Los Angeles Clippers: 4 Possible Replacements for Chauncey Billups
In losing Billups for the rest of the season, the Clippers lost not only their starting shooting guard, but their best clutch player, too. Luckily for the Clippers, Chris Paul is very efficient in the clutch.
Billups' intangibles will be very tough to replace, but his skill set is easily replaceable. The Clippers can find a player with similar skills via trade or free agency
Regardless of which avenue the Clippers take, expect them to play close to the same level they were playing at prior to Billups' injury.
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The Clippers have a great trading piece in Eric Bledsoe. He has been lost in the shuffle since Chris Paul has taken over the reins as the starting point guard.
Bledsoe does not have much value to the Clippers anymore because of their depth at point guard—even with the injury to Billups.
Bledsoe would be a great addition to a couple of teams in the NBA who are desperate for a starting point guard, or teams who need more depth at the position.
The Milwaukee Bucks need another point guard behind Brandon Jennings because Beno Udrih and Shaun Livingston might not be enough for them.
According to ESPN, Stephen Jackson is unsure of his role in Milwaukee. To avoid the headache Jackson could create, the Bucks should trade him to the Clippers for Bledsoe—a deal the Clippers would surely make.
Jackson will be a great defensive asset, especially against Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant. Jackson is also a great scorer and will be able to fill Billups' void quite easily.
There have been no Bledsoe-for-Jackson rumors yet, but that move makes real sense.
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Before the season started, the Houston Rockets were trying to move Kevin Martin.
The Clippers should investigate whether the Rockets are still willing to move Martin because he would be more than capable of taking over the shooting guard position for the Clippers.
Eric Bledsoe alone may not be enough to lure Martin to LA, but a decent package with Bledsoe as the centerpiece may be able to do it.
With Chris Paul running the offense, Martin would get plenty of open looks. Martin has the talent to shoot the lights out on any given night—sort of like Chauncey Billups, but better. Martin does not possess the intangibles of Billups, but he makes up for it in talent.
Currently, there are no rumored trade talks between the Rockets and Clippers, but expect the Clippers to be looking around for a trade soon.
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Recent reports from the New York Daily News say that trade talks are dead between the Grizzlies and Nets, however.
Based on this report, it seems as if the Grizzlies are looking for added depth at the point guard position. As I discussed earlier, the Clippers are very deep at point guard and would likely be willing to part with Eric Bledsoe if the right offer came along.
Enter O.J. Mayo.
Mayo would be a great addition to the Clippers because of his ability to create his own shots and score, similar to what Billups was able to do.
Mayo would love this move because it would mean that he would return home to Los Angeles where he played in college for USC.
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The Los Angeles Lakers are desperate for a point guard, and the Clippers need to fill the void left by Chauncey Billups.
An Eric Bledsoe-Matt Barnes trade would make perfect sense for both teams, although it is likely that the Lakers would have to give up a bit more to make it work.
Barnes may not be as talented as the other players mentioned in this slideshow, but he is a great defender and a decent shooter. Barnes would also bring toughness and grit to the Clippers' starting lineup, something they will miss with Billups gone.
Currently, there have been no rumored trade talks between the teams.
While it may be crazy to think a trade between the Lakers and Clippers would actually occur—especially with their newborn rivalry—it is a tantalizing possibility.
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Disclaimer: This would not be a trade. The Clippers would sign J.R. Smith as a free agent when he comes back from China in March.
Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times has reported that the Clippers will attempt to sign Smith when he is able to play again in the NBA. This report came out prior to the Billups injury, but there is no reason to believe that anything has changed since.
The only difference now is what position Smith might play. According to the LA Times article, the Clippers were hoping to bring in Smith as a backup small forward for scoring purposes. They obviously now need him as a starting shooting guard.
Smith will likely be a Clipper as soon as his team in China finishes its season. This will be a good move for the Clippers because Smith would be able to score at will, especially with so much of teams' defensive attention on Chris Paul and Blake Griffin.
Nevertheless, the Clippers could make any one of the foregoing trades, and, with the exception of Matt Barnes, any of those moves would benefit LA much more than signing Smith.
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