According to the always-reliable Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, Clippers head coach/president of basketball operations Doc Rivers is scouring the trade wire in search of a big man to help bolster his bench.
As it stands today, the Clippers’ backup bigs are Ryan Hollins, Byron Mullens and Antawn Jamison, with only Hollins seeing meaningful playing time at this point. Mullens is a bit player that can’t defend, nor can he seemingly do anything useful on the basketball court, while Jamison’s best days are clearly behind him. Hollins brings athleticism and clearly plays hard, but just flat-out isn’t really good enough to have much of an impact any time he plays.
The Clippers still have an open roster spot with the club deciding to not retain guard Sasha Vujacic, but there aren’t really any viable frontcourt options just floating around unemployed. So, they’re seeking to make a trade.
There’s no shortage of available bigs out there on the trade market, but do the Clippers have enough assets to potentially get a deal done and bring a meaningful rotation player back? Let’s check on some of the names that have been floated out there.
The obvious connection here is that Bass currently plays for the Celtics, and Rivers coached him there for two seasons. He’s a bit of an undersized four at 6’8″, but at 250 pounds he’s able to get away with it and can bang in the post. He’s not the most physical player, nor does he block many shots, but he’s become a very reliable midrange shooter and can finish pretty well around the rim.
This season for the Celtics, Bass is averaging 10.8 points and 5.8 rebounds in just over 27 minutes per game. He’s also been an excellent free-throw shooter throughout his career, which is certainly something the Clippers would love to have down-the-stretch in games. He’s on the books for under $7M for this and next season, which complicates things a bit. Jared Dudley, a player the Clippers have reportedly made available, makes just over $4M, so the team would likely have to include him and another low-money player like Jamison or Mullens.
If L.A. were to throw-in a future pick, would that be enough to get the deal done? Perhaps Danny Ainge and co. in Boston would be willing to give Rivers a hometown discount, of sorts.
Bass would bolster the bench, for sure, and would fit in nicely with a bunch in need of some scoring punch.
Davis, who was actually traded for Bass just three years ago, is a very similar player. He’s listed at 6’9″, 280, so he’s a bigger body than Bass, but possesses a very similar skill set. He’s a decent shooter that struggles a bit to score with his back to the basket. This season for Orlando, Big Baby is averaging 12.6 points and 6.5 boards per game, while being a substantially worse free-throw shooter, hitting just 67% of his attempts from the charity stripe.
Like Bass, Davis is owed about $6.5M each of the next two seasons, so he’s not costing a ton. He’s started most of his games for the Magic, but would obviously come off-the-bench here. The similar package of Dudley-filler-pick would probably have to be enough to get it done, and I’m not sure Orlando has much incentive to do that deal. They’re in a full-on rebuild mode, and likely don’t have much use for players like Dudley, Jamison or Hollins.
Our series on offensively-skilled-but-undersized power forward continues here with Washington’s Trevor Booker. Booker is considerably cheaper than either Bass or Davis as he’s on the books for just over $2M this season, the last year of his rookie deal. He’s played well for the Wizards this season whenever he’s gotten meaningful minutes, but he’s a bit buried on their bench, and only plays 20 minutes a game.
Washington has been vocal about their desire to upgrade their backup point guard behind John Wall, as Eric Maynor has been a monster disappointment this season. Can the Clippers really afford to part ways with Darren Collison just to pick-up a backup forward? With the way Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan have been gobbling up minutes, there’s no guarantee a player like Booker would come in and be a big-time difference-maker, anyway. He’s struggled with consistency. Collison has been very solid for the Clippers this season, particularly once he was thrust into duty with Chris Paul’s injury.
The only other point guard type on the roster is Jamal Crawford, and obviously he’s not going anywhere, either. Unless the Wizards feel the need to add another wing shooter (of which they already have several), it’s tough to imagine these teams coming to terms on a reasonable deal.
Hayes was traded from Sacramento to Toronto as a part of the Rudy Gay deal earlier this season. He’s not getting a ton of run with the Raps, as their frontcourt is pretty full already. Hayes has made his way in this league as a low-post defensive stopper. He’s only 6’6″, but he’s built like a house and is essentially immovable for a player trying to back him down. He has also shown the ability in the past to run an offense from the high post, as he did in Houston.
The Raptors are in a weird place right now. Masai Ujiri was brought in to clean up Bryan Colangelo’s mess, but he’s actually stumbled upon a pretty good team. Since Gay was traded, the Raptors have gone 21-12 and are pretty firmly planted into the Eastern Conference’s No. 3 seed. It’ll be tough to fall out of the playoffs entirely and into the lottery at this point, so does Ujiri still attempt to trade players away, or does he buy at the deadline and make a run this season?
Whichever the case, Hayes likely doesn’t factor much into Toronto’s future plans. He’s making $5M each of the next two seasons, which is too much for a guy that’s hardly playing for you. The Clippers would love to have a guy like this, as the defense tends to struggle mightily whenever Jordan hits the bench. Hayes isn’t a shot-blocker, but he gets the job done. Toronto would have a place for a shooter like Dudley, and the Raptors are obviously welcoming future draft choices, as well.
The Lakers are clearly shopping their backup four man, and they’ve been rumored to be discussing a deal with the Nets. Hill has found it difficult to find consistent minutes this season even with the insane rash of injuries that has killed the Lakers, which is kinda curious. Hill isn’t the kind of player you drop it down to in the post, but he’s a beast on the offensive glass and always seems to give strong effort. He’s averaging 7 rebounds a game despite playing under 20 minutes a night.
Obviously, the Clippers could use a guy like that, but it isn’t likely the Lakers and Clippers will be doing any deals trying to help each other out.
About the Author
Written by Taylor Smith
Taylor Smith is a writer for the Los Angeles Clippers.