On Wednesday morning, the Clippers were relatively dormant on the trade front. By the time Thursday came around, though, L.A. was pushing hard to prevent Knicks forward Marcus Morris from landing with the team’s Staples Center rival, the Lakers. The Clippers managed to do that by sending out the expiring contract of Maurice Harkless, second-year guard Jerome Robinson (to Washington) and two draft picks to New York.
Should the Clippers waive guard Isaiah Thomas, as it has been reported they will do they’ll have two roster spots open. One figures to go to a backup playmaker and L.A. will be in the mix (again along with the Lakers) for guard Darren Collison. Heavy.com reported this week that Collison—who abruptly retired last summer—will sit down after the All-Star break and make his decision on whether to return, and with whom.
The other figures to go to a backup center who can also protect the rim. For that spot, keep an eye on another guy who has not played since last season, Joakim Noah.
Clippers had Previous Interest in Joakim Noah
Just before training camp last season, Noah was slated to work out for the Clippers. A minor injury forced that workout to be postponed, though, and Noah has been a free-agent since, waiting for the post-deadline buyout period to find a spot with a contender.
A source told Heavy.com that Noah is, “100 percent, he has been working on maintaining his conditioning and is hopeful that he’ll play this season.” Rekindling interest from the Clippers would be the ideal option for him.
Clippers coach Doc Rivers has long been a fan of Noah’s game, going back to the battles Rivers’ Celtics had against Noah’s Bulls more than a decade ago. Fans in Boston developed a distinct disdain for Noah during those days, but Rivers—who was friendly with Noah’s father, tennis star Yannick Noah—gained a respect for Noah’s passion and approach.
Last December, when Noah caught on with the Grizzlies after spending three injury-riddled seasons with Chicago and New York, Rivers told reporters, “I’m happy for him. I saw him in the hotel yesterday and we had a good talk. I know his dad, you youngins know nothing about that so I’m not even going to go there. I’m just happy. He’s one of those guys who have always played the game with a great joy, made the best of what he has. You like seeing him in the league and playing him again.”
Noah Remains Productive (When Healthy)
But Noah has not been able to stay healthy and played just 42 games with Memphis last year. He averaged 7.1 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.1 assists in just 16.5 minutes per game. He also averaged 0.7 blocks.
Those are good numbers considering the limited playing time. There are not many rim-protecting centers on the market and Noah could be the Clippers’ best option, especially considering their previous interest in bringing him in.
There could prove to be better options among players who have not yet been bought out. If the market stays as it is, the Clippers can be expected to have a look at signing Noah.