Per the reliable Law Murray of the Athletic, the Clippers will waive guard Jason Preston before his contract guarantee date tomorrow.
The writing has been on the wall for Preston for forever, as the 33rd pick in the 2021 draft missed the entire 2022 season due to a foot injury, and then played a mere 14 games (all garbage time) in the NBA in 2023. Preston spent most of his time in Ontario in the G-League, where he was good but not great. Meanwhile, the Clippers acquired fellow 2021 draftee Bones Hyland at the deadline, a far superior point guard prospect.
After an unimpressive Summer League, the Clippers pushed Preston’s guarantee date back from July to October, presumably to give them time to trade him or clear a roster spot (the Clippers have 15 fully guaranteed players even after waiving Preston) in a larger deal that would give him a spot. Sadly for Jason Preston, the Clippers have not yet made such a deal, and with a full roster and training camp here, the waive was the only real option.
The lack of any team willing to trade for Preston and take a flier on him shows how low his stock has fallen in the past two years. Already 24 and with no real NBA experience as well as middling showings elsewhere, there’s not much short-term or long-term upside with Preston. I suspect he could maybe wrangle a two-way spot from a team with more ability to develop him long-term, but it’s probably the G-League for him.
The Clippers’ draft record remains abysmal. The drafting of Mfiondu Kabengele at 27 in 2019, Daniel Oturu at 33 in 2020, and Preston at 33 in 2021 is a simply horrendous run for a team desperate for cheap, young contributors, and that’s not even counting Jerome Robinson at 13 in 2018 or Keon Johnson at 21 in 2021, who the Clippers moved on from quickly.
The Clippers roster is now more or less set, as they have 15 guaranteed deals, 3 two-ways, and two Exhibit 10s to participate in training camp. They are still obviously on the hunt for an upgrade somewhere, with Malcolm Brogdon and James Harden two trade candidates, but their official business needed to get a legal roster is over.
Best of luck to Jason Preston. Even though he did not work out as a Clipper, he seems like a good guy and hard worker, and I hope he’s able to catch on somewhere else in the NBA.