When the LA Clippers acquired Kawhi Leonard and Paul George during the 2019 offseason, the thought was that this was going to be the start of a very successful era for the franchise. While that has been proven right during the regular season, they haven’t had the playoff success that they had hoped.
Heading into the 2023-24 season, the team is hoping they can finally break through and emerge as a legit threat to win the NBA Championship in the Kawhi-PG era.
However, a new rule could make it difficult (and costly) for the Clippers to be all-in moving forward with this build. A new second tax apron created by the NBA (subscription required) in the new CBA could have some huge salary implications for the Clippers. If the Clippers want to avoid some of these new tax penalties, it’s clear they’ll have to shed some salary soon.
Ranking Clippers from least to most likely to be traded for cost savings
The off-limits: Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Bones Hyland, Amir Coffey, BJ Boston, Jason Preston
I don’t think there needs to be much explaining why Kawhi Leonard and Paul George won’t be traded in an attempt to cut costs. Unless the Clippers are forced into doing so, I have a hard time believing that LA is going to throw in the towel on the Kawhi-PG era just yet. Yes, they’re on huge deals but trading them also signals the start of a rebuild. The Clippers aren’t there yet.
Bones Hyland is another player not worth trading this offseason. He’s on a very team-friendly deal and until they have to make a decision on a potential extension (which is two seasons away), it doesn’t make much sense to trade him.
Amir Coffey, BJ Boston, and Jason Preston are fringe players on the roster that make a combined $7.2 million next season. Trading any of them, or even all of them, would make little difference for the team in the grand scheme of their salary cap.
7. Terance Mann
It would be surprising if the LA Clippers entered the offseason with the goal of trading Terance Mann for the simple goal of cost-saving. Could he be part of a bigger deal, absolutely, but I don’t believe the Clippers would be making the right move if they traded Mann with the intention of shedding salary alone. The 26-year-old guard may not have been as productive as his third season this past year but did have a much more efficient year on the offensive end of the floor.
Mann, who averaged nine points and three rebounds on 51 percent shooting from the field and 39 percent shooting from 3-point range, is also on a great contract. Over the next two seasons, he’s due a combined $22 million. For a strong contributor off the bench, it doesn’t get much better than that in the modern NBA.
Mann may not be a full-time starter for the Clippers but he’s absolutely emersed himself as a valued contributor off the bench (subscription required) and it would make little sense for LA to trade him this offseason in hopes of saving money down the line. There are a few better options if that’s the goal for the Clippers this summer.