The Clippers made a big move yesterday, acquiring Norm Powell and Robert Covington for Eric Bledsoe, Justise Winslow, Keon Johnson, and a second round pick. That move should help them both this year in making the play-in or even the playoffs proper as well as for the coming years. However, for this season, it does leave the Clippers with a glaring hole at point guard, where they now only have two options – Reggie Jackson and Jason Preston – with one of them being an injured rookie point guard who has never appeared in an NBA game. For a team that still appears to be aspiring to win this season, that’s not good.
Therefore, it’s logical that the Clippers still have a move or two left in them, most notably to get a point guard. Leaving aside the rumors that Marcus Morris and Luke Kennard are on the block, most of the backup point guards who might be available are not good enough to warrant a Luke or Morris investment, so this overview at potential point guard trade candidates for the Clippers will focus primarily on salary dumps through Serge Ibaka.
The Trade: Dragic + Boucher + Pick Assets for Luke + Serge
The Reasoning: Dragic has barely played this year for the Raptors, but was a fine backup point guard as recently as last year and has played in a lot of very important games. His ability to handle and shoot off the catch also makes him a good fit next to George and Leonard if they return. Boucher is an interesting big man who the Clippers could take a flier on or move to another team with more of a need for a big man like him. However, in order to give up Luke, despite some now redundancy with Norm Powell, the Clippers would have to get several good 2nd round picks or a protected 1st. For the Raptors, Boucher has never really earned the trust of Nick Nurse while he won a championship with Serge. The Raptors desperately need shooting, especially off the bench, and Luke adds that in spades while fitting the timeline of their team beautifully. In short, the Clippers plug a short-term need while getting assets to make another move later. I don’t think they move Luke for this unless they think Dragic would re-sign with them on the cheap or they have another move lined up, though.
The Trade: Serge + Preston + Pick Assets for Schroder + Bol Bol + Dozier
The Reasoning: This trade is much, much less likely than it was a couple weeks ago, as the Celtics are now winning games, firmly in the play-in, and Schroder is their primary backup point guard. Still, he’s an expiring contract, and if they could get picks plus an interesting prospect for him it might be enough if they trust Payton Pritchard to handle the backup role (they probably don’t). For the Clippers, Schroder is a good scorer and solid playmaker, albeit erratic, and would help juice up their offense. The more I talk about this one, the less likely it seems to happen unless it turns into a bigger deal.
The Trade: Serge for Lou and Kevin Knox
The Reasoning: This would essentially be the Hawks doing a solid for Lou, a beloved teammate in Atlanta (by Trae Young and Onyeka Okongwu in particular, it seems), as he has slipped in the rotation. The Hawks don’t really need Serge at all, so this would be about getting Lou to a place where he might play (he has a no-trade clause that he would almost certainly void to go back to LA). The Clippers would re-unite with an organizational favorite who was moved in awful fashion last year and could take a flier on Knox (or more likely just cut him or move him to another team). Simple, easy.
The Trade: Serge straight up
The Reasoning: Kemba has been disappointing for a disappointing Knicks team, and is signed for another season at $9M, so the Knicks get off his salary and clear room for their young guys like Immanuel Quickley and Deuce McBride. While Kemba is just a shadow of his former self, he’s still a competent NBA point guard who would add some shooting and scoring to the Clippers as well as structure to the second unit.
The Trade: Serge straight up
The Reasoning: Satoransky has been dreadful this season (like really, really awful), but has a five-year track record of being a competent NBA player, and is only 30. The Clippers would fill their point guard void and the Pelicans would get a competent backup center behind Jonas Valanciunas, allowing Jaxson Hayes to play his real position at power forward full-time.
The Trade: Serge straight up
The Reasoning: Augustin is a veteran on a horrible, young Rockets team that needs more lottery picks to pair with Jalen Green and their other prospects, and had some salary guaranteed for next season. The Rockets would get off that money and do their vet a solid. Instead of playing Serge, they’d probably just cut him or move him along, unless they made other moves and traded their vet big men like Christian Wood and Daniel Theis. Augustin is not very good anymore, but he’s someone who knows how to run a second-unit and can shoot a bit.
The Trade: Serge for Joseph + McGruder
The Reasoning: Joseph has a player option for next season that he will undoubtedly pick up, and he’s taking minutes that could be going to developmental prospects on the young and tanking Pistons. To balance salaries, old friend Rodney McGruder (who’s been solid this season in limited minutes!) would be added as well. Joseph is not great, but he’s been fine this year, and provides a steady presence without needing the ball much.
The Trade: Serge for Facu + something
The Reasoning: Facu is terrible, but he is a veteran point guard who can run an offense and can set up others. Ibaka would be a great fit in Denver, who has needed a backup center. Jeff Green would work salary-wise, but he’s been too important for the Nuggets this year. JaMychal Green is probably available, but he’s making a lot of money next year and the Clippers might not want to be on the books for that considering how meh he’s been this year (I’d be on board, not sure the Clippers FO would). Realistically, though, this is the point in the bargain-big point guard list where you realize what you’re doing and just….
Sign Amir Coffey to a full deal, clearing a two-way spot, and sign a G-League or even a European player to a two-way deal. Xavier Moon is an option if the Clippers’ words about how much they liked him means anything. So are former Clippers Derrick Walton Jr. and Jawun Evans if we are pursuing the reunion path. The Clippers probably want a sturdier veteran in this spot, but hey, Walton in 2019-2020 was better than about half of these guys, and he had a few solid games for the Pistons earlier this year.
Do any of these names jump out to you? Anyone of interest who wasn’t on here? Let me know in the comments below!