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DeMarcus Cousins is on the move, and it could affect the Clippers

Somewhere, in the shadows, Doc Rivers has a lot to gain from this trade.

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Sacramento Kings Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA Trade Deadline is officially underway.

As if last week’s trade between the Denver Nuggets and Portland Trail Blazers wasn’t enough, the Sacramento Kings and New Orleans Pelicans turned the NBA on its head Sunday when they agreed to a deal that will send All-NBA talent DeMarcus Cousins to Louisiana.

Now, as the teams involved—and the rest of the league—start to gauge their surroundings post-bombshell, the L.A. Clippers have a shot to make moves that may not have been available just a few hours ago.

Carmelo Anthony and Omer Asik

First, the most obvious and exciting ramification involves how this deal strongly increases New Orleans’ need for my proposed Jamal Crawford-Omer Asik swap. Putting together a series of reports, we know the following things:

  1. The Clippers are still interested in Carmelo Anthony.
  2. The hold-up all along has been finding a landing spot for Jamal Crawford
  3. The teams (while again, still being interested) haven’t been involved in serious talks for a while.
  4. The Knicks haven’t had a real offer on the table to take to Melo for his consideration.

It seems that if the Clippers can work out a reasonable trade where they find a landing spot for Crawford, they’d be able to re-engage the Knicks and put an offer on the table for Phil Jackson to take to Anthony. Would Carmelo waive his no-trade clause at the deadline to go to the Clippers? At this point, it’s anyone’s guess.

But if the Clippers weren’t able to work a Crawford-Asik swap before, there’s a lot of reason to think that the Pelicans would find it more attractive now. Obviously, with Cousins on the roster, New Orleans has all the more reason to cut Asik’s extraneous salary from their big-man rotation. And, now that they’ve traded two rotation guards (Tyreke Evans and Langston Galloway) for a center, they could surely use Crawford’s shooting and offensive creation off of the bench. To top it all off, the Pelicans now have a limited window to impress Cousins and keep their new All-NBA duo together. Jamal Crawford isn’t going to do that single-handedly, but he would help New Orleans earn the 8-seed this season, taking Cousins to his first-ever playoff berth. For the Pelicans, who are currently 3 losses out of the Western Conference playoff picture, making it this year is the first step towards being competitive in the years to come.

Langston Galloway and Matt Barnes

While these two aren’t quite as exciting as the big-picture fence-swinging above, they might be a little more feasible. The Kings need to cut a player before they can officially make the Cousins trade, and Barnes is an obvious candidate—an older player who is struggling in Sacramento and doesn’t seem to fit their new rebuild plans. If Barnes is released, he’d likely clear waivers (he makes a little over 6 million this year, and has a player option for $6.4M next year), and if he ends up a free agent, he’d almost definitely become a Clipper. He had the most success of his career with the Clippers in recent years, and the two teams had mutual interest last summer before the Clippers went with Wesley Johnson instead. Barnes’ two sons also still live in Los Angeles—it seems like a no-brainer that he’d choose to spend the next few months as a Clipper again.

Langston Galloway could also find himself a free agent as a result of this deal—he’s being included in the package headed to Sacramento but some early reports seem to indicate that the Kings will release him. Galloway is less likely than Barnes to clear waivers, as he’s only 25 years old and owed $5.25M this season and $5.43M next year. He’s an intriguing young player but far from a finished product (maybe somewhat comparable to Austin Rivers when he first arrived in Los Angeles), an athletic combo guard who plays scrappy defense. With the Clippers looking for guard help (especially if they’re navigating the aftermath of a big trade where they lose Austin Rivers and/or Jamal Crawford), Galloway is as good as anyone on the market, and it seems like a rotation role on the Clippers would be an enticing opportunity for him (although the Cavaliers could probably make a strong pitch too). It’s possible that a team claims his full contract, and it seems like someone ought to, but if the Kings are really going to cut him instead of trading him, maybe nobody wants him.

Even if the Clippers end up with none of the four aforementioned players (though if Barnes gets cut by the Kings, he’s almost a sure bet to be a Clipper within the next week), it just goes to show how much the Cousins blockbuster shook the NBA landscape. Someone is going to add Galloway, which means some other guard is going to be available, and so goes the domino effect. For now, Doc Rivers is working the phones just like every other eager NBA executive, trying to find the right deal to help his team on the basketball court.

And who knows: the Kings’ ineptitude could directly lead to any or all four of the guys I mentioned playing in L.A. by the end of the week.

The Clippers have one glaring roster need. Can they fill it?

Here's a quick way to get up to speed on the Clippers options for the trade deadline.

Опубліковано Clips Nation 13 січня 2017 р.