Our 213 Hoops roundtable series on the 2023 Clippers’ trade deadline deals continues with a look at the acquisition of Mason Plumlee for Reggie Jackson and a second round pick.
Niels Pineda: A+
As a believer that the Clippers would comfortably be in the top 4 of the Western Conference standings thus far with a competent backup big, getting front court depth was priority number 1 in my book. Boy did the Clippers deliver! I’m not sure if there was a more ideal trade target for what the Clippers needed than Mason Plumlee, who has had a stellar year starting for the Hornets this season. Even at 32 years old, Plumlee is having arguably the best year of his career by bringing a bit of everything to the table. I’m excited to see how his passing can unlock the offense, similar to what Isaiah Hartenstein did last year. While sentimentally I’m incredibly sad to see Reggie get moved, I’m happy to see that he’s working towards a buyout so that he can find a new contending home where he hopefully finds his groove (just not against the Clippers). Overall, I’m stoked about this deal for the Clippers!
Ralston Dacanay: A
The Clippers had an Isaiah Hartenstein-sized hole at center, and they might have just nabbed themselves the best backup big in the league via trade in Mason Plumlee (in what was rumored to be a popular deadline market for big men). Sure, it would’ve been cool to see Hart return, but it seems Plumlee can fill that role and then some. It sucks to see Reggie Jackson go, but feelings aside, this was a fantastic deal for LAC. Here’s to hoping Ty Lue and co. actually utilize him and Ivica Zubac enough moving forward.
Shapan Debnath: A
My biggest complaint about this deal is that it didn’t happen sooner. Plumlee brings a lot of what Isaiah Hartenstein brought: smart offensive player, very good passer, good rebounder. It’ll also keep the Clippers from constantly being so damn small with Zu out and watching players stroll into the paint. Really looking forward to seeing how Plumlee can raise that bench. It sucked to lose Clipper legend Reggie Jackson, but he (and importantly, not a first rounder) left getting the Clippers what they needed most positionally.
Lucas Hann: A
It’s not a sexy move, but the Clippers have needed a second center all season and they went and got a quality rotation big man who has played some good basketball in a terrible situation in Charlotte this year. Plumlee’s passing will help one-star second unit lineups that now also won’t have a point guard, and he most importantly gives the Clippers center depth–the ability to stay big for 48 minutes, to not be completely ruined if Ivica Zubac is injured or gets into foul trouble, and even just to sub for Zubac and ride the “hot hand” on nights when Zu doesn’t have it. Reggie Jackson (who deserves “Clipper For Life” status for his contributions and vibes over the years) was a spare part after the acquisition of Gordon, and even in a depth role, I think the Clippers will be looking for opportunities to get Bones Hyland minutes. For the cost of 1 2028 second-round pick (which Ballmer Bucks will simply replace for cash in 5 years if needed), the Clippers basically added one of the league’s best backup centers for free.
David Mendez-Yapkowitz: A
This was probably the best move the Clippers made at the deadline. Plumlee absolutely addresses a need for the Clippers at backup center. He was having a career-year for the Hornets. He’s an effective finisher at the basket, a capable rebounder, and a decent passing big man. Ty Lue has had his affinity to go with small-ball lineups, but Plumlee gives him some legit size to help keep Zubac fresh and not have to play such heavy minutes. The Clippers have struggled at times when trotting out small lineups this season. It may have cost fan favorite Reggie Jackson, but Plumlee addresses what was arguably the Clippers biggest need.
Robert Flom: A
A’s across the board here! While Reggie is great, and I’m happy that he’s getting picked up by a championship contender, his time with the Clippers was coming to a close, and the Clippers were able to fill the biggest hole on their roster with him and a lone second round pick. Plumlee is a starting-caliber player who will be coming off the Clippers’ bench, and will add rim protection, rebounding on both ends, and passing to a unit that has needed all of those things. He also provides invaluable Zubac insurance in case of injury or foul trouble. The one downside for me is that this firmly pushes Robert Covington back out of the rotation, but that’s not on Plumlee. Plumlee has an awkward game, but it’s effective, and he will help the Clippers both in the regular and postseason.