Down goes another member of the Clippers frontcourt.
After an earlier report that the Nuggets were pursuing JaMychal Green and Marcus Morris Sr. to fill a hole in their frontcourt, it was announced that the Clippers and Morris had agreed to terms. However, Denver got half of its wish list, as Green is on his way to the Nuggets. Per Shams Charania, Green signed a two-year deal worth $15 million. This is a significant raise from the $5.0 million Green was set to make this year with the Clippers, validating his decision to opt out.
Part of the reason for Green’s change of scenery may have been that he felt underused this past year in Los Angeles. After shining in the 2019 postseason, Green was pigeon-holed back into a backup forward role when he had shined as a stretch five. The Nuggets don’t have a backup center behind Nikola Jokic currently, so Green could earn minutes there. He could play also play forward next to Jokic, given both players’ ability to operate in the paint and in the perimeter.
It’s interesting that Denver beat the Clippers and then targeted two of their players in free agency. Perhaps the Nuggets saw untapped potential in Green, who averaged 7.1 points and 4.9 rebounds in 17.1 minutes per game in the conference semifinals while shooting 60.6 percent from the field.
Denver’s gain is a big loss for the Clippers. It was expected that the Clippers would probably lose one of the trio of Montrezl Harrell, Morris, and Green. But now two are gone, and both of them to conference rivals. The LA frontcourt still has Zubac and Morris, but behind them lies Patrick Patterson, Mfiondu Kabengele, rookie Daniel Oturu, and perhaps 35-year-old Joakim Noah. Reinforcements will need to be arrive, and the Clippers don’t have a ton of flexibility after shelling out big money for Morris.
Aron Baynes and Marc Gasol are good players for the Clippers to look at, as well as the newly-waived Dewayne Dedmon. The LA front office has always seemingly been a step ahead throughout the past few seasons, but this decision from Green is a bit of a curveball. Let’s see how the Clippers respond.