Analyzing Clippers Options After Losing DeAndre Jordan
Los Angeles Clippers fans should be worried, because with star center DeAndre Jordan taking his talents to Dallas, Lob City is suddenly in bad shape.
It’s too bad, too, considering Doc Rivers made up for a horrid 2014-15 season of personel moves by landing Lance Stephenson and Paul Pierce and getting rid of Spencer Hawes.
With DJ gone to the Mavericks, though, one team gets better and the other unfortunately gets worse. Jordan was a huge part of the Clippers, even though he never even sniffed 10 points per game. He wasn’t asked to be an offensive fiend, though, as he was a monster shot-blocker, grabbed every rebound in sight and got easy buckets when called upon.
His offensive role (and possibly a spat with star point guard Chris Paul) are why he’s gone, though, and suddenly the Clips have to quicly think about replacement plans.
Nothing they do from here is going to match Jordan (certainly nothing will top him), but they’re going to have to try. After all, with Jordan they were looking at 17/1 odds to win it all next year. They came extremely close to advancing to the Western Conference Finals for the first time ever last year and with everything suddenly falling into place, the oddsmakers naturally saw them as a team that could be next year’s Golden State Warriors.
Jordan’s exit muddies things up a bit, however, and we join L.A.’s plight to solve the problem. Here are their best (realistic) options to recover from losing Jordan:
Sign Kostas Koufos, JaVael McGee or Kevin Seraphin
With no stud center on the open market anymore, the Clips could settle for a band of misfits at the position. They wouldn’t want all three of these guys, but maybe a pair could work together to help them make up for what DJ did. Koufos actually has good numbers as a starter and could be a minor downgrade, while McGee is a shot-blocking ace and Seraphin actually has an interesting offensive game. They’re solid options but none are splashy enough to keep the Clippers from sulking over losing Jordan.
Trade For Tiago Splitter
Splitter can block shots, rebound and score, but if the Spurs were constantly afraid to give him heavy minutes, everyone else should be, too. San Antonio traded him to Atlanta to free up cap room to land Lamarcus Aldridge, so it’s possible the Hawks would listen to offers. He’s another guy that would have to be part of a platoon, but he had solid success with the Spurs for years and definitely is no scrub.
Trade For Roy Hibbert
Hibbert fell out of favor after regressing over the past two years, but on the surface can get the Clippers what Jordan did. He isn’t the rebounder Jordan was/is, but he’s actually a slightly better offensive player and is an exceptional team defender that can alter and block shots. Working under Doc Rivers, he could be better than ever. He seems like the most logical fit if the Clips and Pacers can work a deal out. The marriage fits, especially since Indy has been looking for a way to part with Hibbert.
Trade For Andrew Bogut
Bogut is still a very good interior defender who blocks shots, hits the boards and can score easy buckets, but it’s possible he’s no longer a fit in Golden State. He was great for them all year and actually stayed healthy for a change, but was a complete non-factor in the NBA Finals. If the Warriors deem him expendable, they could ship him off the L.A. for future assets.
Somehow Get Enes Kanter
Kanters is currently a restricted free agent with the Oklahoma City Thunder and is simply looking for the fattest contract he can get his hands on. OKC is almost sure to match any offer, but if the Clippers come at him hard, there’s a slight possibility they could steal him. He’s a highly intelligent offensive player but absolutely needs work on the defensive end. The Clips would probably be willing to work with him, though.
Trade For Gorgui Dieng or Nikola Pekovic
This situation could be perfect, but L.A. would have to choose the right guy, which probably would end up being Dieng. The Timberwolves just drafted Karl-Anthony Towns, which opens the door big time for them to unload one or both of their current centers. Pek is a very strong inside scorer who can rebound at a decent rate, but is a total sieve on defense and is always battling nagging lower-body injuries. Dieng’s offense needs a ton of work, but is a plus glass cleaner that is also a terrific shot-blocker. He’s a poor mans DJ, but he could work out beautifully. For the rebuilding T’Wolves, it might not take a whole lot to pry away a center they really don’t have much use for.
Sign Marc Gasol
Here’s the golden ticket, as Gasol is a serious upgrade over Jordan and would be an insane coup. The problem? He’s been in heavy talks to re-sign with the Memphis Grizzlies and he’s said to not even be remotely considering other offers. The only way he’d leave is if he felt the Clippers had a better shot at winning (and with them, they just might), but this is probably just wishful thinking. On top of that, L.A. just can’t afford it, thanks to their poor roster management over the past few years. In fact, they can’t afford much of anything, which puts them in quite a pickle.
As you can see, the Clippers definitely have a lot of options, but in a grand way, they totally have none. Losing DeAndre Jordan is a massive blow to their continuity and ultimately could cripple their title chances for the 2015-16 NBA season. They’re still going to be in the mix for the NBA playoffs, but in an ultra competitive Western Conference, the room for error is razor thin. They better get working on a suitable replacement – and fast.
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