According to Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities, the Los Angeles Clippers are among a few Western Conference powerhouses with interest in Timberwolves forward Adreian Payne. Payne, who was taken No. 15 overall in the 2014 draft by Atlanta, has struggled to find a role with the young Timberwolves this season.
Wolfson, who reported this tidbit on his podcast, said that the Clippers, Spurs and Thunder all have "fringe" interest in the 6'10" forward. In 31 games so far this season, he's averaged 2.7 points and 2.0 rebounds in only nine minutes per. Last season, though, after coming over in a trade from the Hawks prior to the deadline, Payne averaged over seven points and five boards a game for the Wolves in 29 appearances. He's also recently spent some time with the Erie Bayhawks of the D-League, where he averaged about 26 points, nine rebounds and four assists on 44% shooting from the floor.
Minnesota has a jam-packed frontcourt, and Payne hasn't established himself as quickly as many thought he would after his four-year collegiate career with Michigan State. He was tabbed as a potential stretch-four coming out of MSU, but has connected on just 30% of his triples as a pro. He's also already 24, which makes him several years older than most other players from his draft class.
Given Payne's unproven track record in the league, it surely wouldn't take a whole lot to pry him from Minnesota. C.J. Wilcox would seem a natural candidate to head the other way in any deal, especially considering Minnesota's dearth of shooting. The Clippers would theoretically be interested in Payne to add a bit of frontcourt depth and a better long-term option than Jeff Ayres. Doc Rivers hasn't been one to give big minutes to youngsters since he's been with the Clippers, so he likely wouldn't be factoring much into LAC's regular rotation this season.