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L.A. Clippers look to heal with decisions looming about future

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Clippers are finally out of their misery, a long season marred by significant injuries coming to an end just short of the playoffs.

They finished with a winning record of 42-40, but their streak of consecutive postseason appearances ended at six. They closed out the season Wednesday night with a 115-100 loss to the Lakers, dropping their last four games in a row.

They kept their playoff hopes alive until the final week of the regular season despite the injuries. Eleven players missed a total of 265 games.

Coach Doc Rivers started an NBA-leading 37 different lineups because of the injuries. The Clippers were forced to dip into the G League for starters, most notably C.J. Williams (who was signed to a multi-year deal) and Tyrone Wallace.

The season began with nine new players on the roster after the offseason departures of Chris Paul, J.J. Redick and Jamal Crawford.

But injuries soon befell the newcomers. Point guard Patrick Beverley was lost for the season after right knee surgery; starter Danilo Gallinari missed 60 games with hand and glute issues; backup guard Milos Teodosic was out 36 games with foot problems; and guard Avery Bradley was out 24 games.

Some takeaways from the Clippers’ season:

BIG MAN’S FUTURE: DeAndre Jordan has a player option of $24.1 million for next season or he could explore free agency. He and the team have yet to agree on an extension. “I want to be where I’m wanted,” Jordan said. “I want to have a chance to contend. That’s really what I’m looking at.” He averaged 12 points and 15.2 rebounds, but just 0.9 blocks. Jordan has spent his entire 10-year career with the Clippers and he turns 30 in July. “Let’s not write the script yet,” Rivers said of Jordan’s future.

DOC’S FUTURE: Rivers is entering the final year of his contract. He could either receive an extension or leave after five years in Los Angeles. He was stripped of his duties as president of basketball operations a year ago, leaving his focus solely on the court. “I love where we’re at as a franchise,” Rivers said. While he has yet to match the success he enjoyed in Boston (two NBA Finals appearances and one title), he pulled off one of his best coaching jobs by keeping the Clippers in contention all season when it would have been easy for them to fold. “I really commend him for sticking with us,” Jordan said. Rivers trusted younger players to produce and swingman Montrezl Harrell blossomed under his tutelage.

LOU WILL: Lou Williams led the team with career highs in scoring (22.6 points) and assists (5.3) coming off the bench in his 13th season and first in Los Angeles. His scoring average was the highest of any reserve in the last 25 years. He received a $24 million, three-year deal in February and was a key reason the Clippers remained competitive despite their injuries. “My job this summer is getting myself prepared,” he said. “There’s always room for improvement.”

DRAFT PICKS: Besides their own pick, the Clippers will have Detroit’s pick that they received from trading Blake Griffin in January.

FREE AGENCY: Besides Jordan, the Clippers could have decisions to make if starting guard Austin Rivers and Teodosic exercise their player options and become free agents. Rivers averaged career highs in points, assists, 3-point percentage and minutes. Bradley will be an unrestricted free agent. However, injuries blunted his impact. Harrell will be a restricted free agent, which allows the Clippers to match any offer he would receive. He was an energetic force off the bench.
 

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Report: Pau Gasol to join Trail Blazers

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Free agent center Pau Gasol has agreed to a one-year deal with the Portland Trail Blazers, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Gasol, 39, who was limited to just 30 games last season because of a variety of injuries, has career averages of 17.0 points and 9.2 rebounds over 17 NBA seasons.



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Report: Furkan Korkmaz returning to 76ers

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Free agent forward Furkan Korkmaz has agreed to a two-year contract to return to the Philadelphia 76ers, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Free agent forward Furkan Korkmaz has agreed to a two-year contract to return to the Philadelphia 76ers, agent Mike Lindeman of Excel Sports tells ESPN.

Korkmaz, 21, brings back a rotational forward with the ability to spread the floor with his shooting. The loss of JJ Redick in free agency – and Kyle Korver’s decision to choose Milwaukee over Philadelphia – brought some increased urgency to keep Korkmaz on the Sixers roster.

 The 21-year-old Korkmaz, who was the 26th overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, averaged 5.8 points and 2.2 rebounds in 14.1 minutes last season.

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Report: Kevin Love to withdraw from World Cup

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Cavaliers forward Kevin Love is the latest player expected to withdraw from Team USA’s training camp for the FIBA World Cup, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

This news comes just one day after Damian Lillard reportedly withdrew from the World Cup. Love, who played in just 22 games last season because of a shoulder injury, averaged 17.0 points and 10.9 rebounds in 2018-19.

During the previous two weeks, James Harden, Anthony Davis, Eric Gordon, Zion Williamson and CJ McCollum reportedly decided not to compete in the World Cup this year.

Although the guard ranks will be somewhat depleted of NBA stars, Team USA continues to have a deep pool of players available.



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