Almost as quickly as it was here, free agency seems mostly over. The big names – with a few exceptions – have signed, and a couple large trades were made. The Clippers’ offseason has already seen a lot of action, but there is clearly some work left to do. What else is on the Clippers’ agenda? First, let’s take a look at the roster with rough estimations of the depth chart.

Starters: James Harden – Terance Mann – Derrick Jones Jr. – Kawhi Leonard – Ivica Zubac

Bench: Russell Westbrook – Norman Powell – Amir Coffey – Nic Batum – Mo Bamba

Depth: Bones Hyland – Kevin Porter Jr. – Kris Dunn – Kobe Brown – PJ Tucker

Deep Depth: Cam Christie

Two-Way: Jordan Miller

One thing is very quickly evident, which is that the Clippers would have 16 full roster spots, which is one too many! They could theoretically get around this by putting Cam Christie on a two-way, but all indications are that he will get a regular roster spot. Thus, the Clippers need to clear room for their additions. This is all assuming that the sign and trade with Kris Dunn will get done somehow, likely roped into one of the other moves the Clippers will have to make.

The two likeliest goners are PJ Tucker and Russell Westbrook. Law Murray has reported the Clippers will either trade PJ or stretch his contract, and that he won’t be returning to the Clippers. Let’s assume that the Clippers don’t want to attach any real assets to dump him, and that they are forced to waive him. Russ is interesting, in that the Nuggets apparently have interest, but no rumored trades have popped up. They seem to be waiting for him to be bought out so they can sign him off waivers. Let’s say that Russ is cut or is dumped for effectively nothing, with his $4M salary being much easier to move than PJ’s $11M salary. This would then be the updated depth chart:

Starters: James Harden – Terance Mann – Derrick Jones Jr. – Kawhi Leonard – Ivica Zubac

Bench: Kris Dunn – Norman Powell – Amir Coffey – Nic Batum – Mo Bamba

Depth: Bones Hyland – Kevin Porter Jr. – Cam Christie – Kobe Brown – ?

Two-Way: Jordan Miller

That’s a bit better, with a couple clear points of concern. One is that even without Russ, the Clippers have a million veteran guards, with no less than seven players whose ideal position is the 1 or the 2 (Terance is fringe but I think that’s his best role), which isn’t even counting rookie Cam Christie or promising two-way Jordan Miller. A guard or two needs to be moved.

Second, the Clippers’ only backup big man is Mo Bamba, who is fine, but not exactly the best backup in the NBA, and they have nobody at all behind him if he or Zu were to get injured. Some kind of support at center is needed. Maybe Kai Jones or Moussa Diabate come back on a two-way or a full roster spot, but ideally I’d like someone slightly more proven there with Mo as the main backup.

Third, depending on how you feel about this situation, is that Kawhi is still starting at power forward. The reporting on the Nico signing is that he will be a bench guy, and Derrick Jones is too light to play the four. Many Clippers fans have wanted to shift Kawhi back down to small forward to reduce his wear and tear, and the Clippers at times have indicated that themselves. Kawhi was extremely effective there last year, but the NBA is getting bigger now, not smaller, and I think it would be nice if the Clippers could roll out Harden-DJJ-Kawhi-PF-Zu.

The trade candidates to get a starting power forward and/or a reserve center would include Russ and PJ, obviously, with all of the rest of the guards – Bones, Norm, Terance, Amir – on the table as well. Some possible targets for a power forward trade would be Dorian Finney Smith, John Collins, Jerami Grant (likely too expensive in terms of assets), Kyle Kuzma (ditto), DeAndre Hunter (not really a PF), and Harrison Barnes, with my personal favorite targets being Finney-Smith and Collins. Center would probably just be a free agent signing with the room created by moving off multiple other guys in a trade, though Robert Williams is an interesting name. Honestly, I’d be perfectly happy with bringing back Daniel Theis.

The Clippers could also make a bigger splash for players like DeMar DeRozan or Zach LaVine to give themselves more firepower in replacing Paul George. This seems unlikely at this juncture. DeRozan would have to be a sign and trade, which is always complicated, and LaVine’s number is big enough that at least 3 and probably 4 Clippers would probably have to included to get there.

All told, I think we can expect to see Russ and PJ moved, whether by trade or cut, a third big man of some kind added, and one other trade to bring in a wing or forward in exchange for a guard or two. After that, filling out the last couple two-way spots will be the last item, and might not even be complete until training camp.

Any guys you have an eye on? Leave your thoughts below!

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