In a move that is relatively minor but at the same time surprising, the Los Angeles Clippers today waived injured second year forward Trey Thompkins. Thompkins has not been in uniform this season after suffering a bone bruise on his knee in summer league that has kept him on the sidelines ever since.
Here's the press release from the club:
The Los Angeles Clippers today waived forward Trey Thompkins. The 37th overall selection of the 2011 NBA Draft by the Clippers out of Georgia, Thompkins averaged 2.4 points and 1.0 rebounds in 24 games during his rookie season. He did not appear in a game this season due to a left knee bone bruise.
"We want to thank Trey for his contribution to the Clippers," Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro said. "Unfortunately, he was never able to truly showcase his talents this season due to injuries. We wish him all the best and believe he has a bright future."
The Clippers roster currently stands at 14.
Thompkins was a second round pick in the 2011 draft whom the Clippers seemed genuinely hopeful for. With good size and good range, the Clippers believed he might eventually develop into a coveted stretch four, and signed him to a three year unguaranteed contract. He appeared in 24 games last season as a rookie, logging 14 minutes and scoring eight points in an early season appearance against Houston. But as the Clippers added more viable front court options to the roster like Reggie Evans and Kenyon Martin, Thompkins was pushed to the end of the bench.
Waiving him at this late stage, with just five weeks left in the regular season, is a curious move, but may indicate that the team intends to sign someone to the newly available roster spot. Like the Heat bringing back Juwan Howard, the Clippers may plan to bring in a veteran big, one who would be unlikely to play, but who could at least be trusted not to make mistakes in the playoffs if the need arises. There would not seem to be any other reason to waive the kid -- he's a terrific towel-waver and a nice guy who seems popular with his teammates.
Hopefully Trey can get healthy and give it a try with another NBA team next season.