Among the “larger” names the LA Clippers received in the Chris Paul trade are some smaller name players that you may never see play.
"The LA Clippers’ trade of Chris Paul to Houston will result in a return of seven players, a first round draft pick, and around $600 thousand in cash for LA. Of those seven players, two (Hilliard and Wiltjer) are on non-guaranteed ’17-’18 contracts that the Clippers will have the option to waive. Hilliard’s contract becomes guaranteed on July 1st while Wiltjer’s contract doesn’t become guaranteed until August 1st."
The Rockets acquired Hilliard’s contract from the Pistons in return for cash considerations so that Houston could equalize their outward bound salary to the Clippers with their inbound salary of Paul’s. Hilliard played in 39 games for the Pistons last year and averaged 3.6 points in just 9.9 minutes per game and will likely be waived immediately by LA after the trade is approved and processed via the league office.
Wiltjer spent the majority of his rookie season with the Rocket’s D-league affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers after going undrafted in the 2016 NBA Draft. In 22 games with the Vipers, Wiltjer averaged 20.5 points and 6.4 rebounds while shooting 41.6 percent from the floor and 37.7 from three. The power forward did appear in 14 games for the Rockets but played sparingly, averaging just 3.1 minutes and 0.9 points. The Clippers could go two different routes with Wiltjer, depending on how high they are on his upside. It would make the most sense for them to have him join the Clipper’s Las Vegas Summer League team so they could assess his potential and play. Since his deal doesn’t become guaranteed until August, the Clippers could get a good look at the power forward during Summer League and then decide if they want to let him go or keep his deal when August 1st rolls around.
Wing player DeAndre Liggins was acquired from the Mavericks by Houston to equalize the outbound salary just like with Hilliard, however, his ’17-’18 option for $26,773 guaranteed was exercised before the Dallas-Houston trade. Liggins spent the majority of the ’16-’17 season with the Cleveland Cavaliers and appeared in 61 games. The wing averaged around 12 minutes played per game and just 2.4 points as he was utilized more for his defense than his offense. Liggins was the D-League Defensive Player of the Year for the Sioux Falls Skyforce in 2014 and 2016. Since Liggin’s guaranteed money was exercised and his contract is a very small amount, it wouldn’t be surprising if the LA Clippers retained Liggins and assigned him to their G-League Affiliate.