Los Angeles’ remaining schedule is foreboding, as HoopsWorld’s Steve Kyler recently pointed out on his Twitter account:
LA Clippers (33-13)... Games remaining: 36 (16 Home, 20 Away)... vs. +.500: 17, vs. West: 20— Steve Kyler (@stevekylerNBA) January 30, 2013
Still, the Clippers are one of the best teams in the Western Conference, and with the Lakers still floundering and the Grizzlies adjusting to life after Rudy Gay, the Clippers have a solid chance of securing a top-three seed in the playoffs.
With the February 21 trade deadline fast approaching, now is the time NBA teams are actively weighing their options and exploring ways to get better. Los Angeles has an exceptionally talented roster, but it will have to keep all options open if the Clippers are to make a strong second-half push.
Rumors are rampant this time of year, and the rumor mill will be especially busy churning out speculation and hearsay for the next couple of weeks. We’ll explore that trade talk and keep you updated on the latest rumors involving the Clippers with the trade deadline fast approaching.
UPDATE: Wednesday, Feb. 20, at 7:36 p.m. ET by Dan Talintyre
Los Angeles Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro was quoted via Arash Markazi of ESPN LosAngeles.com (h/t Hoopsworld.com) that his team are unlikely to make a trade before the deadline.
The Los Angeles Clippers do not expect to make any deals before Thursday’s NBA trade deadline, coach Vinny Del Negro said Wednesday.
“We feel good with our team right now,” Del Negro said. “Nothing’s changed from that aspect. Nothing has been presented to any of us that makes sense to do anything different right now. We’re always available and always looking to make our team as strong as possible, but right now we feel comfortable with our team.”
Del Negro said he has been in constant communication with Clippers vice president of basketball operations Gary Sacks, and the team is not seriously pursuing any trades at the moment. “We talk every day,” Del Negro said of Sacks. “There hasn’t been anything where either one of us has said that makes sense. We’re just sitting back and we’re happy with our team. We’re always looking to improve, there’s no question about that, but there’s been nothing that Gary has brought me that I feel or he feels comfortable doing at all and there really hasn’t been anything.”
NBA.com writer David Aldridge also commented on the lack of deals to be done by the Clippers over the remaining hours of the trade deadline period.
Told Clippers are very likely to stick with what they have going forward and not be involved in any deals, significant or otherwise.
— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) February 20, 2013
---End of update---
So much of making deals in the NBA is posturing and misinformation. It appears there is plenty of that going around on the part of the Clippers.
While the move could make sense for all parties involved, the pieces would have to be perfect, and even then there’s no guarantee Garnett would be willing to waive his no-trade clause to move to Los Angeles.
The other half of the puzzle is how willing the Clippers front office is to deal Eric Bledsoe as part of the deal. With Chris Paul on the shelf and Chauncey Billups out of action since December 3, Bledsoe is Los Angeles’ only option to run the point for the time being.
The Clippers have a tough road ahead, and it’s only going to get tougher with Paul nursing a knee injury. Bledsoe is their only real option to stop the bleeding at the point guard position.
UPDATE: Tuesday, Feb. 19, at 10:51 p.m. ET by Dan Talintyre
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports that the Clippers have backed off in trade talks for Kevin Garnett, which was rumored to have included both Eric Bledsoe and DeAndre Jordan.
For now, the Los Angeles Clippers have terminated talks with the Boston Celtics on a Kevin Garnett forEric Bledsoe and DeAndre Jordan trade, league sources told Yahoo! Sports. The Celtics have been eager to continue the conversation on the deal, but league sources said the talks will remain dormant unless Clippers star Chris Paul pushes the issue with management.
Several prominent executives and coaches with championship contenders told Yahoo! Sports they believe the Clippers would become more dangerous with Garnett.Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro is a proponent of the deal, too, sources said.
---End of update---
As is often the case, the rumor involving Kevin Garnett and the Clippers seems to be a “he said, he said” matter. According to Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times, league sources have disputed the notion of a possible move for Garnett, claiming “the Clippers front office has not had any conversations” with the Celtics regarding such a deal.
Garnett has a no-trade clause in his contract, and even if he did want to go to Los Angeles in a trade, it’s unlikely the Clippers would be willing to give up enough young talent in return. As Turner points out, Eric Bledsoe is the team’s starting point guard with Chris Paul on the shelf, so any talk of Bledsoe being moved in a deal for Garnett seems a little far-fetched.
Los Angeles may be looking to improve for a second-half push, but don’t expect the Clippers to give up ultra-valuable pieces to do so. With a firm hold on one of the higher seeds in the West, the only moves Los Angeles makes will be less risky ventures.
Kevin Garnett’s no-trade clause will prevent an easy deal to be made to acquire his services. While talk of a move to the Clippers was rumored and subsequently squashed, this tweet from Shaun Powell offers a little insight that may leave the door to the rumor mill swinging open:
Told Kevin Garnett will not waive no trade unless Pierce is dealt, and then only to LA. Lives in Malibu.— Shaun Powell (@Powell2daPeople) February 4, 2013
Paired with the fact that Rajon Rondo is out for the year with a torn ACL and rumors of a potential Paul Pierce deal have been mentioned before, there does seem to be an outside chance the Celtics could make a huge splash at some point before the deadline.
Despite the denials, Los Angeles would be a good landing spot for the star forward. The Clippers have a chance to make a deep run in the playoffs this year, and while the prospect of leaving the Celtics can’t be particularly pleasing, there is some merit to the thought that he could leave Boston should Pierce be dealt first.
For now this rumor is just hearsay, but trades often develop quickly in the NBA—at least from a public perception. NBA front offices are always talking and keeping the door open for the right deal.