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Grade the Trade: Clippers get Green from Memphis

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Let's see what our writers think about the Clippers' deadline swap.

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

It wasn't the most thrilling trade deadline--but one of the best moments was undoubtedly when, a solid 15 minutes after the deadline, word leaked out of a Clippers trade when we had all long given up hope of a last-minute acquisition.  Coincidentally, I cleared my schedule to work the deadline from 11:00am-3:15pm, and then I had to go to class.  The news of the trade leaked at exactly 3:15pm.  Whether it was a great trade, an ok trade, or a horrible one, it's almost always an exciting time for fans when a new player is brought in.  There's a certain undeniable amount of excitement and intrigue when it comes to watching a potential big contributor step onto the court for the first time mid-season.  We'll look back at this trade again in the future when Green's legacy as a Clipper is finished (and when we see about that 2019 pick that Memphis got), but it doesn't hurt to gauge initial reactions now.

The Deal:

Clippers get: Jeff Green

Grizzlies get: Lance Stephenson and 2019 lottery protected first-round draft pick

The Grades:

Jonathan Hu: B-.  The idea of sending a first round pick is never ideal, even if it is potentially a mid to low 1st round pick when it is finally cashed in. Green probably is an upgrade over Lance's production/focus (and lack thereof), but Green has been under performing this year offensively. Admittedly I am not familiar with Green's defense, but his size (6'9'') means he can take minutes at PF from Pierce. That itself is probably an improvement. This is not a trade to get excited over, but one I can understand. Doc replaces Lance with a guy who can and will get a good bit of rotation minutes.

Taylor Smith: C+: I tend to think Green can serve as an upgrade over Lance, but it seems like LAC paid more than they probably had to. The Clippers already matched up fairly well against the Warriors, but is this really a move that makes that much of a difference? I'm happy with Green (for now) in the sense that it should mean less Pierce and LMAM down the road once Blake returns. Green is also preferable to Channing Frye in a vacuum. Did they really have to give up a first rounder to get it done, though?

Niels Pineda: B-: If this were a straight player to player swap, then I would have happily given this an A. I like Jeff Green on this team, and I have wanted him here for a while. Green is inconsistent, and his performance in last year's playoffs scares me because it frankly didn't look like he cared out there, but I think he will be a good fit in Los Angeles as the 4th option on offense. We didn't get Rudy Gay, but we got his less talented clone in Jeff Green. As many Lance fans understand, we were hopeful for Lance's potential, and similarly, we can be hopeful for Green's potential. Not only that, but Green is a much better fit for this Los Angeles squad. With all of that being said, I still stand by my ideal: when you are poor, you have to be frugal, and giving away that 2019 first rounder was not being frugal. I was hoping it would be more than just lottery protected, because the optimist in me would like to think we aren't going to be a lottery team in 2019, but that's not the case. I'm not a fan of Doc giving away First Rounders like free samples at Costco, especially because you don't know where the team is at in 3 years... So even though I'm not a huge fan of the overall deal, I'll be happy with Jeff Green.

Thomas Wood: C. The price isn't all that high, even though Lance never seemed to get a fair shake and I wish Doc didn't treat first-rounders like pennies. But the real Jeff Green simply isn't as good as the imaginary Jeff Green. The imaginary Jeff Green is a long perimeter defender who can stroke it from the corners. The real Jeff Green is a mediocre shooter who takes too many mid-range jumpers and has too little interest in playing defense. However, he'll work OK as a de facto replacement for Blake the next couple months. He's a nifty playmaker and can be a reasonably effective smallball 4. Enough that it makes me wonder if Doc has made up his mind to go all-in on talking OKC into a Blake-Durant swap in the summer, reuniting the former Sonics...

