Potential Trade Targets That Would Transform LA Clippers into Title Contenders
Despite making a statement with a convincing 102-88 win over the New York Knicks on Sunday, the Los Angeles Clippers still feel like a team that's one move away from being a true championship contender.
What's comforting is that even if the Clippers decide to deal their most talented prospect—point guard Eric Bledsoe—Vinny Del Negro will still have plenty of capable bodies in the backcourt.
However, the same cannot be said about the team's frontcourt, which is sorely lacking for offensive production at the center position.
Blake Griffin's expanded repertoire of offensive moves bodes well for the future, but if the Clippers want to compete for an NBA title right now they're going to need to make a move for a proven, veteran center.
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According to the report from Sean Deveney, "the crux of an offer for Garnett, according to sources, would be based around second-year guard Eric Bledsoe and veteran wing Caron Butler."
Considering Garnett will be 37 years old before the season concludes, the price of Bledsoe and Butler feels like a reasonable one.
However, the Celtics' recent hot streak, combined with Garnett's ability to exercise his no-trade clause, appears to have complicated any potential deal between the two teams.
In fact, according to ESPN's Marc Stein, it's looking likely that the Clippers will explore other options now that the Celtics have hit their stride:
Expect the Clippers to keep searching for trade partners if the Boston Celtics, as it increasingly appears, dial back their willingness to surrender Paul Pierce or Kevin Garnett in exchange for a package headlined by CP3 protégé Eric Bledsoe.
Despite indications that Garnett is staying put on the East Coast, it's hard to ignore just how good a fit he would be alongside Blake Griffin in the Clippers' frontcourt.
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While snagging an elite offensive center should remain the Los Angeles Clippers' main priority as the trade deadline approaches, they could use a wing who excels at shooting the basketball from beyond the arc.
As Marc Stein of ESPN has pointed out, adding another shooter is a top priority for the Clippers at the deadline:
Their need for a reliable crunch-time frontcourt partner for Blake Griffin, as well as an extra shooter to loosen things up for Griffin inside, are glaring weaknesses that the grind of the postseason is bound to expose.
If the price were right, adding a shooter of Redick's caliber would be a no-brainer. Not only is Redick shooting 45.2 percent from the field and 39.9 percent from deep, but he's improved immensely as a defender.
With neither Caron Butler, Matt Barnes or Grant Hill posing a significant threat to hurt opponents from beyond the arc, adding Redick could be a great move for the Clippers in the short term.
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Toronto Raptors forward Andrea Bargnani doesn't have a reputation as a particularly stingy or willing defender, but his offensive game fits the description of what the Los Angeles Clippers are looking to add at the deadline.
With the Clippers looking to deal for a big who's capable of stretching the floor, Bargnani would appear to be a practical option.
And while the Clippers would presumably have a hard time convincing the Raptors to accept a trade revolving around Eric Bledsoe (with Kyle Lowry already in house), Raptors general manager Bryan Colangelo has already made it clear he will try to move Bargnani at the deadline (via Eric Koreen of the National Post):
Colangelo told NBA TV he's shopping Andrea Bargnani. Has talked with agent about moving him, but won't just trade him to trade him.
— Eric Koreen (@ekoreen) January 31, 2013
Bargnani's arrival wouldn't exactly be met with heaps of praise from fans, but his talent is undeniable. Perhaps a change of scenery is all he needs.
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One of two significant expiring contracts in the Utah Jazz's possession, Paul Millsap stands out as an immensely talented big who could help the Los Angeles Clippers in their quest for an NBA title.
Millsap's highly adept at both posting up and knocking down mid-range jumpers, and for a guy with a 253-pound frame, that's quite impressive.
While no significant rumors involving Millsap have emerged to this point, Ric Bucher reports that the Jazz now appear to be warming up to the idea of dealing him (h/t Sulia.com).
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Of the centers who can be had at the trade deadline this February, there is perhaps none more talented or coveted by teams than Utah's Al Jefferson.
And while the San Antonio Spurs are reportedly (via SheridanHoops) the frontrunners to acquire Jefferson's services, it feels like there's potential for a deal to materialize between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Jazz.
The Jazz don't have much reliable depth at point guard (sorry Jamaal Tinsley, Earl Watson and Mo Williams), and Eric Bledsoe could be a game-changer for Ty Corbin's bunch.
Given the reported package that Utah could be in the market to acquire from San Antonio, perhaps the Clippers will be able to piece together a deal that is just as appealing to the Jazz.