With just two days until the Feb. 6 NBA trade deadline, the Los Angeles Lakers still have a glaring hole on the wing, which has hurt them in key matchups with teams like the LA Clippers, arguably their biggest competition in the Western Conference. While it’s unclear if the Lakers plan on addressing that issue before the deadline, the Clippers intend on stocking up just in case.
According to a report by Marc Stein of the New York Times earlier this month, the Clippers are exploring trades that will help them get size in the frontcourt — both on the wing and near the basket — with the hope that it will make them better equipped for a potential playoff series with their cross-hall rivals:
Doesn't guarantee that they'll make a deal, of course, but the Clippers are said to be concerned about their lack of muscle up front compared to the Lakers' length as well as the ongoing health issues Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are battling— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) January 23, 2020
Then, on Sunday, Stein reiterated his report with some additional context on how teams across the league expect the trade deadline to play out for the Clippers:
And, as noted here Jan. 23, lots of rival teams are anticipating at least one trade this week from the Clippers, who have been pursuing a big and a wing even after their home-run summer acquisitions of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George https://t.co/T8tBLCIBa2— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) February 3, 2020
Finally, the latest update on the Clippers’ thinking came via Zach Lowe of ESPN, who on Monday outlined what a deal could look like for them:
The Clippers are looking, sources say, and have more to work with: Maurice Harkless’ expiring deal, some handy filler salary, and their 2020 first-round pick — the last pick they can trade for eons.
They could use a bit of help in a few places: ballhandling, another tweener forward to absorb some of the Harkless/JaMychal Green/Patrick Patterson minutes, maybe some rebounding. They won’t find all those things in one player, so they’ll have to choose.
The problem has been finding anyone worth that package. Sources say the Knicks seem hell-bent on keeping Marcus Morris Sr. — someone the Clippers coveted in free agency.
That package might not be enough to snag Covington — as good a bet as any high-wattage player to move this week, sources say.
It’s worth noting that Lowe’s colleague at ESPN, Adrian Wojnarowski, reported that the New York Knicks have made Marcus Morris available to other teams in trade talks after they fired their general manager Steve Mills on Monday. It’s also worthing noting that the Knicks had a General Mills in their front office for years, and that’s objectively hilarious.
The irony in all of this is that the reason the Clippers are 2-0 in their season series against the Lakers is because of their size on the wing. However, if they feel like they can strengthen their depth on the wring using their 2020 first-round pick, then they should obviously see what’s out there.
The most relevant bit of information is them seeking more size up front, because the Lakers did have a ton of success backing the Clippers’ bigs down in the post in their first matchup. If the Clippers can solve that problem, they become an even tougher matchup for the Lakers.
For the Lakers’ sake, let’s hope the deals the Clippers kick tires on don’t amount to anything, and that the Lakers have a successful trade deadline.