NBA Trade Rumors: Clippers will trade if right player is available


The Los Angeles Clippers are reportedly not just making ‘exploratory calls’, but are more interested in making a trade than they are willing to admit.

To expand on the article that Trisity Miller recently posted discussing the Los Angeles Clippers’ reported “exploratory calls” into potential trades, there is now a little more depth of information to the possibility of a deal following the December 15 trade restriction. Not only are the Clippers reportedly making some calls to consider potential trade targets or deals, but they are supposedly more desperate than they are willing to admit when it comes to making a move.

Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders has reported some further insight into the matter:

"The Clippers have been up and down all season and have lost five of their last 10 games. Amid reports of infighting in the locker room, it seems the Clippers may be open to a splashy move if one surfaces.Sources close to the situation continue to say the Clippers are being opportunistic – saying if a solid player becomes available they’d do a deal – however, league sources say the Clippers may be more desperate than they’ll admit, sensing that a major change is needed."

Teams are rarely going to admit that they’re desperate to make a trade, which is even more true for a team like the Clippers who only recently assembled this new-look roster over the last few months. That being said, there’s no reason to think that a trade is going to be out of the question when most free agents signed this summer are eligible to be drafted after December 15. It’s hard to think that a “major change” could take place so soon, but if the Clippers are remotely desperate to make a move as these sources suggest, something may happen before 2016 hits.

Lance Stephenson has great defensive potential, playmaking and energy, yet he’s hardly been used in multiple games and hasn’t fit in too well with the offense so far. This was almost expected, though, and it will take time for him to fit in that regard. So, should the front office really react by looking to move him elsewhere? No.

As for Austin Rivers, his defense has taken a major step forward this year and while he’s still an incosistent shooter from deep, he’s reached a career-high field goal percentage of 42.6. He has value for multiple reasons, and despite the fact that he’s Doc Rivers’ son, he should stay in L.A.

Then there’s Jamal Crawford. Who, despite the 37 point game against the Detroit Pistons and some flashes that he can still provide instant offense (which he can at times), is having another inefficient year. His overall field goal percentage (35.9) and three point percentage (27.3) are both down by five percent from last season, his shot selection is still off, he’s taking too many shots all together (many of them of the long, contested two variety), and his defense has been poor. If there’s one player who’s most likely to be moved, it’s probably Crawford. He has value to a team in desperate need of offense, but the Clippers don’t need him nearly as much as others might.

Nov 20, 2015; Portland, OR, USA; Los Angeles Clippers guard Jamal Crawford (11) moves to the basket against Portland Trail Blazers forward Allen Crabbe (23) at Moda Center at the Rose Quarter. Mandatory Credit: Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

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Who will the Clippers look for? There’s no way to be sure of that. That being said, while the frontcourt isn’t an issue, acquiring a less ball dominant guard would be the obvious target. If there’s one type of wing player they could benefit from off the bench, it’s someone who plays within their role, can play off-ball to operate as a catch and shoot player rather than a shot creator, and can be a high-efficiency, low-volume scorer in limited minutes. Essentially, the opposite of Crawford with more accuracy than the current Paul Pierce, who’s fighting hard against Father Time right now while shooting a mere 31.7 percent from the floor (as Trisity Miller has recently discussed).

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With Pierce at 38 years old already, not to mention the personal connection he has with Doc and the fact that he can still heat up from three, it seems highly unlikely he’ll be traded. Crawford, on the other hand, is by no means as safe. Countless trade rumors surrounding him this summer weren’t without any justification.

It’s too early to predict what will happen or for the Clippers to even come to the conclusion that a move is necessary. While their performance has still been far from their potential best, they have still won three straight games and we’re still incredibly early on in the season. Over the next couple of weeks, their play and record will give Doc and the front office a better idea of whether or not they should pursue a trade to set their season in a different direction before their possible high standing in the Western Conference is lost.