The LA Clippers shocked the NBA world late Monday evening when they pulled off a blockbuster trade for James Harden. The deal came after months of speculation following Harden’s trade request from Philadelphia, and his reported preference to end up with the Clippers.
With Harden landing in Los Angeles, the Clippers now have their third star to put next to Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. The hope is that this will give them enough firepower to make a deep playoff run in a stacked Western Conference.
In acquiring Harden, the Clips were forced to give up Nicolas Batum, Robert Covington, Marcus Morris and K.J. Martin along with several draft picks. They were able to avoid trading valuable role players like Terance Mann and Norman Powell, but their starting lineup and rotation will still likely look a bit different now.
Projected Clippers starting lineup with James Harden:
- PG: Russell Westbrook
- SG: James Harden
- SF: Kawhi Leonard
- PF: Paul George
- C: Ivica Zubac
Terance Mann was likely going to be the Clippers’ starting two guard once he returned from injury, but James Harden will now be the top option at shooting guard. Outside of that, the starting lineup looks to be unchanged.
Some may wonder if Harden’s abilities as a distributor will push Russell Westbrook to the bench for a sixth man-type role. But as of right now, all indicators are that the two will start alongside each other and Westbrook will remain the Clippers’ floor general.
Projected Clippers rotation:
This is how the rest of the Clippers’ rotation should look in terms of minutes played off the bench.
- 6th: Norman Powell
- 7th: Terance Mann
- 8th: P.J. Tucker
- 9th: Mason Plumlee
- 10th: Bones Hyland
- 11th: Kobe Brown
- 12th: Amir Coffey
- 13th: Brandon Boston Jr.
The Clippers’ 14th roster spot is currently set to be occupied by Filip Petrusev, who was acquired from the 76ers in the trade for Harden. But some are speculating that LA could move or waive him, which would leave an additional two roster spots open.
If that ends up being the case, the Clippers will likely look to add a third center and another wing to fill out their last two spots. Alternatively, they may opt to leave a spot open for now to give themselves flexibility later.