According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the LA Clippers will trade Landry Shamet to the Brooklyn Nets. The Nets will send the 19th pick in the 2020 NBA Draft to the Detroit Pistons, who will select Saddiq Bey, and the Pistons will in turn send young wing Luke Kennard to the Clippers. Rodney McGruder will also depart the Clippers for the Pistons in the deal.
Landry Shamet came to the Clippers at the 2018 trade deadline as part of the deal that sent Tobias Harris to the Philadelphia 76ers. He immediately stepped into a starting role, hitting big shots in the playoffs. However, he suffered a bit of sophomore regression due to a combination of unfortunate circumstances–a move to the bench due to the arrival of Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, injuries throughout the team pressing him into duty at different positions, injuries to himself preventing him from fully rounding into form. He also tested positive for COVID, causing him to have a delayed arrival to the league’s Orlando bubble and a minutes restriction as he worked on his conditioning.
Kennard, for his part, is a step ahead of Shamet at this point in their careers. A more polished all-around scorer and prolific shooter in his own right, Kennard averaged 15.8 points and 4.1 assists per game for Detroit last year in his third NBA season while shooting 39.9% from three on 6.5 attempts per game. Unfortunately, he was limited to 28 appearances due to knee tendinitis. His per-game averages were more modest in his first two seasons in lower minutes, but his efficiency and volume from deep have been consistent. He’s 24 years old, not turning 25 until next June, meaning that the Clippers did not move one of their only valuable young players without getting youth and upside in return. He will make $5.3M next season, quite a bit more than Shamet’s $2.1M salary.
That’s where Rodney McGruder comes in. McGruder’s $5.2M salary goes to Detroit as filler to satisfy the league’s salary-matching rules. The scrappy depth wing had an underwhelming 2020 campaign with LAC after being more reliable for the Miami Heat before coming to the Clippers, and moving his contract will give the team additional flexibility under the NBA’s hard cap to potentially use their full non-taxpayer mid-level exception, which is worth around $9.3M. That possibility will ultimately be determined by the cost of retaining players like Marcus Morris and JaMychal Green.