Grade the trade: Wild pitch has Clippers pulling off heist of Lakers

One trade idea has the Clippers completely fleecing their cross-town rivals.
Paul George, LA Clippers
Paul George, LA Clippers / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages

The LA Clippers are in an interesting position. They just finished a season where they dealt with a multitude of changes, having to integrate James Harden into their rotation just a few games into the season all while managing the health of their star players that are all getting on the older side.

They put together a very successful regular season all things considered, but things fell apart in the playoffs with Kawhi Leonard's health once again coming into question. This has unfortunately become a self-fulfilling prophesy when it comes to the Clippers' story in the 213 era. No matter what they do, their best players can not seem to be on the floor when they need them most.

This puts the Clippers in an impossible situation because the knee-jerk reaction is to believe that things may have been different without injuries. This could be true, but we will never know for sure until it happens, will we? And in the meantime, the Clippers' best players that were actually healthy in the playoffs did not necessarily play up to expectations every time they stepped on the floor, either.

That statement could refer to a few different names, but let's apply it to Paul George. In three of the Clippers' six playoff games against Dallas this year, PG shot below 35% from the floor. The worst of which being his Game 3 stinker wherein he scored just seven points and made only three of his eleven shot attempts.

He has been far from the player the Clippers need him to be, and the front office should probably stay open to trading him if a great offer were to come in. Recently, Bleacher Report imagined a deal where the Lakers call the Clippers and ask for George and P.J. Tucker, with the Lake Show offering four of their rotational players plus a first-round pick in return.

LAC/LAL PG trade

The Clippers would fleece the Lakers with this hypothetical deal

In this hypothetical scenario, the Lakers would be sending Austin Reaves, Rui Hachimura, D'Angelo Russell and Jarred Vanderbilt along with the pick in exchange for George and Tucker. This is a positively massive return, and one the Clippers would have to be foolish to pass up on.

From the Lakers' side of things, the deal could make sense in theory. If the front office is listening to LeBron James' requests and he strongly wants a third star to play with he and Anthony Davis, then of course a big, skilled wing like Paul George would make a lot of sense. But the package they would be sending over for him in this scenario is absolutely an overpay.

The Lakers would be sacrificing depth for pure star power. Which, let's be honest, has not exactly been a winning strategy in the NBA as of late. That is all the more reason the Clippers should be jumping at this deal. Yes, they would lose George and a significant amount of scoring power on the wing, but they would be replacing him with four incredibly solid players that could all have a legitimate role with the Clips.

Reaves, D'Lo and Hachimura's combined scoring power would probably be able to replace what would be lost from PG. Then, Vanderbilt's lockdown defense gives them a capable defender close to the level of George as well. The first-round pick is simply the icing on top.

In reality, there is probably no way Rob Pelinka and the Lakers would offer up a package like this for the Clippers' number two scoring option. But in the event they did, the Clippers would have an opportunity to take a potentially significant step forward.

Grade: A+