Clippers Urged to Trade Luke Kennard for Struggling Guard

Malik Beasley

Getty Malik Beasley has been the subject of trade rumors recently.

After going on a seven-game winning streak from November 1-13, the Los Angeles Clippers have lost five of their last eight games.

The Clips have also failed to score more than 96 points in five of those eight matchups, and they’re averaging 105.2 points a game so far this season, down from the 114.0 points they averaged last year. Paul George is scoring 25.9 points a game, and he’s one of just three players averaging in double figures for Los Angeles (guard Reggie Jackson is averaging 17.5 points a game, and center Ivica Zubac is putting up 10.1 points per contest).

With top player Kawhi Leonard out for the foreseeable future, L.A. could benefit from the addition of a facilitator on offense capable of putting up points while also opening things up offensively. Considering this, Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report has an intriguing trade suggestion in mind.

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Luke Kennard & 2022 2nd Rounder for Malik Beasley?

Clippers backup shooting guard Luke Kennard is netting 9.6 points a game while making 41.0% of his shots from beyond the arc. Kennard, who is in his fifth season in the NBA and second with the Clips, has been a solid role player for Los Angeles, but Swartz thinks the Minnesota Timberwolves might be willing to part ways with guard Malik Beasley in exchange for Kennard.

Beasley has been relegated to the bench this season — after starting 36 games last year, he has yet to start one. Swartz thinks this makes him expendable.

Here’s the specifics of the trade proposed by Swartz:

  • Los Angeles Clippers Receive: SG Malik Beasley
  • Minnesota Timberwolves Receive: G/F Luke Kennard, 2022 second-round pick

“The Clippers offense has predictably struggled without Kawhi Leonard, ranking 25th (195.3 rating) to begin the year. Reggie Jackson, the team’s second-leading scorer behind Paul George, is shooting 40.3 percent overall. Los Angeles should look to get George some help,” Swartz wrote, adding:

Enter Beasley, who averaged 19.6 points and shot 39.9 percent from three a season ago yet has been moved to a bench role with the Timberwolves. His scoring is down to 10.3 points per night, but Beasley would look far better as the starting shooting guard next to George in L.A. For Minnesota, having floor-spacers so guys like Anthony Edwards, Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell have room to operate is important. Kennard is one of the best three-point shooters in the NBA and is connecting on 44.1 percent of his attempts this season. Both players would shine in their new situations, especially Beasley in L.A.

Could Beasley Have Resurgence in L.A.?

Beasley is under contract with the Timberwolves through 2023-24, and he has a $16.5 million team option.

A six-year vet, Beasley averaged 7.4 points in his first 3+ seasons with the Denver Nuggets and 17.2 points in the last two seasons after he was traded to Minnesota. As Swartz noted, Beasley scored nearly 20 points a game a season ago, and while that total has been cut in half this year, he’d have far more talent surrounding him in L.A. than he currently does. It’s not unreasonable to assume he could have a resurgence playing with the Clippers.

He’s a career 38.4% 3-point shooter who could provide both a better scoring option and more opportunities off the dribble than Kennard can, and throwing a second-round pick in could be enough incentive for Minnesota. This is one of the few hypothetical trade suggestions that could work out well for the Clips, and if they should get the opportunity to make a deal for someone like Beasley, they should go for it.

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