Clippers News: Latest on Joakim Noah, Paul George on Restart and More

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistJuly 1, 2020

Memphis Grizzlies center Joakim Noah (55) plays in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Orlando Magic Sunday, March 10, 2019, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill)
Brandon Dill/Associated Press

The Los Angeles Clippers didn't end up commanding the headlines during the NBA's new transaction window ahead of the league restarting in late July. 

That honor belonged to the Los Angeles Lakers, though the Clippers remain in a great position heading to Orlando, Florida, after landing second in the Western Conference at 44-20 before play halted. 

The Clippers did make one notable move, and a star player had some interesting thoughts on the restart. Here's a look at the critical news items to know and some of the details surrounding the Clippers' return to action—which naturally starts with a dance against the Lakers on July 30.


Brandon Dill/Associated Press

The biggest splash for the Clippers came in the form of working something new out with free-agent center Joakim Noah, the team announced

New, because the Clippers had already had Noah on a 10-day deal in March. That was clearly a sign of things to come between the two parties, as the team had a need for both a depth contributor underneath the basket and a mentor for younger players. 

Noah, 35, last played in 2018-19, averaging 7.1 points and 5.7 rebounds over 16.5 minutes per game with the Memphis Grizzlies. With the Clippers, he might slot into a similar role if the team stays in big lineups and Ivica Zubac needs a breather. 

Mentorship and winning a title was a big part of the draw for the veteran Noah, though. 

“The way I look at it is I know that I'm in an environment right now with a winning culture and a team that's really trying to win a championship and there's not much more I could ask for,” Noah said, according to The Athletic's Jovan Buha

Interestingly, not only is this bubble play a chance at a ring for Noah, Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times and Buha reported the current deal includes an option for the season after—Noah's got a chance to stick around for more than one season depending on how things go. 


Paul George talks restart

Paul George remains one of the NBA's biggest names, so it's interesting to get his perspective on things as the league heads toward its restart and sprint to the playoffs. 

George recently opened up on the topic with actor and comedian Kevin Hart on LOL Network's Cold As Balls: Cold Calls YouTube series. 

"I think it's going to go through stages," George said. "Yeah, when we first start back up everybody is weird about no fans being there. But I think honestly, bro, we going to be so excited to hoop again and so excited to play ball again that that's not going to matter."

The restart is going to be unorthodox—but, as Geroge said, fun as well. A quick end to the regular season featuring eight games, plus potential tournaments for playoff berths before a 16-team postseason, figures to be wildly entertaining despite a lack of fans in attendance. 

George will again play a big role for the Clippers, just as he did over 42 games this season when he averaged 21.0 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.3 steals over an average of 29.1 minutes. 

This isn't the first time George has been upbeat about the unorthodox proceedings around the NBA. Back in May, Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said George had taken a leadership role in the all-virtual meetings and workouts. 

"But the good thing with him, where I really think Kawhi has done a great job, is he's been reaching out," Rivers said, according to The Athletic's David Aldridge. "Him and PG (Paul George) have done a great job reaching out to the other players, just to remind them to keep working.”


What's in front of the Clippers

Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

Besides general roster construction, the Clippers—like the rest of the NBA—merely need to handle physically navigating to campus in Orlando. 

According to The Athletic's Shams Charania, the Clippers are in the second wave of teams traveling to campus, joining the likes of the Boston Celtics on July 8. 

Once there, the Clippers will be one of the featured teams in the eventful restart, tipping off against the Lakers at 9 p.m. ET on July 30, a few hours behind a showdown between the Utah Jazz and New Orleans Pelicans.   

From there, the Clippers play those Pelicans, Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks, Portland Trailblazers, Brooklyn Nets, Denver Nuggets and Oklahoma City Thunder in a quick sprint through August 14. Depending on how things shake out, teams might have to partake in brief play-in tournaments before the playoffs begin. 

Even before upgrading roster depth with Noah, the Clippers figured to feature as one of the favorites.