In a surprising turn of events, a team press release has indicated that the Clippers will add center Justin Patton and four second-round picks from the Detroit Pistons in the three-team draft-day trade that sent Landry Shamet to Brooklyn and brought Luke Kennard to Los Angeles.
Here are the full details of the trade:
LAC gets: Luke Kennard, Justin Patton, rights to Jayden Scrubb (pick 55 last night), Portland’s 2023 2nd, Detroit’s 2024 2nd, Detroit’s 2025 2nd, Detroit’s 2026 2nd
LAC gives: Rodney McGruder, Landry Shamet, rights to Reggie Perry (pick 57 last night)
BKN gets: Landry Shamet, Bruce Brown, rights to Reggie Perry
BKN gives: Dzanan Musa, rights to Saddiq Bey (pick 19 last night), rights to Jaylen Hands (pick 56 last year), Toronto’s 2021 2nd
DET gets: Rodney McGruder, Dzanan Musa, rights to Saddiq Bey, Toronto’s 2021 2nd
DET gives: Luke Kennard, Bruce Brown, Portland’s 2023 2nd, Detroit’s 2024 2nd, Detroit’s 2025 2nd, Detroit’s 2026 2nd
We’ve already talked a bit about Kennard and how he fits in, and we’ll certainly be talking more about the Clippers’ big draft night addition in the coming weeks. Let’s tackle what the new inclusions–Justin Patton and all of the second rounders–mean.
Patton, simply put, isn’t really likely to ever play a game for the Clippers. He was included in the trade to be a little bit of financial filler, but his $1.8M salary for 2020-21 is non-guaranteed and the Clippers have no need for him. A 23-year-old center, Patton was the 16th pick in the 2017 NBA Draft and sent to Minnesota in a draft-day trade, but he’s never lived up to his first-round status. He only saw 4 minutes of action in one appearance for the Wolves before being traded to Philadelphia in the Jimmy Butler trade. He played all of 21 minutes in 3 appearances as a Sixer before being cut. Then, last August, he latched on with Oklahoma City on a minimum-salary deal… where he played 24 minutes across 5 games before they paid the Dallas Mavericks to eat his contract and cut him. He signed with the Pistons during the June transaction window, but clearly didn’t do enough in the team’s September minicamp to impress.
When a guy has been traded or cut six times in three years, it’s probably meaningful that he wasn’t good enough to stick at any of those spots. The Clippers will be the 7th.
However, they don’t need to rush. Just like veteran center Joakim Noah, who also has a non-guaranteed deal for next season, Patton’s contract could be used to help the Clippers facilitate a trade for a player with a bigger salary or meet the league’s trade rule requirements in a Montrezl Harrell sign-and-trade deal complicated by the base year compensation rule. Eventually, he’ll either be traded or cut, but there’s no need to rush and waive him when his deal could end up being helpful in a trade. The Clippers could even bring Patton into training camp and let him compete for a two-way spot–but with the team having drafted two players at his position (Mfiondu Kabengele at 27 in 2019 and Daniel Oturu at 33 in 2020) in the last two years, it feels like there’s no fit for him here.
Beyond Patton, the rather shocking inclusion of four second-round picks from the Pistons really makes this an excellent trade for the Clippers. It was already a deal that LAC could walk away from happy–they got a clear upgrade in moving from Shamet to Kennard. But adding four second rounders, one each from 2023-26, also helps to replenish LAC’s war chest for future trades. I’m officially updating my trade grade from an A- to an A+. For all of the reasons that I was heavily critical of the Clippers’ draft-day trade of a future 2nd to acquire pick 33 and select Oturu, I’m thrilled that they were able to add so many future picks in this deal. Of course, it’s hard to get too excited about whatever prospect will be selected with Detroit’s 2026 second round pick, but the value here is in the Clippers’ ability to use this sweetener in subsequent trades.
Given how the draft asset cost of acquiring players is looking, those second rounders could help the Clippers find solid contributors. For example, Kelly Oubre Jr. was traded to Golden State today for a top-20 protected 2021 first round pick. If Oubre–a 24-year-old wing who averaged 19 points and 6 rebounds last season–went for one protected first, then a combination of these second round picks could help the Clippers land veterans that could be available in trades, such as Houston’s P.J. Tucker or George Hill, who recently landed in New Orleans as part of the Jrue Holiday trade.