While it was reported that the Los Angeles Clippers just extended an offer to Moses Brown, they could fill their backup center hole, left by Isaiah Hartenstein’s offseason departure, another way. Namely, Chinanu Onuaku, the reigning Israeli League MVP and former member of the Houston Rockets.
It was reported by Aris Barkas of Eurohoops.net that Onuaku will work out for NBA teams on Wednesday at the Las Vegas Summer League. The Clippers will be among those in attendance, as will the Toronto Raptors, Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, and Los Angeles Lakers. Greece’s Panathinaikos is also expected to pursue the big man, with a two-year contract reportedly forthcoming.
Onuaku projects as a mobile rim protector on defense and a solid lob threat on offense. He has also shown impressive court vision and passing abilities, especially for someone of his stature. In six games with the Rockets, from 2016 to 2018, he averaged just 3.0 points and 2.3 rebounds per game. Perhaps his most striking impression on the NBA community is the underhand free throw technique that he experimented with.
Last year, with Bnei Herzliya of the Israeli Super League, however, he averaged 15.3 points, 9.7 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.7 steals, and 1.5 blocks, while leading his team to a 14-8 record. While this league may not be the most high profile, it has put out some NBA caliber players, including Omri Casspi, Deni Avdija, Will Bynum, Joe Ingles, P.J. Tucker, and Nate Robinson. Amar’e Stoudemire also had a brief stint in the Israeli League after retiring from the NBA.
The Clippers only possess one remaining guaranteed roster spot and one open two-way roster spot. Each opening also already possesses a solid backlog of guys vying for them. Still, the Clippers front office has built the team that they had by not skipping out on any due diligence, and Onuaku could just be the final piece of the puzzle for Los Angeles’ offseason.