History may be repeating itself with the Los Angeles Clippers.
A year ago, the Clippers shipped Chris Paul to the Rockets after the Point God himself informed them he'd be signing with Houston in free agency if they didn't. The move was kind of straightforward; the Clippers got guys Houston would have to trade to sign Paul, while L.A. got a couple interesting young pieces.
Marc Stein of the New York Times reported center DeAndre Jordan is considering opting into the final year of his contract, with the goal of facilitating a trade. The Dallas Mavericks were specifically mentioned as a potential partner, which creates an interesting full-circle wrinkle. Jordan famously backed out of a verbal agreement to sign with Dallas three years ago.
The Clippers seem to be operating under the assumption Jordan will not be back. They agreed to trade Austin Rivers to the Washington Wizards in exchange for Marcin Gortat on Tuesday.
There's no reason to make that deal unless the Clips are planning to start Gortat at center. Rivers has become a serviceable guard off the bench, while the 6'11" Gortat is essentially just tall at this point in his career. He has his moments, but the days of him being an even average NBA center are over.
The Mavericks, should they be the suitor, could offer up an instant Rivers replacement. Wesley Matthews is also heading into the final year of his contract and is eating up a ton of cap room that Dallas would like to use on free agents. Dallas also just traded a draft pick to move up to select Luka Doncic, who will likely at least begin his career as a 2.
It's unclear if a trade will happen, but the basic shell of one could be made.
The Milwaukee Bucks also envision themselves as players in the free-agent market. Ian Begley of ESPN.com reported Milwaukee is considered a potential suitor for Enes Kanter, should he opt out of the final year of his contract with the New York Knicks. The Bucks could open up some room by renouncing the likes of Jabari Parker but appear to have a different plan in mind.
Bucks beat writer Gery Woelfel reported Milwaukee shopped around Eric Bledsoe around the draft. The Bucks gave up a first-rounder that could become unprotected in 2021 in exchange for Bledsoe. Giving up on him now would be a signal the Bucks are unhappy with that move.