The Los Angeles Clippers appear to be primed to make a trade before the deadline on Thursday.
As the NBA trade deadline nears on Feb. 6, the Clippers have assets that could be worthy in a possible trade. Los Angeles currently has a first-round pick and Mo Harkless’ expiring $11.5 million deal to offer. According to Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated, the Clippers are interested in a number of players, including the likes of the Cleveland Cavaliers‘ Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson.
Other players mentioned in Mannix’ article are the Memphis Grizzlies’ Andre Iguodala, the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Robert Covington and the Sacramento Kings’ Dewayne Dedmon.
“The Clippers have been aggressive, no surprise considering they have the $11.5 million Mo Harkless contract and a first round pick to deal. Considering if LA doesn’t trade the pick it can’t deal another one until we colonize Mars, there is some urgency in the LA front office to get a deal done. The Clippers have kicked the tires on Kevin Love and could grab disgruntled Kings center Dewayne Dedmon, but neither are preferred options. There is some interest in Tristan Thompson in LA’s front office, per sources, as LA’s coaching staff has fretted about the team’s rebounding, particularly when Ivica Zubac is off the floor. Wing depth is a consideration for the Clippers, with Robert Covington and Iguodala among the possibilities discussed.”
Why Clippers Are Interested In Love And Thompson
The Clippers’ interest in Love is surprising considering his contract. The 31-year-old big man remains productive at this stage of his career — 17.8 points and 9.8 rebounds per game on 45.7 percent from the field and 38.1 percent from beyond the arc — but his contract is pretty ridiculous.
The veteran big man is due to earn $120 million over the next four seasons for an average annual salary of $30 million.
Meanwhile, Thompson’s contract is more feasible. The former NBA champion will be a free agent this offseason and earns just $18.5 million this season. Considering the Clippers would really only need him for rebounding, Thompson fits that bill. He’s averaging 10.4 rebounds per game this season and has experience playing in the postseason as a member of LeBron James‘ Cavaliers teams from a few years prior.
Love Doesn’t Expect To Be Traded By Cavaliers
With all of this said, a deal for Love is unlikely. Most reports seem to indicate Love will stay in Cleveland past the trade deadline. Even the veteran big man admitted he expects to remain in Cleveland.
Via Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com:
“Naw, it’s funny, I didn’t even consider that, oddly, not until this very moment,” Love said. “It could be the same thing for a few guys here. Tristan (Thompson) didn’t play tonight, I just don’t know what’s going to happen. We’ll let the chips fall, I’ve been saying that. But I expect to probably finish the season out here and continue to play extremely hard.”
Even assuming Love is out of the equation, it’s become apparently clear that the Clippers are “aggressive” in making a trade. They’re currently second in the Western Conference, just three games behind the Los Angeles Lakers for the first seed in the West.
The Clippers have an advantage over the Lakers in that they have assets to dangle. Considering that advantage, it only makes sense for the Clippers to make a trade to improve their chances of defeating the Lakers in a potential Western Conference playoff matchup.