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Trade Targets for the Clippers on the Wing

The Clippers wing situation to start the year has been miserable, and something needs to be done. But who should be brought in to help, and can they really make a difference?

Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

The Issues

The Los Angeles Clippers are in desperate need of help on their wing positions. Jamal Crawford is getting a lot of minutes at the 3 in search of some offensive firepower, but this just leads to leaks on the other end. Matt Barnes has been awful this year, contributing nothing on either end of the floor. The Clippers have to hope that his issues stem largely from his divorce and that he will mentally recover at some point. Reggie Bullock has hit shots, but he is severely lacking in everything else, even more than Barnes. Giving him minutes and hoping he improves might be the best option right now. Chris Douglas Roberts has been ineffective and is now out of the rotation. The solution to the Clippers' issues doesn't lie on the barren FA market, so fans are turning to trades. First, let's examine the Clippers' trade assets.

The Assets

Unfortunately, these are few and not very valuable in nature. Bullock is young and was a decent prospect out of UNC, but he hasn't been very impressive in his first 1+ seasons. CJ Wilcox, their first round pick from this past year, probably still has a fair bit of value, but not enough to be the centerpiece of any major acquisition. CP3 and Blake are untouchable, leaving Crawford and JJ Redick as the other two somewhat valuable movable pieces. For most of these trades, I will assume DeAndre Jordan is untouchable as well, and I really doubt he gets moved this season. As for draft picks, their 2015 1st rounder is going to the Celtics for Doc Rivers, and they have a very low possibility at getting some 2nd round picks depending on the protections. The Clippers do have their 2016 and 2018 1st round picks, but these are unlikely to hold too much value.

The Potential Trade Targets

The Denver Nuggets: The Nuggets are struggling badly out of the gate and have an abundance of wings. None of them are stars, but they are all at least serviceable players who would provide an upgrade over the Barnes/Bullock/Douglas Roberts trifecta. Danilo Gallinari has looked like a shell of his former self after several knee surgeries, but has the greatest long term upside of their wing players. Arron Afflalo is a solid scorer and can drain outside shots, but his defense has fallen off badly from a few years ago and he is a bit undersized at the three. Wilson Chandler is a do-it-all master of none player, and probably the best overall fit for the Clippers. A streaky outside shooter and average defender, he would nonetheless be the immediate best option to start at small forward, and at his 6'8 225 size he can play the stretch 4 as well. Their other wing players aren't really fits. Old friend Randy Foye remains a personal favorite of mine, but Clippers fans have seen him play the 3 and it isn't pretty. He would provide good insurance if the Clippers made a separate move trading Jamal or Redick for a true wing. Alonzo Gee is a nice guy to have on the bench for situational play and spot minutes, and he would be an interesting look as a cheap bench option, but not as a starter. Overall though, every single one of these players will probably be available if the Nuggets don't turn it around pretty soon, and the buying price won't be high for any of them. Due to their high salaries, it might be necessary to get other teams involved, but a deal could probably be worked out.

The Memphis Grizzlies: Perhaps the Clippers biggest rival is also one of the best available partners for a trade. Courtney Lee is probably untouchable for any of the Clippers realistic pieces, but the rest of their wings might be available for the right price. However, with the way they have started out the season, they might not want to mess with their roster any time soon. The two most gettable players are Tayshaun Prince and Quincy Pondexter. Prince is a shadow of what he used to be in his prime, but even now would probably be the best perimeter defender on the Clippers, though his shot is too poor for him to start. Pondexter has shown flashes of being a very useful 3 and D player, but his shot is very inconsistent, and he doesn't contribute much else. Like Prince, however, he would be the best perimeter defensive player on the Clippers by a mile, and his shot still commands attention from defenses. He is probably my favorite early trade candidate, though he is available because of how bad he has been so far. I do think he can get back on track however.

The Minnesota Timberwolves: The T-Wolves are pretty bad, worse than I thought they would be, and the trade market is starting to rumble already with rumors of Corey Brewer being shopped to the Rockets or Cavaliers. Now, if those trades don't happen, a trade with the Clippers makes some sense. While Brewer is overrated as a defender and his outside shot is streaky at best, he is still a solid rotation piece, though very overpriced. The Wolves also have Chase Budinger, who is a terrific outside shooter but can't do much else. He could also be acquired fairly cheaply in all likelihood, but giving Bullock more minutes is probably a better option to be honest.

The other potential prospects:

Jeff Green, Celtics: Green's career hasn't quite panned out from his breakout sophomore season when he looked destined for stardom. He has played extremely well this year and had some incredible games last year, though consistency is a big issue. He is a force attacking the basket and can hit open shots, especially corner 3s. Long and lanky, he can be a very good defender when he chooses, though the actual results are variable. Overall, he would be a big upgrade, but I don't think the Clippers have the pieces sans DeAndre Jordan to acquire him.

CJ Miles, Pacers: Miles has been dreadful to start the season, but was a very solid option for the Cavaliers the past two years. His defense is below average, but he can definitely stroke it from deep, and could be acquired pretty cheaply in all likelihood. Unfortunately, he has a long contract that Doc might not want to take on.

JR Smith, Knicks: JR is an explosive talent with a basketball IQ that just isn't very high. This combined with his outgoing and unique personality makes him a bit of a question mark in terms of locker room dynamics, but Chris Paul is notable for keeping his men in line. Smith is no defender, but he is a deadly outside shooter and can also create his own shot with ease. The Knicks have three young wing players who need minutes, and one of them in Tim Hardaway is basically a Smith clone on the court, but with infinitely better intangibles and time to develop. Hardaway would be a good acquisition as well, but would require more to give up on the Clippers end.

There are tons of other potential trade candidates, but these are just a few that make some sense and might be available. I have seen some comments making trades for guys like Aaron Gordon or Michael Kidd Gilchrist. Those can be forgotten. The Clippers are not getting a promising young prospect with any of their trade assets.

Feel free to comment below, and if you ask about a certain player, I will give my best explanation as to why he may or may not be a fit.