Should the Clippers inquire on the available Chase Budinger?


When discussing the small forward woes the Los Angeles Clippers have produced through three preseason games in an earlier post, I mentioned Minnesota TImberowlves small forward Chase Budinger as one of the few small forwards throughout the league that 1) are available or 2) could become available at some point in the season.

That time is now as Yahoo! Sports scribe Adrian Wojnarowski reports the T’Wolves are currently shopping the sixth year wing.

Like the current set of small forward the Clippers employ, Budinger falls in line with the “3-and-D” label that has been flying around lately. And fairly so — throughout Budinger’s career he’s been a solid wing outside of an injury-riddled last two seasons. But when healthy — and the matter of when remains a huge question — he’s very productive and fits whatever the Clippers need from a wing player, or more-so what the team expects from their current small forwards.

Small sample size theater time: through the preseason, Budinger has outplayed all of Reggie Bullock, Matt Barnes, and Chris Douglas-Roberts, averaging 5.0 points and 2.0 rebounds per game on 50 percent shooting from the field.

I repeat: SMALL SAMPLE SIZE THEATER: Budinger has only participated in 2 games, played in 19 minutes, and has put up a total of 10 shots, two being from behind the arch. By any measure, these numbers are nothing special, but they offer solidarity when you glance at the Clippers preseason stats at small forward.

Of course, there are technical issues that could prevent the Clippers from seeking interest.

Through the next two seasons, Budinger owed $10 million, the following year of his deal containing a player option. With DeAndre Jordan‘s free agency occurring this upcoming summer, Doc Rivers and company could be worried about flexibility in case they choose to throw a max deal his way. To off-set Budinger’s $5 million, the Clippers could make a bevy of personnel moves to balance. This includes, but isn’t limited to:

  • Decline Joe Ingles’ qualifying offer
  • Decline Reggie Bullock‘s team option
  • Not re-sign any vet minimum deals (Udoh, Turkoglu, Davis, Douglas-Roberts)
  • Rid themselves of Jamal Crawford‘s ($5.6 million) and Matt Barnes‘ ($3.542 million) non-guaranteed deals.

A combination of the four mentioned maneuvers could clear space. You could release Barnes — or trade him — while declining Ingles’ QO. Or you could let all vet deals walk and let Bullock walk along with them if the team feels he’s ill-fitting to whatever direction the franchise is headed.

And then there’s the actual process of acquiring Budinger.

To get a feel for what the Timberwolves wouldt ask for in return for Budinger, I spoke with Zachary Bennett, writer for Fansided’s HPBasketball Network who’s well versed in all things related to T’Wolves basketball, to see what he’d deem acceptable for the small forward:

J.J. Redick. You can have Shabazz, too. If you want to drop ‘Bazz before the 31st rather than picking up his potion, you’d be able to do that. He’s somewhat cheap. You’d likely have Budinger for this season and the next.”

Because Bennett is just a writer, his thoughts don’t reflect that of the Timberwolves, but they’re probably in a similar ball-park unless the Wolves brass would choose to settle for a second-round pick, one of the few assets Doc Rivers has left at his disposal.

Ask yourself this: is Chase Budinger as good as Paul Pierce? If you responded no as I did, then you’re positive the Clippers wouldn’t lift their hold on Redick.

Would a Bullock-Budinger swap work? Per ESPN’s NBA Trade Machine, some $2 million is missing to make that deal work.

It seems unlikely Barnes or Crawford is up for trade unless a significant name appears in trade talks.

A second-round pick couldn’t do it alone.

The inclusion of rookie C.J. Wilcox seems unlikely also.

There could be a scenario where a three-team trade satisfies all parties available. It’s possible — a long shot, but very possible.


Odds are the Clippers aren’t as down on the small forward play as myself or anyone else who could see this as a potential roadblock in the franchise’s journey to a NBA championship.

But an opportunity to upgrade is available. The ball is now in the front offices court.

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