The LA Clippers announced their summer league roster on Saturday, highlighted by the return of Moussa Diabaté and first round rookie Kobe Brown:

Clippers fans will be most excited to see sophomore big man Moussa Diabaté, rookie forward Kobe Brown, and rookie wing Jordan Miller. Look for all three to be featured heavily in Las Vegas as the three Summer Clippers who are guaranteed to be a part of the team’s 18-man roster next season. Brown will be on the normal 15-man roster on a rookie scale contract, while Miller is expected to be placed on a two-way contract as a second round rookie. Diabaté is currently a restricted free agent after being on a two-way last season–it remains to be seen if he’ll be added to the 15-man roster or brought back on another two-way.

Third-year guard Jason Preston is also back for another stint with the Summer Clippers, after two years of scarcely playing as a member of LAC’s roster. Preston has a non-guaranteed contract that was set to become guaranteed if not released by July 7th, but the Clippers and Preston mutually agreed to push that deadline to July 18th. This will allow the Clippers to see how Preston does in Summer League before deciding on his fate for next season–it also, importantly, gives the team more time to determine if they need his $1.8M salary as filler in a trade under the new NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement’s more restrictive trade rules. Notably, fellow third-year Clipper Brandon Boston Jr. is not heading back to Vegas this summer, with the Clippers already deciding to guarantee his salary for next season. Are the Clippers just looking to give other guys opportunity, since they already know Boston can dominate G-League level competition? Or is Boston involved in ongoing trade talks for James Harden? There’s no real way for us to know.

A few other Clipper-adjacent names will be here: Xavier Moon has spent time with the Clippers in each of the last two seasons as an emergency ball-handler, but at 28 years old doesn’t realistically have NBA upside. He could be a candidate for a two-way contract next year in a similar emergency capacity, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see them go in another direction. Xavier Castaneda is an undrafted free agent who will reportedly compete for a two-way spot for the Clippers in camp, although it’s worth remembering that the guys the Clippers extend those offers to on draft night rarely actually make it to the roster. I’m a bit puzzled by the team listing him as a 6’1″ forward, since RealGM lists him as a point guard–I’m wondering if this was just a clerical error. The 23-year-old averaged 22 points per game for Akron last year as a 5th-year season while making 39% on a high volume of three-point attempts–it wouldn’t surprise me to see him scoring in Vegas as well. 24-year-old guard Keaton Wallace has spent the last two years as a high-impact starter on the Ontario Clippers and was a backup for the Summer Clippers last year. He spent a few days on a two-way contract with LAC last season and could be a leading candidate to earn one this year with the third two-way spot being added.

Beyond that, the Clippers have brought on a slate of undrafted players from previous years who are playing in other professional leagues. Jordan Bowden, a 26-year-old 6’5″ wing who went underafted out of Tennessee in 2020, has spent the last 3 years with the Long Island Nets of the NBA G-League, averaging 17 points per game as a starter last season. Matt Morgan, a 6’2″ 25-year-old guard who went undrafted out of Cornell in 2019, is one of the most intruiging names on this roster. Morgan averaged over 20 points per game as a breakout star in the French LNB last season, one of the best non-NBA leagues in the world, where he was named as one of three MVP finalists alongside #1 overall pick Victor Wembanyama. Nate Renfro, a 26-year-old 6’8″ forward who went undrafted in 2019 out of San Francisco, left the G-League last summer for the competitive Greek league, where he posted modest averages of 7 points and 6 rebounds as a starter. Renfro is a non-shooter who attempted just 3 three-point attempts in 38 games last season, missing all of them.

Fred Sims Jr., a 26-year-old 6’4″ guard who went undrafted in 2018 out of Chicago State, is harder to track down. He has no G-League track record and his last appearance in a league tracked by RealGM was in Portugal in 2020. Eurohoops has him appearing in the second tier in Austria before seemingly playing for the Limon Sharks in the Costa Rican league most recently–I honestly wonder what the story is behind him getting brought in. On the other hand Brodric Thomas, 6’5″ out of Truman State, actually has the most NBA experience on this roster–he’s played in 44 total games for Cleveland, Houston, and Boston, though he didn’t appear in an NBA game last year. In both of his previous Las Vegas Summer League stints, he started and averaged double figures. It’s unclear if he played professionally last year after being cut by the Celtics in training camp. Lastly, Bryson Williams, a 6’8″ 25-year-old forward who went undrafted in 2022 out of Texas Tech, spent time with the Ontario Clippers last season before joining a team in France for their final 7 games of the season. He averaged 8 points and 5 rebounds in 20 minutes off the bench for Ontario, notably making 35% of his threes, before averaging 10 points and 4 rebounds in france while shooting 42% from deep. Williams also shot 42% from three on low volume in his final year at Texas Tech (as a sixth-year senior), giving him a track record as a stretch 4/undersized 5.

Overall, the Clippers clearly trended older/more established for their summer league roster this season. The youngest player by almost two full calendar years is Diabaté, who was their rookie last season. Finding the right combination of guys to put together a team for a week is never easy, but there certainly seems to have been a vision here in pursuing players that have proven themselves (in varying degrees, since not all 13 guys can play significant minutes) in other professional leagues. If the Clippers determine that one or two of these players from around the world have taken the leap to NBA-caliber in their mid-20s, securing them on a two-way contract for next season would be good business.

Lucas Hann

Lucas Hann

Lucas has covered the Clippers since 2011, and has been credentialed by the team since 2014. He co-founded 213Hoops with Robert Flom in January 2020.  He is a graduate of Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, CA and St. John's University in Queens, NY.  He earned his MA in Communication and Rhetorical Studies from Syracuse University.

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