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.
The Clippers, with a well-chronicled need for a playmaking upgrade, are exploring trade routes to acquiring New Orleans' Lonzo Ball before next Thursday's NBA trade deadline, league sources say.— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) March 19, 2021
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?
More news for Monday:
- If you were confused by Charles Barkley missing this year’s All-Star festivities, and lord knows I was, here’s the lovely reason for his absence.
- Zach Lowe’s weekly 10 Things includes some ruminating on the Clippers’ recent slippage, and he rightfully chastises their new gray uniforms.
- ICYMI, the Clippers won comfortably Saturday, but Rookie of the Year favorite LaMelo Ball might have had his season come to an early end.
- The inequities between men’s and women’s college sports were put on stark display at the start of the NCAA Tournaments this past weekend, with disparities in workout equipment, food, COVID testing, photographers, and swag bags, and that’s just what we know of so far!
- Alex Kirshner explains why this is just the tip of the iceberg. Chantel Jennings highlights how the NCAA dropped the ball with working moms. Here’s what Paul George had to say.