Earlier this week the NBA blogs of SB Nation participated in a Theme Day for the start of trade season in which each blog contemplated what trades their team might want to make. If you missed it, you should check out the overview of it. My contribution was a re-stating of things we've known for awhile around here -- the Clippers need a big, but are severely limited in how they might go about getting said big.
Part of the problem with discussing trades is that fans (and let's face it, bloggers are fans) tend to be unrealistic. So invariably a team's available assets are overvalued in any proposed trades -- everyone wants something for nothing. General Managers aren't immune to this impulse of course.
Last season SB Nation added a Seattle SuperSonics blog when it seemed like the Kings might move to Seattle. (If that seems strange, remember that sports blogs often exist first and foremost to address underserved niche fanbases -- can't get more nichey than an NBA team that no longer exists, so it makes perfect sense.) The Sonics Rising blog, not actually having a dog in this fight, is therefore uniquely positioned to take a step back and play matchmaker among the other teams. Which is exactly what they did.
I encourage you to read the full post, which has some interesting ideas, but specific to the Clippers they came up with two ideas:
Reggie Bullock and cash to Washington; Trevor Booker to Los Angeles.
Steve Perrin of Clips Nation suggested that the Clippers attempt to acquire Trevor Booker from the Wizards. Meanwhile, the Wizards are having a tough time getting good minutes from their backup guards. Eric Maynor has been less than advertised thus far and the Wizards desperately need help on the bench. The Clippers have plenty of guards and could really use a big off the bench like Booker, who has seen some starts lately for the injured Nene. Booker is also expiring, which also plays into the Clippers' favor for freeing up some money next season.
So let's be clear. Yes, I did bring up Booker in my trade season post. And actually I like Booker a lot, an undersized four who is nonetheless a beast on the glass and a surprisingly good scorer. But the one and only reason I mentioned Booker is because he is far and away the best fit who the Clippers could acquire with their Eric Bledsoe trade exception. I would NOT advocate giving up Reggie Bullock for him by any means -- even though ostensibly it would balance the roster some this season. (I think the author believes the cash has to be included to balance the trade -- I'm not sure. This trade would not in fact work as Booker-for-Bullock, but the deal could still be accomplished between the teams since Booker fits into the Clippers' trade exception while Bullock fits into Washington's Jordan Crawford trade exception. So bottom line is, it's a legal trade and interesting at some level -- but the Clippers would not and should not give up Bullock in this deal.)
Spencer Hawes to Los Angeles; Willie Green, Jared Dudley, and a second-round pick to Philadelphia.
The Clippers really need a center that can finish games. By "finish games" I mean play halfway decent defense and hit free throws. Spencer Hawes does both of those things, averaging nearly as many blocks per game as DeAndre Jordan and shooting 75% from the charity stripe. Jordan? 40% from the line. Trading Hawes for the likes of Dudley and Green gets Philly a little something for Hawes' expiring and helps them on the path of tanking. Dudley has one of the lowest PER's on the Clippers and I'm sure the Clippers can find someone to fill his spot... Oh wait, they just signed Stephen Jackson.
If I'm not on board with the first trade proposal from Sonic's Rising, I'm 100% on board with this one. After all, I mock traded for Hawes this summer, and he's having his best season. As a five who is comfortable on the perimeter but also a competent (if not good) defender, he'd be a nice complement to Blake Griffin. A three big rotation of Griffin, Jordan and Hawes is vastly superior to the Clippers current situation.
If the Sixers would agree to this trade, the Clippers would, I feel fairly certain. But I'm equally certain the Sixers are not going to agree to this trade. There's really not anything in it for them.
Getting trades done is hard, since by definition both teams have to agree, and both teams are trying to improve. Teams have to be looking for different things, and even then, there can't be too great a disparity in any single factor (like expense or talent). Having a third party look through trade needs and make suggestions is an interesting exercise -- and even then, I doubt there are any Clipper deals to be made.