On Saturday, the Clippers finally completed a trio of transactions we had been anticipating since the trade deadline. Or really, since they traded Serge Ibaka for Rodney Hood and Semi Ojeleye. The Clippers waived Semi, creating a roster spot to convert Amir Coffey to a regular NBA contract. With that open two-way deal, they then signed a backup point guard, Xavier Moon.
Why this set of moves wasn’t done a month ago remains puzzling, as Ojeleye hasn’t contributed much of anything to the Clippers and they could have used a relief option at point guard for Reggie Jackson. The explanations that the Clippers wanted Terance Mann and Coffey to handle the ball and take up more playmaking duties makes sense, but they could have used that depth option at point guard anyway, especially for blowouts.
The most important element of all this is the Amir Coffey promotion, a testament to what he’s given the Clippers this season and how much he’s grown in the past three years. Coffey ranks fifth on the team in minutes played, and is averaging a solid 8.9 points per game on terrific 58.3% True Shooting while playing sturdy defense at multiple positions. The Clippers would not be where they are this year without Coffey, and it’s past time he was elevated to the “full” roster spot.
Ojeleye played just 98 minutes for the Clips across 10 games (honestly, it’s surprising he played even that much) and was a garbage time guy only. The Clippers valued his professionalism and work ethic, but on the court he won’t be missed or even noticed.
As for Moon, he played in six games this year when the Clippers were swamped with injuries and COVID, and to these eyes was largely unimpressive on the court, though he is at the least a competent ballhandler. Still, he clearly made an impression on the Clippers, and seems like a great vibes guy. Something to note is that Moon is already 27. While he can still develop and grow in the NBA, he’s much more likely close to a finished product than not. Maybe the Clippers keep him beyond this year, maybe he’s just a depth and vibes boost this season.
Congratulations to Amir, a hearty welcome back Xavier, and good luck Semi!