You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Source: Los Angeles Clippers Aggressively Pursuing Backcourt Help Ahead Of Trade Deadline

FastBreak on FanNation 2/4/2023 Brett Siegel
© Provided by FastBreak on FanNation

The Los Angeles Clippers are looking to upgrade their backcourt talent ahead of the NBA trade deadline on Thursday, February 9.

Winning six of their last eight games with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George healthy and back on the floor, the Los Angeles Clippers have very quickly begun their ascension in the Western Conference standings.

Currently sitting 8.5 games back of the Denver Nuggets for first-place in the West ahead of Saturday night’s game against the New York Knicks, the Clippers are tied in the standings with the Dallas Mavericks for the 4-seed in the conference.

The Clippers are a team with very high championship aspirations this season and they remain one of the more experienced teams with key veteran talents in Norman Powell, Marcus Morris Sr. and Nicolas Batum, amongst others, next to Leonard and George.

Reggie Jackson has not played badly for Los Angeles this season and they did add former All-Star guard John Wall this past offseason, but the Clippers are looking to improve their backcourt depth and possibly add a starting-level point guard ahead of Thursday’s trade deadline, league sources told Fastbreak on FanNation.

Utah Jazz veteran guard Mike Conley and Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet have been constantly mentioned as trade targets for the Clippers and Charlotte Hornets guard Terry Rozier has also been mentioned as a target for them.

At this moment, the Jazz have not made it clear whether or not Conley is available at the trade deadline and should he be made available, many around the league believe that Los Angeles does not have what Utah would be looking for.

The Clippers do not have a first-round pick that they can trade until 2028 at the earliest and they do not have any young talents on favorable, rookie-scale contracts.

Terance Mann has been mentioned as a possible young trade asset the Clippers could look to bargain with, but his two-year extension worth approximately $22 million is set to begin during the 2023-24 season.

Due to their lack of overall assets, putting together a lucrative offer for Fred VanVleet could also be tough for the Clippers to do. Nobody knows what direction the Toronto Raptors are heading in, but any deal involving VanVleet would likely require a team to give up at least two first-round picks, something Los Angeles cannot really do at this time.

Terry Rozier seems like the most likely of the three guards listed above to be available and possibly be on the move ahead of Thursday’s trade deadline.

The Hornets have struggled this season and Rozier is under contract through the 2025-26 season, making him a player Charlotte could look to unload from their payroll in order to create flexibility with both P.J. Washington and Jalen McDaniels set to hit free agency this summer. Not to mention, LaMelo Ball will be up for a rookie extension this upcoming offseason.

Playing in 44 games so far this season, Rozier has averaged 21.7 points and 4.9 assists per game while shooting 41.4 percent from the floor. The Clippers showed interest in Terry Rozier this past summer ahead of the start of the 2022-23 season and sources say this interest has not disappeared.

As things stand right now, it appears that the Los Angeles Clippers will enter the trade deadline with everyone on their roster available in trade talks other than Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, giving them flexibility to make a big move to bring in a third key scoring talent in their backcourt.

Kyrie Irving is another intriguing situation that the Clippers could pursue, league sources told Fastbreak. Nobody knows what the Brooklyn Nets are going to ultimately do with their backs up against the wall and Irving’s style of play would fit in perfectly alongside Leonard and George.

If the Clippers were to make a move for Irving though, this would likely cost them Norman Powell and other core assets, a move that Los Angeles may not want to make given that their depth is the main strength of their team.

Owner Steve Ballmer and the Clippers’ front-office are on the same page though heading towards the trade deadline in terms of wanting to add more talent to this roster.

The Clippers believe that they are in a position to contend for a title this season, assuming Kawhi Leonard and Paul George remain healthy, and making a big splash at this trade deadline could pave a path for the Clippers to make their first ever appearance in the NBA Finals. 

Be sure to catch up on the newest episode of The Fast Break Podcast hosted by Fastbreak's own Brett Siegel!

Streaming on Apple Podcasts and Spotify, The Fast Break Podcast takes you inside the league with the latest news, intel, rumors and interviews from those close to the action for all 30 teams. Be on the lookout for a new episodes every Friday. 

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon