With Robert Covington, a top trade target, dealt to the Rockets and now off the table for a deal, things have slowed considerably for the Clippers. The team entered the period ahead of Thursday’s trade deadline eager to add a defensive-minded wing, with the expiring contract of Maurice Harkless, their 2020 draft pick and a handful of promising young players on offer but have not come up with a worthwhile swap.
As a league source told Heavy.com, if the deadline were today, “there would be nothing coming down,” on the trade front.
The Clippers are not exactly unhappy with Harkless, who has started 37 of the 49 games in which he has played and is a capable defensive player. But he is a dead spot on the offensive end, averaging 5.4 points this season. He is shooting 35.3 percent on 3-pointers (41.5 percent on corner 3s) but he is not comfortable as a shooter, taking only 1.4 shots per game from the arc.
He’s been included in rumors for the likes of Knicks forward Marcus Morris and Bulls forward Thaddeus Young. Those talks stalled, however. The Clippers were not seriously involved in talks about Kevin Love, the source said.
Maurice Harkless: ‘I Know How it Goes’
The concern for the Clippers is that, when the playoffs come around, defenses will be able to ignore Harkless on the offensive end and send double-teams at Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. That was where the Covington interest came into play.
But the Wolves were able to secure a package based around Malik Beasley and the Nets’ 2020 pick, which likely will land 15th or 16th. The Clippers’ pick is currently No. 27. L.A could still move that pick as it tries to create a roster spot going forward.
Harkless, for his part, has been sanguine about his status as a trade chip.
“I just focus on what I’ve got going on here,” he told the L.A. Times. “That’s the only thing I can control. If I let myself worry about that stuff. … Man, I’ve been in the league long enough where I know how it goes. If it comes to that day, I’ll deal with it when I get there.”
Iguodala Would Like to Join Clippers
The Clippers are believed to be among the teams to which Memphis wing Andre Iguodala would approve a trade and that possibility remains. The Grizzlies have been insisting they will not buy out Iguodala, who responded by leaking that he would be willing to sit out the season, leaving Memphis with no return at all.
L.A. would not want to give up its first-round pick for Iguodala, even if it is near the end of the first round and even with Iguodala’s vast postseason experience. Iguodala is primarily a defensive presence and that’s a benefit. But he is 36 years old, last played in June and averaging just 5.7 points last season.
Iguodala shot 31.0 percent from the 3-point line in his last two seasons with the Warriors. He can serve as a secondary ballhandler but for the Clippers, there’s reluctance to give up Harkless for a player who is a decade older and not much better as a floor-spacer.
The Clippers do have some solid young players—Terance Mann, Mfiondu Kabengele, Derrick Walton, Jr.—who could be inserted into an Iguodala package. But as long as the Grizzlies insist on a pick, the Clippers’ interest will be limited.
The Clippers don’t currently have a roster spot but they could make a minor move to clear out space to pursue players on the post-deadline buyout market. Point guard Darren Collison would be among their targets.
Collison retired last summer but is eyeing a return if he can play for one of the L.A. teams. A source told Heavy.com that Collison will make his decision after next week’s All-Star break.