The Clippers‘ collection of trade assets puts them in a better position than many rival contenders to upgrade their roster at the deadline, according to one rival NBA executive who spoke to Sean Deveney of Heavy.com.
“They’re the team that’s doing more talking (than the Lakers),” the executive said of the Clippers, per Deveney. “They’re in better position. They’ve got everything you want if you’re looking to get assets back for players. They have a draft pick, they have expiring contracts they can give up, they have really good, interesting young players. They’re in a great position to help themselves.”
As Deveney observes, the Clippers have traded away a handful of future picks but aren’t prohibited from trading their 2020 first-rounder, since they still control both it and their 2021 pick. And unlike a handful of other contenders, they have a movable contract in the mid-level range — Maurice Harkless is making $11MM in the last year of his contract, and while he has been a solid defender for Los Angeles, his offensive game is limited.
The Clippers are actively seeking help at power forward, according to Deveney, who notes that the team has at least expressed interest in Thaddeus Young (Bulls) and Marcus Morris (Knicks). Sources tell Deveney that the Clips believe they have the necessary assets to make a deal for Morris if they so choose, but will continue to scour the trade market.
While Harkless and a first-round pick would be a strong enough package for an upgrade, the Clippers also have young players who may intrigue teams. Even if the club isn’t willing to move Montrezl Harrell – who will be an unrestricted free agent at season’s end – or Landry Shamet, players like Jerome Robinson and rookies Terance Mann and Mfiondu Kabengele could appeal to trade partners.
“Both of those guys are NBA players,” that same exec told Deveney, referring to Mann and Kabengele. “We had a lot of discussion about both of them at the draft, they’re strong, NBA bodies, they play both ways. How good? That would be the question, but they’re both NBA players.”
The Clippers have four more weeks to make a deal before the February 6 trade deadline.