Clippers Shopping League-Leading Sharpshooter Ahead of Draft: Sources

Luke Kennard of the Clippers

Getty Luke Kennard of the Clippers

When it comes to the upcoming NBA trade market, which is already reaching a steady boil with the Pistons’ trade of Jerami Grant to Portland on Wednesday, the role of pure shooter is getting a bit crowded. It is no secret that the Heat have been taking calls on wing Duncan Robinson, whose poor defense left him all but banished during the postseason with five DNPs.

It’s also not much of a surprise that the Nets are seeing what might be available for shooter Joe Harris, whose ankle injury 14 games into the schedule turned into a season-long nightmare that required surgery.

But when it comes to pure shooters on the market, the one who may be the most attractive is the guy who led the league in 3-point shooting last year, making 44.9% from the arc, Clippers guard Luke Kennard. According to sources around the league, L.A. is shopping Kennard ahead of Thursday’s NBA draft, and will look to move him next month if no deal can be reached.

The Cavaliers and Clippers had talked about a Kennard deal last winter, but the Cavs instead landed more versatile guard Caris LeVert—the Cavs are still badly in need of perimeter shooting. The Clippers traded for wing Norman Powell at the deadline instead, and Powell’s presence makes Kennard more expendable.

The Bulls and Kings are also potential suitors, according to sources. Kennard (who turns 26 this week) has three years left on his contract, at $13.7 million, $14.7 million and $14.7 million, with the third year being a team option. Harris (who is 30) has two years at about $39 million, while Robinson (he’s 28) has four years and a hefty $74 million remaining.

What is Ivey Worth to Knicks?

The Knicks have their eyes firmly set on the No. 4 pick in the draft, hoping to move into position to draft ultra-speedy guard Jaden Ivey out of Purdue. The Knicks have the 11th pick and are trying to scoop up another first-rounder to offer Sacramento this season. The Knicks also have Dallas’s first-rounder next season to offer up to the Kings.

New York seems intent on making pick swaps with the Sacramento. But it may take more than that to get the player the Knicks clearly covet.

“If you feel like he is a difference-maker and potential to have all-star appeal compared to a rotational player you have, it’s a matter of what are you willing to give up?” said longtime executive and ESPN analyst Bobby Marks. “Are you willing to give up certainly swapping 11 for 4 and now what’s next? Is it the Mavericks pick that you have? Is it a first? Is it probably going to cost you one or two players on your own roster? Maybe Immanuel Quickley, guys like that, to try to get a deal done.

“I don’t think just swapping picks and giving a future first will get it done here because I think [Ivey] does have the talent to be a really good player.”

Jazz ‘Other Guys’ Drawing Interest, Too

The Utah Jazz have garnered plenty of attention for their willingness to trade away former Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert, but considering Gobert’s limited offense and his whopping price tag (four years and $170 remaining), finding a sensible deal has been difficult.

Less difficult, several teams are finding, is plucking two other pieces from Utah—point guard Mike Conley and wing Bojan Bogdanovic. Conley is coming off a down year and  figures to have a limited trade market, but Bogdanovic remains a credible scorer and perimeter shooter, who has only one year left on his contract, at $19.5 million.

“It’s not just Gobert,” one NBA executive said, “there is a lot to be had there. They’re looking to remake that roster up and down around (Donovan) Mitchell.”


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