MEH: Quick thoughts on the Jared Cunningham-to-Philly trade


As expected, the Clippers have moved on from Jared Cunningham. But instead of waiving the guard to avoid fully guaranteeing his deal for the rest of the season, the Clippers have traded the combo guard alongside cash to the Philadelphia 76ers, first reported by Woj of Yahoo! Sports.

Unless injury decimated the guard group like last year, Cunningham never had a realistic chance of breaking into the rotation. The starting spots are sewn up as well as the backup shooting guard spot, leaving the backup point guard spot the lone position would Cunningham could inhabit, but it seems Doc Rivers and the coaching staff are dead set on Jordan Farmar catching stride as Darren Collison did mid-season. Instead, for the vet’s minimum and cost of a roster spot, Cunningham was only seen in invaluable, garbage-time minutes.

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  • My lone issue with parting ways with Jared? The Clippers opted to bring Cunningham in as the final player on the roster instead of rookie forward Joe Ingles. Again, barring injury, Cunningham was NEVER going to break into the rotations. Instead, the Clippers could’ve flirted with a possible small forward/small-ball power forward in Ingles this season — Reggie Bullock, Glen Davis, Chris Douglas-Roberts, and Hedo Turkoglu haven’t exactly excelled in their roles this season. Ingles’ numbers in Utah aren’t impressive, but this team desperately needs high intangible guys outside of the starting group and Ingles helps fill that void. Worst-case scenario, we’d be discussing a similar situation on this date, with the Clippers moving on from Ingles (or maybe CDR/Ekpe Udoh) to save money for the immediate future, but you couldn’t have walked away from the experiment saying Doc Rivers and co. didn’t attempt to improve the backup wing situation.

    By trading Cunningham, the Clippers do two things: 1) save money (Arash Markazi says nearly $600K will be saved, depending mostly on how much cash was sent out in the trade and 2) a roster spot is cleared. There’s also this in terms of how the Cunningham trade affects the Clippers in a possible deal:

    Now we wait.

    For what exactly? Could be a number of things.

    For short-term results, the Clippers could call up a D-League player on a 10-day contract (the Utah Jazz have made two 10-day call-ups this season) — in the past few weeks, the team has been linked to former Baylor guard Brady Heslip. Like last season with Sasha Vujacic, Darius Morris, and Stephen Jackson, the Clippers could extend a 10-day contract to a NBA veteran to temporarily plug a hole. If ‘player x’ plays well enough, they could stick on for an additional 10-day deal and possibly for the remainder of the season.

    But let’s be honest: this deal is a slight precursor to whatever happens next. If all pointed signs are true, the Clippers are deep in the market for a starting wing. A few names come to mind here (non-starters will be listed here also):

    • Jeff Green (BOS) — the Celtics are tanking and have made it no secret that green is available.
    • Lance Stephenson (IND) — not exactly a small forward, but he’s available and the Clippers just might get desperate enough to make the move.
    • Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari (DEN) — the Nuggets have just traded Timofey Mozgov to the Cavaliers meaning they’ve basically waived the white flag this season. A fire-sale could ensue and these two will draft plenty of attention around the league.
    • Quincy Pondexter (MEM) — this isn’t a starter kind of guy, but he hasn’t panned out in Memphis so far this season.
    • Jeremy Lamb (OKC) — the same as Pondexter and with Dion Waiters in Oklahoma City, he could become available for cheap

    There could be more guys available as circumstances change throughout the season, but this is pretty much the landscape when looking for an additional wing.

    From what we know, outside of the core five (Paul, Griffin, Crawford, Redick, Jordan), everyone (and everything) is available. I’m not completely buying into Crawford being unattainable — for the right price, this entire roster could be unloaded. That’s not going to happen for numerous reasons, but making Jamal Crawford unavailable in trade talks doesn’t seem like the best way to attack the trade market. Yes the bench is bad, but for several reasons — they can’t defend, perimeter or the paint, rebound, move the ball, and struggle with spreading the floor. If moving on from Crawford equates to finding a starting small forward as well as a few guys who can do some of the above-mentioned skills, you make that deal every day and twice on Thursday.

    But until this mysterious trade is made, we wait.