The Los Angeles Clippers have been somewhat of an enigmatic figure around the Association this season. They currently sit at 26-15 with the NBA trade deadline approaching.
It has led to rumors that Los Angeles might be looking to pull off a trade before the deadline comes and goes. The issue here is that these Clippers don’t have much assets to work with after the blockbuster Paul George trade ahead of the 2019-20 season. That’s not going to stop the team from looking to upgrade in the backcourt.
According to Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated, the Los Angeles Clippers have “strong internal” interest in Charlotte Hornets star guard Terry Rozier.
The report also notes that they are in on Minnesota Timberwolves veteran Ricky Rubio and George Hill of the Oklahoma City Thunder. However a move for Rozier would move the needle much more.
Do the Los Angeles Clippers have the assets to pull off a Terry Rozier trade?
This is the biggest question right now. First off, Charlotte finds itself at 20-18 on the season and tied for the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference. It has been playing stellar ball, winning eight of the past 12.
Secondly, Rozier would in no way come close to being a cheap add ahead of the trade deadline. The 26-year-old guard is averaging 20.4 points on a stellar 48% shooting from the field. That includes a 43% mark from distance.
Any team attempting to pry Rozier away from the Hornets would have to provide both young talent and a player who can help during a likely playoff push as the season progresses.
The Clippers are not in a great position to do that. They owe their 2022, 2024 and 2026 first-round picks to the Thunder stemming from the above-mentioned Paul George trade. NBA rules prohibit teams from trading first-round picks in consecutive years without acquiring one back. They do have nine second-round picks from 2022-26, but that’s not going to move the needle too much here.
What we do know is that Rozier would be an immediate upgrade for the Los Angeles Clippers. Patrick Beverley is currently sidelined to injury. Fellow veteran guard Lou Williams was on the trade block at the start of the season. He’s also in the midst of a down campaign. This begs one major question.
How could the Los Angeles Clippers pull off a Terry Rozier trade?
It’s seemingly pretty simple when looking further into the situation. Get a third team involved. Charlotte is said to be interested in Orlando Magic star center Nikola Vucevic. Meanwhile, the Magic have apparently made the All-Star available.
For the Hornets, this could make sense. They have star rookie LaMelo Ball, Devonte’ Graham and big-time free-agent acquisition Gordon Hayward out on the perimeter. Charlotte needs an upgrade inside. Adding Vucevic to the mix for a package including Rozier heading to Los Angeles could make sense. Below, is one hypothetical that might work out for all three teams.
- Clippers get: Terry Rozier, Malik Monk
- Hornets get: Nikola Vucevic, Lou Williams, Marcus Morris
- Magic get: Cody Zeller, Miles Bridges, Terance Mann, Vernon Carey Jr., two first-round picks from Hornets, three second-round picks from Clippers
Get all of that? It seems rather convoluted. But it really isn’t. Charlotte would be moving a solid youngster in Bridges as well as two future first-round picks and cap fillers to acquire one of the most-skilled centers in the NBA today.
Orlando nets five draft picks and a solid wing in Bridges to rebuild with moving forward. Carey Jr. also offers some upside inside after the rookie performed well during his college career with Duke.
As for the Clippers, they net a tremendous asset in Rozier to improve what has been a lackluster backcourt. They do so by only yielding two rotational players, Lou Williams and Marcus Morris, as well as three second-round picks. This could be a win-win for all three teams.
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