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Los Angeles Clippers Have Options With Final Roster Spot

FastBreak on FanNation 9/15/2022 Brett Siegel

Having just one open roster spot available for the 2022-23 NBA season, the Los Angeles Clippers have some options heading towards the start of training camp.

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Injuries limited the success of the Los Angeles Clippers during the 2021-22 season, but now, with All Stars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George expected to be 100 percent for the start of the 2022-23 season, the Clippers have high championship aspirations.

The Clippers enter the new year as a very experienced and deep team that many are picking to win the Western Conference. Newly added John Wall will help lead things in the backcourt with Reggie Jackson and last year’s trade deadline additions in Norman Powell and Robert Covington figure to once again serve big roles off-the-bench for Los Angeles.

However, the Clippers still have some work to do ahead of the start of the 2022-23 season, as they still have one open roster spot to potentially fill. Looking at their roster as a hole, it is hard to say that this team needs anything else other than some more frontcourt help.

Besides Ivica Zubac, who is 7-feet tall, Los Angeles does not have another player on their roster who is taller than 6-foot-8, which could spell some trouble for them against lengthier and taller teams in the Western Conference that the Clippers will surely run into either late in the season or in the postseason.

Adding some more frontcourt depth could very well be the difference in the Los Angeles Clippers making a title run and the good thing for them is that they have options on how to possibly fill this final roster spot ahead of the start of training camp.

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Moses Brown

The first option that comes to mind for the Clippers right now in regards to this final roster spot is signing Moses Brown to a guaranteed contract, especially since he is already on Los Angeles’ roster.

Brown signed an Exhibit-10 contract with the Clippers this offseason, meaning that he is currently on a training camp deal with the team, one that could possibly be converted to either a two-way deal or an actual contract to be on the 15-man roster.

Already having second-round pick Moussa Diabate on a two-way contract, it seems very likely that Brown will not earn the second two-way spot on this team and will in fact have a real shot at competing for their final roster spot.

A lengthy 7-2 center, Moses Brown has made a name for himself in recent years because of his rebounding and rim-protection abilities. He had a breakout 2020-21 season with the Oklahoma City Thunder, averaging 8.6 points and 8.9 rebounds per game and has since played for both the Dallas Mavericks and Cleveland Cavaliers.

Playing in a combined 40 games with the Mavs and Cavs last season, Brown averaged 4.3 points and 3.4 rebounds per game while shooting 59.3% from the floor.

The Clippers interest in Moses Brown could result in them signing him to an actual contract before the start of the 2022-23 season, but there are some more intriguing options who still remain available this offseason for this team to also consider.

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DeMarcus Cousins

Perhaps the biggest name still available that makes the most sense for the Los Angeles Clippers from a fit perspective is DeMarcus Cousins.

He may be just a shadow of his former four-time All Star self and All-NBA talent, but DeMarcus Cousins is still one of the more physical big men in the league and his past experience playing with the Clippers is what sets him apart from anyone else who could compete for Los Angeles’ final roster spot.

Cousins played with the Clippers during the 2020-21 season and to be completely honest, he made a very positive impact on their roster. In 16 games, the veteran center averaged 7.8 points and 4.5 rebounds per game while shooting 53.7% from the floor and 42.1% from three-point range.

Having the ability to score in the paint and out on the perimeter is what separates Cousins from others and the Clippers could absolutely use this kind of play from a backup center behind Ivica Zubac simply because Zubac is a non-factor outside of the paint.

Last season, Los Angeles found success in their frontcourt because they had a really solid one-two punch with Ivica Zubac and Isaiah Hartenstein. They also threw in Nicolas Batum and Robert Covington at the center position in some rotations to play a little “small ball” at times.

With Hartenstein now in New York with the Knicks, the Clippers have a clear need for another impactful rebounder and capable scorer at the center position.

DeMarcus Cousins understands his role late in his career, he is willing to be a backup and he has already played with a vast majority of this roster before when he was with the Clippers a few years back. This move makes way too much sense for the Clippers to make and they would be passing up on a huge opportunity by not signing him before the start of the 2022-23 season.

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Hassan Whiteside

Cousins still remains the best center available in free agency given his past All Star experiences, but there is another impactful center that remains available this offseason and that is Hassan Whiteside.

Really coming into his own as a high-level rebounder and rim-protector during the 2014-15 season with the Miami Heat, Whiteside has bounced around the league quite a bit and has gone from a starting center to a backup center because of his inability to play outside the paint.

Overall though, Whiteside has continued to impact the game defensively and he has done so with numerous teams through the years.

The Portland Trail Blazers signed him as a backup for Jusuf Nurkic ahead of the start of the 2019-20 season and he ended up starting in 61 of the 67 regular season games he played in due to an injury to Nurkic. Whiteside averaged 15.5 points, 13.5 rebounds and a league-high 2.9 blocks per game that season.

The following year, he joined the Sacramento Kings, making an impact in the small amount of minutes he saw, and then Hassan Whiteside joined the Utah Jazz this past year, proving to be a fantastic backup option behind All Star center Rudy Gobert.

An elite-level rebounder that has the ability to finish near the top of the league in blocked shots, Whiteside is definitely an intriguing option to be Ivica Zubac’s backup, especially since he is a better rebounder and shot-blocker than Isaiah Hartenstein was for this team a season ago.

The Clippers have been known to be a great defensive team and adding Hassan Whiteside would only make them better on this end of the floor.

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Leave Roster Spot Open

There is nothing saying that the Clippers must fill this 15th open roster spot and quite honestly, they may very well wait and see how things go to begin the 2022-23 season before looking to sign anyone else.

The Clippers know that they have what it takes to win a championship right now and when you look at their roster as a whole, they truly do not need to add anyone else.

Having extra depth behind Ivica Zubac would be great for obvious reason, but Nicolas Batum and Robert Covington are more than capable of playing the center position in “small-ball” lineups, as mentioned before, and rookie Moussa Diabate could realistically see some time during the course of the regular season on his two-way contract.

Los Angeles does not need any more depth in their backcourt with Reggie Jackson, John Wall, Terance Mann and Jason Preston returning from injury and out on the wing, this team has everything they need with Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, Noman Powell, Marcus Morris Sr. and Luke Kennard.

It would be shocking not to see the Los Angeles Clippers be in the Western Conference Semifinals at the very least this season and if they add another high-level talent, specifically in their frontcourt, the Clippers could possibly make their first ever NBA Finals appearance in team history. 

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