For the third year in a row, the Clippers appear destined for a middling seed in the Western Conference. If recent history tells us anything, this will not lead to a deep run in the playoffs.
Despite many years of futility, Los Angeles is no longer satisfied with reaching the postseason. The squad is looking for a championship and should be willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish that goal.
This includes making a number of potential trades before the deadline to either bring in talent or get rid of dead weight. Any deal that could help secure more wins in the postseason will be considered.
Many of these moves are already in motion, so here is a look at the latest buzz from around the league concerning the Clippers.
ESPN's Marc Stein is reporting that despite Iman Shumpert's recent injury, the Clippers are still interested in dealing for the Knicks' guard:
Shumpert's injury only expected to sideline him roughly seven to 10 days, so Clips taking renewed look at whether to go ahead with deal— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) February 20, 2014
Knicks & Clippers, I'm told, have re-ignited serious discussions late this afternoon on deal headlined Shumpert/Collison. Talks as we speak— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) February 20, 2014
But as the clock struck 3 PM ET, no deal had been made according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports:
No deal for the Clippers and Knicks.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) February 20, 2014
But sources told ESPN.com on Wednesday night that the talks had been tabled until Thursday, which is deadline day in the NBA. The league's annual trade buzzer sounds at 3 p.m.
Yet sources close to the situation told ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard late Wednesday that the Knicks were still hopeful of re-engaging with the Clippers before the deadline to try to push the trade through.
While the Clippers are looking to add talent to the roster, the Philadelphia 76ers seem willing to get rid of anyone who is not a rookie. At 15-34, the goal seems to be lose enough games to secure a top seed in the upcoming draft.
As a result, Evan Turner is available and Los Angeles is one of the teams interested, according to Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio:
Philadelphia has "stepped up" efforts to trade swingman Evan Turner, according to a report by SportingNews.com. As FOX Sports Ohio reported early in the season, the 76ers are also very open to moving forward Thaddeus Young and center Spencer Hawes. The Suns, Los Angeles Clippers and Atlanta Hawks are all especially intrigued, according to FSO sources.
Obviously the competition will be high for Turner's services. Amico also notes that the Washington Wizards could get involved to join the Phoenix Suns and Atlanta Hawks. Evan Massey of Yahoo! reports the Charlotte Bobcats are also in the race:
However, the wing is in the midst of a breakout year for his struggling squad. He has improved his scoring in each of his four seasons in the league and is now averaging 17.9 points per game. He is also averaging six rebounds and 3.8 assists per game to showcase his all-around ability.
The biggest difference from the past is Turner's aggressiveness on the court. With little talent around him, he is able to be a go-to player in the offense and he is more willing to take shots.
Unfortunately, this will not necessarily be available with the Clippers with so many other scoring options. Additionally, the squad is loaded with wings and filling the roles might be tough to come by.
That being said, the squad might be smart to add some depth with Spencer Hawes and Thaddeus Young. Either one would be a better fit on the Clippers and will likely cost less on the trade market.
One area that Los Angeles has plenty of depth is at small forward. As a result, the squad is now trying to clear up space so it can add other positions.
According to ESPN's Marc Stein, this is not good news for Jared Dudley:
Trade rumble: Clippers "itchy" to make a deal and Jared Dudley, with PT harder to come by and logjam at wing spots, is unexpectedly in play— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) February 5, 2014
Dudley only just arrived from PHX via J.J. Redick sign-and-trade in summer but hearing now he could be on move before Feb. 20 trade buzzer— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) February 5, 2014
Dudley has been solid this season when he actually gets playing time, averaging 7.9 points in 26.9 minutes per game while playing solid defense. However, the fact that he averaged double figures in each of his last three years with the Suns shows that he is almost being wasted.
The Clippers have Jamal Crawford, J.J. Redick, Matt Barnes and others capable of playing either the 2 or 3, which are Dudley's primary positions. Things got even more crowded with the addition of Sasha Vujacic on a 10-day contract, according to Arash Markazi of ESPN.
Getting rid of Dudley would clear up roster space and possibly bring in pieces that could help in other areas. At the very least, it would give the Clippers more tools to make another trade to improve the roster this year.
Over the next couple of weeks, everyone will try to do their best to get into the mind of Carmelo Anthony. The New York Knicks star is set to become a free agent this offseason, and the team will obviously want to re-sign him.
However, Anthony explained his position back in October in an interview with Rafi Kohan of the New York Observer:
I want to be a free agent. I think everybody in the NBA dreams to be a free agent at least one time in their career. It’s like you have an evaluation period, you know. It’s like if I’m in the gym and I have all the coaches, all the owners, all the GMs come into the gym and just evaluate everything I do. So yes, I want that experience.
This does not mean he is sold on leaving New York, but he is certainly considering it. The Knicks could risk losing their best player for nothing, which is even worse with the 19-29 record as of Feb. 5.
As a result, the squad might try to make a trade with a contender to at least get something in return. According to Jared Zwerling of Bleacher Report, a potential deal with the Chicago Bulls does not seem likely:
From an NBA agent close to the Knicks, Anthony is "too Hollywood" to play in Chi-Town. "He wants to play in New York or Los Angeles," the agent said. And a source close to Anthony said that "he likes the big market" for hoops and lifestyle. And Friedell said the Bulls wouldn't trade Noah, Taj Gibson, much-coveted 2011 draft pick Nikola Mirotic and picks to the Knicks.
Zwerling mentions Los Angeles as a potential landing spot, and Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal Times agrees:
The problem is that Blake Griffin could end up being part of a potential deal, breaking apart the dream trio. Los Angeles will have to somehow find a way to bring in the All-Star without giving up one in return.