Clippers may trade Jamal Crawford for Wilson Chandler


The Los Angeles Clippers’ offseason has got off to a quick start since trading for Lance Stephenson. And now there’s another potential target: Wilson Chandler of the Denver Nuggets. It’s only a possibility, but as the NBA trade rumors and free agency murmurs are starting to heat up, you can certainly expect Doc Rivers and the Clippers to be involved.

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And despite the fact the season ended less than a week ago, we’ve already seen a lot of change to L.A.’s roster.

Matt Barnes and Spencer Hawes were traded in exchange for Stephenson, and Doc has said it’s just the beginning for his plan this offseason.

He clearly has a serious rebuilding strategy in place for the Clippers, and has stated the following (per Arash Markazi of ESPN):

"“We’re going to be very creative. We have a pretty good plan in place. It started [Monday] and we feel comfortable with where we’re at. It’s going to be a tough, long summer for us. I think we’ve improved our team by bringing Lance on. When you look at a trade and Red Auerbach always said the team that gets the best player in the trade, gets the best trade. In this case, I think Lance is the best player in this trade for us. We’ve already done that, and we clearly have more to do. We have to. We have to add a couple more, three or four more players, in my opinion, to our roster.”"

Judging by Doc Rivers’ comments, he’s adopted the kind of now-or-never attitude that the Clippers need in order to turn themselves around. They blew their 3-1 series lead in the second round against the Houston Rockets for two main reasons — their lack of mental toughness and serious lack of depth. If they are able to continue adding more role players as Doc intends to do, though, and potentially sign a veteran leader like Paul Pierce, the Clippers will immediately be stronger in those areas.

So, how might L.A. bring in Wilson Chandler to help their weak second unit?

Arash Markazi has reported that the Clippers have been considering him in the past, and has now offered a more recent update on what might happen:

"“The Clippers are also exploring trade options for Jamal Crawford, according to sources, and one possibility is trading Crawford and C.J. Wilcox, the team’s 2014 first round pick, to the Denver Nuggets for Wilson Chandler. The Clippers inquired about Chandler last season but nothing materialized.”"

Wilcox may be a less significant part of this scenario — as he only played 4.8 minutes per game for the Clippers this year — but trading Crawford would be a real sign of change. His smooth pull-up jumpers and lightning fast crossovers have been a fundamental part of L.A. for the last three years, and he even won the Sixth Man of the Year award in 2013-14 (as well as finishing 3rd place for the honor this season).

Dec 19, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Nuggets forward Wilson Chandler (21) against Los Angeles Clippers guard Jamal Crawford (11) during the game against the Los Angeles Clippers at Pepsi Center. The Nuggets won 109-106. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

However, he rarely stepped up when the Clippers needed him in the playoffs this year, and Crawford’s postseason shooting numbers of just 36 percent from the floor and a mere 24.3 percent from three point range continually hurt his team. Crawford’s inconsistency and streaky shooting has always been a flaw in his game, and at nearly 35 years of age it’s unlikely that his efficiency will change — no matter how much skill he possesses. Which is why 27 year old Wilson Chandler could be an option.

He averaged 13.9 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 31.7 minutes per game this year, as well as shooting 34.2 percent from beyond the arc. And whilst those are by no means incredible numbers, Chandler is capable from the perimeter and has enough athleticism and strength inside (he made 65.1 percent of his shots within three feet) to make a difference on offense, especially as he’ll probably just be playing from the bench. Even his 6’8″ frame and ability to play as a shooting guard, small forward or power forward (at times) means that he can offer some versatility to the Clippers as well.

So whilst nothing is certain, and we’re still waiting to see what Doc Rivers’ plans involve, Wilson Chandler is definitely another target to consider. And on top of that, we now know that trading Jamal Crawford is a definite possibility.

Next: Paul Pierce will choose between the Clippers and the Wizards