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NBA Trade Deadline 2023: What to expect from the Clippers

Time is running out for the Clippers to find the final piece of their puzzle.

LA Clippers v Los Angeles Lakers
Clippers President of Basketball Operations Lawrence Frank may have some big decisions to make before the trade deadline.
Photo by Juan Ocampo/NBAE via Getty Images

With a week to go until the NBA trade deadline, the Los Angeles Clippers remain awfully quiet amid what has so far been a barren season for blockbuster trades.

As noted by Chinmay Vaidya for DraftKings Nation, it isn’t expected that the franchise will be making such a big move. Thus far, even the rumors to this point have seemed more representative of a “longlist” spotted lying on somebody’s desk in the front office, as opposed to anything concrete that Lawrence Frank and company have been locked in negotiations over.

But there’s a roster spot up for grabs, a backup center hole to fill and one player in particular that may be looking for a better fit than he currently has on Tyronn Lue’s team.

DraftKings Odds

Players your team might move

Denver Nuggets v Los Angeles Clippers
John Wall may find himself on another team before the trade deadline.
Photo by Tyler Ross/NBAE via Getty Images

Top of that list has to be John Wall, if only for the reason listed above. The former Washington Wizards star seemed like the type of personality that would slot seamlessly into the home locker room at The Crypt, but things haven’t quite worked out for either side to this point.

Though Wall definitely still has enough in the tank to turn his fortunes around in Los Angeles, Coach Lue’s desire to stay away from ultra-small lineups, coupled with the recent resurgence of Reggie Jackson, means he may return from injury to find his minutes at a premium.

Aside from Wall, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if one of the Clippers’ younger pieces such as Amir Coffey, Jason Preston and Brandon Boston Jr. found their way into a trade. The logjam at the power forward position also has fans fearing that Robert Covington’s future may yet be up in the air, not helped by his recent injury report designation for ‘personal reasons’, but all the noises coming from within the franchise all season is that they expect him to still play a big part.

Players you’d like your team to trade for

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Los Angeles Clippers
Could Jakob Poeltl find himself on the same team as Ivica Zubac?
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The biggest problem that the entirety of the NBA is finding right now, is that the Rudy Gobert trade to the Minnesota Timberwolves has completely inflated the entire market. With reports suggesting that guys like Bojan Bogdanovic and Alex Caruso will command at least two first-round picks along with matching salaries, it’s hard to see how the Clippers can do a cheap deal with the little resource.

If prices do dramatically fall before the trade deadline, Jakob Poeltl has long been the center I’ve had my eye on to fill our reserve role. The San Antonio Spurs big man is possibly good enough to be a starter on a contending team at this point but, if he’s willing, he’d be the perfect guy to help fill the non-Ivica Zubac minutes in LA.

With that in mind, a return for Isaiah Hartenstein wouldn’t be such a bad thing, though Mitchell Robinson’s injury may have just secured the former Clipper at least a full season under his new employers.

Who they might actually acquire

NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at Los Angeles Clippers
Is Naz Reid the answer for the Clippers’ backup center spot?
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

As mentioned at the top of the article and in previous ramblings of mine, the rumors thus far have been uninspiring. Just a collection of undersized guards and centers that don’t fill the brief of what the Clippers need on their roster, coupled with links to another former center in Serge Ibaka who Ty Lue surely went away from in his rotations with good reason.

In terms of trade targets, I could see the Naz Reid deal being a realistic one, as his low salary would mean they wouldn’t have to struggle too much to match it. The question would once again be what kind of draft capital the front office can or are willing to include in any potential deal, which may just be the stumbling block to any trade.

What you think they’ll do

I think there are still a few twists and turns to come across the league, and it’s likely that the Clippers end up with the backup center they wanted without it being the focal point of a trade – if not just picking somebody up from waivers once those moves start to happen.

Who that name would be is another question entirely, though names like Gorgui Dieng and Derrick Favors being the centers bouncing around free agency currently do little for my ‘no more undersized bigs’ policy.

If the coaching staff decided they could cope with just their small-ball options in reserve, while committing Moses Brown to the G-League for the season, then an athletic wing option would be preferable and there’d certainly be a bigger pool to fish for a good fit from.

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