Davey Bales: C+. I believe that Jeff Green is an upgrade over Lance Stephenson, especially given the way that Doc has continued to use (or rather, not use) Lance all season. While Green has the versatility to play the 3 with the starters or small-ball 4 until Blake returns and the potential to be the most productive small forward that Doc has had under his Clippers' tenure, he doesn't arrive from Memphis without questions. He hasn't shot the ball well from three this season and his defense leaves some to be desired, but the talent is there as long as his head is in the right place. Doc will be hoping that Green can fit back into the system that gave him the highest eFG% of his career during Doc's last year in Boston. Without the first-round pick, albeit a supposedly "heavily protected" one, I'd give the trade a B+, but I'm tired of Doc throwing away first-rounders to package offseason signings that he comes to regret (a la Jared Dudley). The hope is that it's a mid-to-late twenties pick, but even so, it's still an asset that's no longer under team control. Consider me cautiously optimistic that Green can fit in and that the team doesn't regret further mortgaging future assests.

Steve Perrin: B+. With Doc wanting to play small, the lineups without Griffin were all too small. Green was always a bit of a tweener,which in today's NBA makes him a good fit as a small ball four. I wish he was better than 34% career from three, but it will keep teams honest, and he should get plenty of open looks in this offense, so maybe the percentage will creep up. But the simple fact is that Green is never going to be the star that many people made him out to be and he still seems a tad overrated. Yes, he does a lot of things well -- but he doesn't do any of them THAT well. But there's not much downside here. Lance was a dubious fit and is replaceable. Green is a career starter who will come off the bench for the Clippers and has great versatility. I'll take that.

Matt Heller: D. Jeff Green is a boxed lunch turkey sandwich you're forced to eat on a work retreat because the only other choice is egg salad and that shit is gross. Actually, to be more precise, Jeff Green is a boxed lunch turkey sandwich you're forced to eat on a work retreat...who shoots 31% from three. Also this means I'm taking a huge loss on my "Born Ready...To Lob" Etsy home jewelry line.

Robert Flom: C+: Jeff Green is undoubtedly an upgrade over Lance Stephenson. He is a more talented player who also fits the roster better as he can play the stretch 4 and limit or eliminate the minutes of one Paul Pierce. That's the good part. The bad part is that while he is an upgrade, he is by no means a "game-changer" that will push the Clippers to another level. They are still nowhere near Golden State or San Antonio, and a win-now move that doesn't accomplish that by definition isn't very successful. While the future 1st round pick is well protected and might not translate for seven years (and as a 2nd rounder), it is still an asset that was given up for 30 games of Jeff Green. Even if the Clippers sign him as a free agent in the offseason, Green is not young and his game, largely dependent on athleticism, probably won't age well. This isn't a devastatingly bad move, just a resoundingly "meh" one.

Shapan Debnath: C+.  It's hard to grade this trade. Did the Clippers get better? Yeah, it would seem. But how much have they really addressed their issues? Can Jeff Green really play 3 or D at the level the Clippers would like? Green is shooting 31% from distance this season and he hasn't been the primary option. His motor, as has been his issue, has been questioned again this season. He too often alternates between not giving a crap and spurts of production. It would be nicer to have a steadier hand rather than a player who sometimes can't even get up for games, but he's one of Doc's guys. He can play the 3 and 4, and by all means he looks the role. Giving away the first rounder that's fairly protected is short sighted yes, and Doc probably wouldn't draft a keeper with it either, but it's still an asset that could probably be used for better than in this desperate situation. We'll have Green's bird rights and the guy could be inspired playing under Doc again, but it's scary having such a crucial season depend on a guy who sometimes checks himself out of games. At least he's more reliable than Lance, I suppose.

Lucas Hann: B.  I had two qualms with the proposed Lance-Channing Frye swap (though I liked Frye's fit as a player): 1) Lance was the Clippers best shot at a SF, and they couldn't give him up without getting a SF back, and 2) Frye doesn't help the Clippers a whole lot against the Warriors' small, versatile lineup.  Well, Jeff Green addresses both of those issues--he'll be far and away the Clippers best SF on the roster, and he's certainly versatile enough to play against one of the Warriors' wings.  The issue becomes the pick, which isn't great in a vacuum but becomes palatable in context when you consider that 1) Green wasn't a salary dump, so the Clippers needed to sweeten the deal, 2) help for Chris Paul now matters far more than a future pick, and 3) the Clippers now have the bird rights to re-sign a SF this summer who is worlds better than who they could have otherwise afforded.  Jeff Green is far from a great or perfect player--but he's a helluva upgrade of the Clippers' most glaring weakness.