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Clippers Trade Lance Stephenson to Memphis for Jeff Green

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Clippers have traded Lance Stephenson and their 2019 first-round pick (protected) to the Memphis Grizzlies.  Jeff Green will come to Los Angeles in the deal.

Green is a 6'9" combo forward who previously played for Doc Rivers in Boston.  While he's always been a solid player, he's well-known as a guy that teams regularly target as "the answer" when he really isn't.  Furthermore, Green, a 34% career three-point shooter, is only shooting 31% from deep this season--hardly what the Clippers need at the SF spot.  On the other hand, the Clippers did manage to land another consistent contributor, which was the goal.  Green can play PF and SF, which is an advantage for small-ball lineups and helps in the short-term while Griffin is out.  He's also on an expiring deal, and he's a level of player that the Clippers would have been priced out of this summer--unless they acted now to secure his bird rights.

The pick is the part of the deal that hurts, but it was necessary if the Clippers were to make a move for Green.  Since his contract is expiring, the Clippers could not offer any salary relief to Memphis, making the inclusion of a pick necessary.  I'm sure the team tried to include C.J. Wilcox in the trade instead, but recent first-round picks don't have the same trade value as future first-round picks, interestingly enough.  Blake Griffin and Chris Paul could both potentially be off of the Clippers by the 2018-2019 season, making that pick somewhat valuable, but the protections account for that--either the team is good and they lose another 20-something selection, or the team is bad and they keep their pick.  The main issue is that now the Clippers cannot trade a first-round pick until 2021, which severely limits their trade flexibility long-term.

More as it comes.