The Los Angeles Clippers have managed to retain every last one of their most coveted free agents, keeping the likes of Kawhi Leonard, Reggie Jackson and Serge Ibaka around for at least one more year. Now, the Clips have just added an intriguing name to the mix.
As first reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Los Angeles is signing former Miami Heat and Memphis Grizzlies small forward/shooting guard Justise Winslow to a two-year deal. Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times tweeted that the Clips were signing Winslow using the taxpayer mid-level exception.
Per Yardbarker, “The taxpayer MLE can be used to sign a player for up to three years, with 5% annual raises.” The MLE can also be divied up amongst multiple players, but Winslow’s salary should be in the $5,718,000 range.
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Winslow Has Concerning Injury History
Winslow has had bad luck with injuries in over his career, particularly in recent years, missing 62 games over the last two seasons. A hip injury suffered in 2020 inside the NBA bubble sidelined him last year, and the season prior, he was limited by a bone bruise in his back.
“It was kind of an awkward play. I just was off balance, got pushed off my dribble and went to plant and next thing I know, I was getting an MRI,” Winslow said of his hip injury this past February. “It wasn’t the most physical play.”
The former Duke standout also had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder in 2017, and he had multiple minor knee issues in 2018 and 2019.
The injury history is troubling, and it makes Winslow a potentially risky signing. If he stays healthy, though, the Clippers will be getting a stingy defender whose versatility makes him capable of playing both shooting guard and small forward. With Leonard out for what may be the entire season, it will be interesting to see how frequently L.A. used him — and how often.
Winslow Brings Staunch Defense, So-So Statline
The Miami Heat selected Winslow with the 10th overall pick in 2015, and he’s got some upside despite his injury history. His last full season was the 2018-19 one, and he averaged 12.6 points, 5.4 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game, shooting 43.3% from the field and 37.5% from downtown. Throughout his six-year career, he has averaged 8.8 points, 5.3 boards and 2.6 assists, netting an average over 10+ points three times.
This past season, he was limited due to the hip injury, and he only played in 26 games, starting one. He averaged a career-low 19.5 minutes, scoring 6.8 points while also hauling in 4.5 rebounds and 1.9 assists.
Winslow is still only just 25 years old, so his potential to breakout is still there.
“I feel like with his energy on the bench, it rubbed off on everybody to be all engaged during the game,” Ja Morant said about Winslow’s role with the Grizzlies this past season. “I feel like it helped us a lot.”
We’ll see what kind of juice he’ll bring to Paul George and company.
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