Grading 3 Potential trades for LA Clippers to upgrade at center

Ivica Zubac, LA Clippers (Photo by Ian Maule/Getty Images)
Ivica Zubac, LA Clippers (Photo by Ian Maule/Getty Images) /
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LA Clippers
Jakob Poeltl, San Antonio Spurs (Photo by Tim Heitman/Getty Images) /

LA Clippers trade for a center: Jakob Poeltl, San Antonio Spurs

Jakob Poeltl is the exact sort of player that should be available on the trade market. He is a solid veteran hitting free agency on a tanking team. The San Antonio Spurs are going nowhere this year and should entertain trade offers for Poeltl. If they do, the Clippers could be one team to come calling.

We broke down one possible trade on the site where Zubac went to the Spurs for Poeltl, but let’s see what it looks like to expand the deal a bit and keep Zubac on the team, giving the Clippers a nasty one-two punch at the pivot.

The Clippers accomplish two primary things with this deal. First, they add an extremely solid center, an upgrade on Ivica Zubac who provides elite rim protection and rebounding. Poeltl is not much of a defender in space, but adding him to pair with Zubac in the regular season puts the Clippers in the upper echelon of defensive teams and should help propel them to a top-6 seed.

The other thing it accomplishes is that it sets up the Clippers to make another move at the trade deadline or during next offseason. LA has a Traded Player Exception that they received last February when they traded Serge Ibaka, and it is worth $9.72 million — just enough to add Poeltl’s $9.3 million.

By trading Marcus Morris into the Spurs’ cap space but taking Poeltl into the TPE they open up a new exception worth $16.3 million that will extend into next season. That gives them plenty of flexibility to add another player on a hefty contract, but without needing to send back Morris’ salary. It is, in essence, performing a three-team deal in two parts, and it would be a clever bit of business.

Would the Spurs say yes to this deal? Possibly not, but if something along these lines could be manufactured, it would put the Clippers in a strong place moving forward.

Grade: A