With the Los Angeles Clippers done trying to recruit Kevin Durant, they have re-signed two of their stalwarts from the 2015-16 season.
First, swingman and son of Clippers head coach Doc Rivers, Austin Rivers, has agreed to a three-year deal with Los Angeles, as first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of the Vertical. Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times reported that Rivers will make $35.7 million with the new contract. Rivers’ new deal also includes a player option in the final season, per ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) July 3, 2016
Rivers, 23, enjoyed the best full season of his career this past season. In 67 games (seven starts), Rivers averaged 8.9 points and 1.9 rebounds in 21.9 minutes per game. The four-year guard from Duke University also posted a career-best.438 field goal percentage.
“It was tough. But after heavy thinking I decided I wanted to come back. I’m happy with my decision,” Rivers said about returning to the Clippers (via Shelburne).
In addition to the Clippers’ interest, the New York Knicks and possibly the Portland Trailblazers were expected to meet with Rivers. However, it appears that remaining in California (Rivers is from Santa Monica, California), was the best fit for the former 10th overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. Before joining the Clippers, Rivers also spent time with the New Orleans Hornets/Pelicans.
After the Clippers’ season came to an end at the hands of the Trailblazers, Doc Rivers, who’s also the GM of the team, indicated a preference to re-sign as many of the team’s free agents as possible.
“I like our team,” Rivers said (via ESPN). “Our bench was fantastic this year. The problem is we have a lot of free agents on our team and I think a lot of them are going to be attractive, and so we have to fight to keep our own first and then try to build from that point. We’re going to have a difficult time. It’s going to be tough.”
In addition to Rivers, the Clippers also re-signed Wesley Johnson. The two sides agreed to a three-year, $18 million deal, as first reported by Shams Charania of the Vertical. Johnson, just like Rivers, chose to opt-out of his deal with the Clippers in search of a higher salary and long term commitment. Before opting out, Johnson, 28, was set to make $1,227,286 next season.
— Bleacher Report NBA (@BR_NBA) July 3, 2016
In 80 games (nine starts) for the Clippers last season, Johnson averaged 6.9 points and 3.1 rebounds in 20.8 minutes per contest. The six-year veteran and a former fourth overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft has also played for the Minnesota Timberwolves, Phoenix Suns, and Los Angeles Lakers.
Now, the Clippers likely have their sights on re-signing on 2015-16 NBA Sixth Man of the Year award winner Jamal Crawford. However, the team’s chances to retain the 36-year-old may have taken a hit when they extended a lowball offer to the 16-year veteran.
Jamal Crawford was disappointed in the offer he received from the #Clippers Saturday, sources say.
— Mike Mazzeo (@MazzESPN) July 3, 2016
Reports suggest that despite the offer, the Clippers believe they still have a chance to retain Crawford in free agency. The New York Knicks, Dallas Mavericks, Orlando Magic, and Miami Heat were all mentioned as possible suitors for Crawford throughout the week. However, all of those teams have seemingly gone in different directions at the shooting guard position.
With several of their free agents back, the Clippers will enter the 2016-17 season with a similar roster from last year.
[Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images]