Clippers trade rumors: Doc Rivers denies making trade calls


Doc Rivers has said that there is no truth to the recent Los Angeles Clippers trade rumors that have emerged surrounding Lance Stephenson and Josh Smith.

After Los Angeles Clippers trade rumors started circling around the web over the last week or so, it seemed as though the team had been making some ‘exploratory calls’ to see whether any potential deals could be made. At the very least, it looked like they were considering what they could get in exchange for Lance Stephenson and Josh Smith. Even Jamal Crawford’s name has appeared as it was reported that the Clippers have been ‘open’ to trading him since the offseason.

However, as has now been reported by Dan Woike of the Orange County Register, Doc Rivers has strongly denied that these trade calls have occurred.

Whether or not the initial reports were at all correct is impossible to know, as Doc is going to want to keep team morale and chemistry high by not publicly admitting to making trade calls about his new acquisitions if that was indeed going on. On the other hand, the Clippers may have made zero trade calls anyway and this has all come out of nowhere. Either way, we can’t be exactly sure.

That being said, if the Clippers are indeed sticking with their current roster and not looking to make any changes, that’s good news for the team.

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For a start, we’re only a quarter of the way through the season. Even though they have had their early struggles and their bench has by no means reached it’s potential, it’s still too early to start making big moves. Especially because players like Stephenson and Smith haven’t done enough right now to establish any kind of significant trade value, so the return is going to be minimal.

On top of that, Doc hasn’t even been giving them enough chances to prove themselves. Stephenson has improved across the board recently. He’s looked more level headed, he’s brining a lot of energy and defending, and even scored 19 points on 8-of-11 shooting recently against the Pacers. As for Smith, he’s at least been operating as a solid defensive presence with 3.2 blocks and 9.9 rebounds per 36 minutes.

Despite their improvements, though, and the poor efficiency and defense of both Crawford and Paul Pierce, the latter two have generally been getting more minutes.

When considering the poor efficiency and terrible defense of Crawford, plus the value he may have to teams desperate enough for some offense, he’s the player who should be traded if someone is going to be dealt. He would likely get the Clippers more in return, and Stephenson and Smith have been bringing it defensively without putting up as many poor shots, which is what the team need right now from their bench.

Next: 5 reasons Lance Stephenson should not be traded

If Crawford can be dealt for a solid backup point guard who can shoot the odd three, setup the offense as an alternate option to Austin Rivers and play within a small role, that would make far more sense.

Until everyone gets enough minutes to show what they can do, though, the new acquisitions shouldn’t be moved. That being said, as Doc has now denied these recent Clippers trade rumors, maybe Stephenson and Smith have nothing to worry about. For the overall good of the team, they shouldn’t be moved.