here is the NBA Constitution and Bylaws:

    http://mediacentral.nba.com/media/mediacentral/NBA-Constitution-and-By-Laws.pdf

    (3) When you’re reading about just how feeble the NBA’s case is here, consider the following legal principles:

    (a) In contract construction, specific provisions control over general provisions

    (b) As the name suggests, an exclusive remedy clause exhaustively spells out the remedies available to a party for a particular event. All other remedies are excluded

    (4) Now go read Articles 13, 24(l) (“l” as in larry), and 35A(c) and (d);

    (5) to save you time, the section that Sterling was fined and suspended under, 24(l), is not applicable, as (a) 35A(c) states a penalty and (b) 35A(c) also covers the conduct at issue (a statement alleged to be detrimental and prejudicial to the league with a stated penalty provfided). 35A(d) is out as well, see the above item 3(a) re specific over general, i.e., 35A(c) covers detrimental and prejudicial statements while 35A(d) covers all other conduct that is detrimental and prejudicial. Article 13, termination of ownership, is out as well, see item 3(b) above, since 35A(c) provides a remedy, with termination of ownership not included, so termination of ownership is excluded.

    And so, to sum, not only no sale, but the suspension is ultra vires and in breach of contract, as 35A(c) does not provide for such, and the fine should be max of 1.0 mil and not 2.5 mil as stated in that same 35A(c). In other words, the NBA’s actions here are indeed ultra vires (beyond the powers) and the NBA also breached the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing when it chose to disregard the obviously applicable Article 35A(c) and instead apply the wholly inapplicable Article 24(l). And we know 24(l) and not 35A(c) owing to the 2.5 and not the 1.0 mil fine.

    Oh, and so you can clearly see the problem of the exclusive remedy, note what Article 24(l) says, “include, without limitation”, and then the following list of penalties, and so is not exclusive, as the list is “include(s), without limitation”. Article 35A(c) does not have that language. So even the drafters of the NBA Constitution understood the import of stating a remedy, and its exclusiveness, and so took care to prevent that in Article 24(l) but did not do so with respect to Article 35A(c).

    And here’s part of a case for you, from United Glass Workers’ Local No. 188 v. Seitz, 65 Wn.2d 640, 642 (1965):

    The constitution of the plaintiff union provides for the suspension or expulsion of a member who fails to pay a fine assessed against him. The plaintiff has pointed to no provision in the constitution and no facts outside it which would tend to rebut the presumption that the remedy provided in the constitution was meant to be exclusive. This is the mode of discipline available to the plaintiff, under its constitution, and it was evidently considered adequate when that constitution was adopted. In any event, it is the only mode to which the defendant member agreed to submit when he joined the union.

    Same here. The NBA Constitution provides a mode of discipline for statements given, made, issued, endorsed, etc., that are detrimental and prejudicial to the NBA. See Article 35A(c). The exclusive remedy is a fine, with a max fine of 1.0 mil. Evidently considered adequate when that constitution was adopted. In any event, it is the only mode to which Sterling agreed to submit when he joined the NBA.

    Some in the league office got a little carried away, as did some of the coaches and players with their statements, since there is nothing in their contracts, I would imagine, that would allow them to refuse to coach or play. So they would be in breach of contract if they did their boycott thing. We’ll see if anyone puts their proverbial money where their mouth is. i.e., not only lost income from not playing, but also money damages for resulting revenue loss for the team.

    For yet one more, for how sad and sordid the whole affair, the our gal claimed that she had Sterling’s consent to record the conversation. Which is good, or might be good, since California law requires all party consent to the recording, lest there be liability for invasion of privacy. Our gal also says that she has the consent because Sterling cannot now remember things, and so he uses the tapes to refresh his recollection. Meanwhile, the wife is in the probate court, claiming that hubby Donald is non compos mentis, not of sound mind, Which is interesting, in the extreme, since if not of sound mind, then hubby Sterling cannot have given effective consent to the recording, and so in addition to liability on the part of our gal for invasion of privacy (the recording without consent), the NBA would itself be found in the position of attempting to discipline an owner on the basis of recorded statements obtained in violation of California privacy laws. Wonder how that will play in the Superior Court in and for the County of the Los Angeles.

  87. @P. Ami

    Good post bro and dead on in the assessment of two members of the Lakers team.
    Kelly has a promising career because he can flat out shoot and he is smart. He needs to work on his body and keep rounding out his overall game but I believe he will and the kid is a keeper.

    In regards to Johnson it is what it is or he is who he is. He is a great run/jump athlete and he can defend but he needs to develop into a consistent lock down defender. His offensive game is not good and he has failed to develop it over the years and he has been given the opportunities. Wes is not a good shooter nor is he a scorer so he is a liability on the offensive end. Must learn to create offense for himself on a consistent basis by utilizing his hops for putbacks, lobs & slash cuts to the hoop.

    @Slappy

    Solid stuff man and say what you want about Donald Sterling he knows the legal system and he has been in court many times. The NBA might really be in for a fight if he truly wants to honker down and be prideful. But why not walk away with the 2 billion? Bottom line this could go on for awhile and get really messy people.

  88. Just wanted to add Ryan Kelly is already 23 years old. How much better will he realistically get?

  89. Thanks for taking the time to analyze the Clipper clusterf***. It really does look like this will continue for as long as Donald is alive.

  90. Good read, Slappy.

  91. @Ryan 23 is a young duckling in NBA years, especially with height and shooting. Chandler Parsons also toiled for 4 years in Florida before entering the league.

  92. Slappy

    Post of the year. You fully understand the issues and how it relates to the current pending litigation. Simply Donald can fight to his death. Doc and Paul can quit, not get paid and not coach or play until their contracts are over.

    Bad bluff on their part and indeed they could be sued for breach of contract. No way Stern lets this go that far. Silver screwed up while other less educated as to the laws are patting him on the head.

    If I was a betting man I double down on Donald. Go back and read the Baylor law suit. Donald just waited him out and beat him badly. Elgin had a far better case then the NBA has.

  93. @slappy what was the league thinking? they should have hit you up to review the by laws for them so they wouldn’t have gotten themselves into this. As for your explanation of any possible angle Sterling could have, why don’t you try this out for size, when game 1 comes, if Sterling is the owner of the clippers watch how many fans fill the seats. See what happens. Otherwise stop trying to talk about what is in the players contracts, no one has to play for a racist….do I need to explain it farther than that? Because you seemed to have spent a lot of time making a case for Sterling and yet made no comments condemning him. Sure are working hard to give this man a leg to stand on, haven’t written that much since my freshman writing class in college. You hang out with Bobby Samini a lot? I’ll hang onto my theory that the sponsors will leave, the coach will walk, and the players won’t play. You keep trying to enlighten us all about the injustices Donald Sterling has faced.