For the first time in many years, the Clippers did not acquire an active NBA player at the 2024 trade deadline. The only move they made was using some cash to buy the rights to Ismael Kamagate from the Nuggets.

The Clippers, far from making any kind of major upgrade to their roster, didn’t even acquire a depth rotation forward, dump PJ Tucker’s contract, or trade Bones Hyland for picks. Their roster will be the same as it has been since they picked up Daniel Theis in early November. Which, to be fair, is a roster that has gone 26-6 over the past two months. Still, I’m a bit surprised they didn’t get some kind of veteran forward to shore up the bench a bit. The Clipper must be totally comfortable with the roster they have now.

Kamagate, who just turned 23, was the 46th pick in the 2022 NBA Draft. I liked him a fair amount as a mid second round flier, and still think he could be an NBA player someday due to his size (6’11) and defensive instincts, but the Clippers did not do this trade for Kamagate. They made this move because starting this summer, the new CBA will fully kick in, and the rules prevent second apron teams like the Clippers from sending out cash in deals. With most of their future picks already out the door, the Clippers would have had very limited means to make minor trades. The acquisition of Kamagate’s rights gives them something to use to swap for the trade of a second-round pick or another small transaction.

In short, the Kamagate trade was a good piece of business for the Clippers, as small as it is. The reason for the Clippers’ silence is more apparent now after the deadline. Guys they may have had interest in, like Kelly Olynyk and Bojan Bogdanovic were traded for more than the Clippers had to offer. Clearly nobody would take on PJ Tucker’s contract for anything less than the 2030 1st or maybe other assets the Clippers didn’t want to part with. And Bones Hyland’s market would seem to be even smaller than just a couple second round picks, sadly. The result was a nearly silent 2024 trade deadline for the Clippers, and honestly, considering how they’ve played for months, that’s ok.

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