Clippers retain veteran Patrick Patterson to begin free agency

About an hour after NBA Free Agency started on Friday, it was reported that the Clippers agreed to re-sign one of their forwards from last season. No, not Montrezl Harrell, Marcus Morris Sr. or JaMychal Green, not yet – but experienced reserve Patrick Patterson.

As first reported by ESPN and confirmed by a source in the league, Patterson, 31, agreed to a one-year deal to return to the team for which he proved a steadfast presence despite a hugely changing role last season. first on the team.

The 6-foot-8 power forward started 18 of the 59 games, but played less than five minutes in 12 games and not at all in 13 others. The Kentucky product averaged 4.9 points, shooting 40.8 percent off the floor and 39 percent of the 3-point range on nearly three deep attempts per game.

Patterson, a well-known movie buff with some interest in exploring the entertainment industry, is likely to get a veteran minimum, as suggested by ESPN’s Bobby Marks. That would be worth about $ 2.6 million.

Patterson was one of five Clippers players from last season’s roster to hit free this off-season, along with point guard Reggie Jackson, center / forward Harrell and forwards Morris and Green.

Harrell posted a video to Instagram of a flight to LAX early Friday afternoon, perhaps hinting at a meeting with the Clippers. And Morris tweeted eyeball emojis when the free agency opened at 3 p.m. PT, either to hint at upcoming news or just play with the NBA fans who were trapped on social media for clues.

And Green – who pulled out for the second year of his $ 5 million deal – posted to Instagram early Friday. His social media signaling came down to emojis of praying hands and crossed fingers.

Harrell, Green and Morris were all important factors for the Clippers last season.

Green, 30, is a versatile piglet that can monitor multiple positions and has been shown to stretch the floor; he shot 47.8 percent (22 for 46) from a 3-point range in his 19 postseason games with the team.

The Alabama native had other serious suitors last off-season, but chose to return to LA and pursue a championship with the Clippers, whose title aspirations collapsed in the second round of the Western Conference playoffs when they took a 3-1 lead against the Denver Nuggets.

Green is expected to receive similar offers this year, likely between the $ 5.7 million mid-level exception and the full $ 9.3 million mid-level exception. The Clippers could also offer the security of a longer-term deal to entice Green to continue his championship hunt with them.

31-year-old Morris is a strong, versatile forward who is able to guard high-scoring wings and score reliably himself.

With the green light in New York, the 6-8 attacker averaged 19.6 points per game and shot 43.9 percent of the 3-point range for the Knicks. In a more limited offensive role after being traded to the Clippers, Morris scored an average of 10.1 points and shot only 31.0 percent deep in the regular season before finding his position in the postseason, as he became the team’s fourth highest playoff scorer was, with an average of 11.8. Shooting points per game at 50.5 percent, including hitting 47.5 percent of the 4.5 3-pointers he attempted per game.

Harrell, for his part, is on a pay rise and will certainly have suitors after proving durable and productive during his team-friendly, two-year, $ 12 million deal for the past two years. The 26-year-old was not performing at his best in Orlando’s ‘bubble’ after missing a month to mourn the death of his grandmother, but he only missed one game of the regular season in two seasons before the coronavirus hiatus . His grades this season (18.6 points, 7.1 rebounds, 1.1 blocked shots per game) earned him recognition as the NBA’s sixth man of the year.

Prior to free agency, the Clippers set to work on improving the team around Kawhi Leonard and Paul George on Wednesday night’s draft. They used a complex three-team swap to acquire fourth-year Detroit shooter Luke Kennard while sending Landry Shamet to Brooklyn and Rodney McGruder to Detroit.

“Luke is a young emerging player who has worked hard to establish himself as a reliable shooter and playmaker,” said Lawrence Frank, president of the Clippers basketball organization, in a press release on Thursday. “We’ve admired him from afar for a while and are excited to have him.”

In addition to Kennard, the Clippers Pistons center got Justin Patton back in the deal for a non-guaranteed contract, the draft rights to Jay Scrubb (the Nets’ 55th overall pick) and four second-round draft picks (2023 via Portland and 2024, 2025 and 2026 via Detroit).

Those design assets “allow us to continue to craft and develop young talent in the years to come or otherwise explore trading opportunities,” said Frank.

In addition, on Wednesday, the Clippers traded for Daniel Oturu, a Minnesota 6-10 center and the New York Knicks’ 33rd pick, in exchange for a second round in 2023.

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