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Clippings: One more check-in before the trade deadline

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The point guard trade rumors are still very much alive.

Toronto Raptors v Los Angeles Clippers Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

The Clippers internally believe that they have enough to compete for an NBA title, but with the trade deadline this week, they’re not going to be complacent. On Friday, in his weekly column, Zach Lowe of ESPN had this to say about what the Clippers could possibly be up to before Thursday.

Expect the Clippers to be active over the next week with their limited remaining assets — including a bundle of Detroit Pistons second-rounders. Patrick Patterson is making $3.1 million — instead of the minimum — for a reason, and it’s not because of what he has done in 166 minutes of playing time. The Clips under Lawrence Frank have operated in extreme stealth. Rest assured, they are shaking trees.

Not two hours after that article published, this report dropped from Marc Stein of The New York Times.

Trading for Lonzo Ball would be challenging since he’s on the rise, but the noise about the Clippers needing a playmaker has not dissipated, especially after Patrick Beverley once again hit the shelf with a nagging knee injury. Head coach Ty Lue was quick to say that Beverley didn’t participate in the team’s practice Friday, and he was an early scratch for tonight’s contest against Atlanta. Maybe the Clippers don’t believe there is a player who is an upgrade on a healthy Beverley; however, there might be a more available point guard on the market.

On Sunday, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer reported that the Clippers “retain interest” in acquiring Kyle Lowry, furthering their quest to become Raptors West. Trading for Lowry would require parting with Ivica Zubac, Lou Williams, and Beverley, as well as all of the Detroit seconds and more salary. It seems unlikely the Clippers would be willing to give up that much, and it’s also quite difficult to put a deal together.

O’Connor noted that LA’s realistic targets are less splashy than Ball or Lowry:

League sources say the Clippers have had trade talks with Oklahoma City for George Hill and with Minnesota for Ricky Rubio.

A Hill trade makes sense. It’s not the first time this particular name has surfaced, and the salary works if the Clippers give up Williams and Mfiondu Kabengele along with some draft compensation. Rubio makes more money and hasn’t been particularly good this year, so it’s hard to see why the Clippers have chased that particular target.

Whatever happens, the expectation around the league is for the Clippers to do something. They’ve made deadline deals each of the past three seasons since Frank has been in charge — and impactful ones, at that. Any guesses as to what happens this year?

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