NBA Rumor Round Up For Wednesday, November 25:
Charlotte Hornets: With Steve Clifford working on an expiring contract, the Hornets and their head coach have agreed to an extension. According to Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer, Clifford now has a guaranteed deal through the 2018-19 season. No word yet, but the extension likely includes 2019-20 as a team option or a non-guaranteed year. This was a wise move to lock in Clifford as he would have drawn a lot of interest in July had he gone into the offseason as a free agent.
Los Angeles Clippers: Head coach Doc Rivers had hinted a change at the starting small forward position could be coming and it came to fruition in Denver. Rivers dropped Paul Pierce to the bench and promoted Wesley Johnson to the first unit against the Nuggets. Rivers is planning to keep his options open when it comes to the small forward spot. "That lineup is a lineup that I'm going to keep moving, depending on guys," Rivers told the Los Angeles Times. "I like Wes the most because of his size and his ability to shoot, but there's nights where you play a great offensive player at that spot and we may go with a defensive guy. We're going to just keep moving it around."
New Orleans Pelicans: Tyreke Evans is expecting to play at some point during the three-game road trip and it may come on Wednesday. "I feel confident about my knee, just being stronger from the surgery and time off," Evans tells The Times-Picayune. "I've been pushing off it and working out before the games. I definitely have an extra step in my game." ... Evans did experience some minor knee soreness on Tuesday, so the medical staff will remain cautious when it comes to clearing him for game action. "At this stage, we're not going to do anything that doesn't make sense," Alvin Gentry said. "There's no reason to rush right now. When the time comes, we'll put him in and see how it goes. But not do anything to take any risk at all."
Houston Rockets: Ty Lawson was demoted to the backup point guard position three games ago and his role won't be changing any time soon as the interim head coach prefers Jason Terry in that spot. "We like the leadership that 'Jet' brings with that first group,” J.B. Bickerstaff told ESPN.com's Calvin Watkins after Tuesday’s practice. “Then we’ll bring those other guys in off the bench.” ... Lawson is not a good fit with James Harden, so for the rest of the season he will likely come off the bench. “It’s definitely a different guy when you see it on tape,” he said. “Hopefully this move, this transition will get me back to my old self.”
Philadelphia 76ers: The team got some good news on Tuesday as an MRI showed Nik Stauskas just has a contusion on the outside of his left knee, per The Philadelphia Inquirer. The Sixers are listing Stauskas as day-to-day.
Denver Nuggets: According to The Denver Post, center/forward Joffrey Lauvergne felt "really good" after Tuesday's workout and he might be available for game action later this week. Lauvergne has been sidelined since Nov. 1 due to lower back pain.
Oklahoma City Thunder: Head coaches can not make every player happy when it comes to minutes on the floor and this is the case with Billy Donovan regarding Anthony Morrow and Kyle Singler. Morrow is now averaging 20 minutes in recent games, while Singler is getting just 10.5 minutes. “What’s ended up happening is you look at a couple of games ... the Knicks game we’re down 16 points in the fourth quarter ... you’re trying to manufacture some kind of energy, some kind of intensity," Donovan tells The Oklahoman. "We threw him (Morrow) in there and he did a good job, and you want to give him a chance the next night. He’s played well, and Kyle’s had some moments where he’s played well too. It’s such a long season, and I don’t think your rotations are always gonna be set in stone."