Grade the Trade: Clippers add former All-Star point guard

Reggie Jackson and Ty Lue, LA Clippers. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images
Reggie Jackson and Ty Lue, LA Clippers. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images /
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LA Clippers
John Wall, LA Clippers. Photo by Winslow Townson/Getty Images /

Building a Clippers trade for Mike Conley

The primary difficulty for the Clippers in trading for Mike Conley is that he makes $22.68 million this season, which means that LA needs to send out at least $18.1 million in salary to bring him back in a deal. Most of the Clippers’ mid-tier salary and above is tied to players in their rotation that they likely want to hang onto.

The solution is probably to stack together the contracts of Reggie Jackson and John Wall, with a little nudge needed from a back-end player to get them over that $18.1 million hump. It would look something like this:

The Clippers cannot trade a first-round pick until 2028, and they protect it from 1-6 to protect themselves from the absolute worst-case scenarios if Leonard and George are not around by then. The Jazz almost certainly will require a first-round pick to get a deal done.

Utah isn’t going to contend for anything real this season, even if they are a real threat to get into the postseason and have a puncher’s chance at the field of the final eight playoff teams. Mike Conley is 35 years old and playing well, so trading him now makes sense. This deal gives the Jazz the potential of a lottery pick down the road, an intriguing young wing in Brandon Boston Jr., and a pair of guards they can try to flip to other teams by the deadline. It’s not a runaway success for the Jazz, but it certainly has appeal.