West Notes: Clippers, Kawhi Leonard, Nuggets, Blazers


Kawhi Leonard returned to the court after missing all of last season while recovering from ACL surgery, the Clippers defeating the Trail Blazers in Seattle in the preseason opener.

Leonard finished with 11 points and four rebounds in limited action.

“It was great,” Leonard said. “Just being able to put all that hard work that I did throughout the, 14, 16 months, just able to put it to (the) test and playing against NBA talent, it was good. Just being out there with the guys and talking, I missed it. It was a great experience for me.”

Paul George also played, as did John Wall, who made his Clippers debut off the bench. Wall sat out all of last season while with the Rockets.


Jamal Murray played his first game in more than a year, as the Nuggets opened the preseason with a loss to the Thunder.

It marked Murray’s first game since suffering a torn ACL in April 2021. He was mobbed by teammates during player introductions and finished with 10 points.

The game also marked a return for Michael Porter Jr., who missed the majority of last season with a back issue. Porter played 14 minutes and 5-of-7 shooting for 12 points.

  • The Nuggets have exercised their third-year team option on guard Bones Hyland, per Mike Singer of the Denver Post. Hyland was the No. 26 overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. The move locks in his $2.3 million salary for his third season.

Trail Blazers

Rookie Shaedon Sharpe struggled in the loss to the Clippers, but coach Chauncey Billups and Sharpe’s teammates said the key is to be patient.

“His head is just spinning,” Billups said, via the Oregonian’s Aaron Fentress. “He’s just 19. He’s a rookie. You get out there and you forget the plays, and he was just so excited he was playing in an NBA game. But as ya’ll can see, his athleticism is going to be on display every single time he touches the floor. And the game, and everything we do, is going to slow down for him the more we practice.”

  • Meanwhile, Damian Lillard was pleased with his first performance in nine months. “I just felt relaxed just coming out and having fun just hooping again,” he said, via Fentress. “When I got out there I just felt good. I was moving around well.”
  • Josh Hart started at small forward in the Blazers’ first preseason game, collecting 10 rebounds. As Fentress wrote, overall the starters played with lots of energy and athleticism, but shot the ball poorly.

Looking for the latest NBA Insider News & Rumors?

Be sure to follow Hoops Wire on TWITTER and FACEBOOK for breaking NBA News and Rumors for all 30 teams!

Leave a Reply