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Clippers Trade Rumors: Ricky Rubio, George Hill Discussed Ahead of Deadline

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 21, 2021

Minnesota Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio (9) dribbles in the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Thursday, March 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)
Matthew Hinton/Associated Press

The Los Angeles Clippers are reportedly looking to strengthen their depth at point guard ahead of the NBA trade deadline Thursday.

According to The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor, the Clippers reached out to the Oklahoma City Thunder about George Hill and the Minnesota Timberwolves regarding Ricky Rubio.

Los Angeles ranks 20th in assists (24.3 per game) and 23rd in assist percentage (58.0), per NBA.com.

The team doesn't necessarily need to have the most free-flowing offense since Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are effective scorers in isolation. But it's not a good sign when those two stars sit first and second on the team in assists.

The Clippers would benefit from having another veteran playmaker on the floor to take the pressure off Leonard and George in the postseason.

The New York Times' Marc Stein reported they were looking into a deal for New Orleans Pelicans star Lonzo Ball but explained how that option presents some challenges for the front office:

Marc Stein @TheSteinLine

Draft-pick limitations complicate any Clippers pursuit and would likely require a three-team (or more) construction ... but they have six days to keep working the market in search of a difference-making trade.

Likewise, Sam Amick of The Athletic reported March 10 the Clippers weighed a move for Toronto Raptors star Kyle Lowry. Not only would they have to match his $30 million salary, but they'd also have to consider what kind of extension they'd be willing to pay since he's a free agent in the offseason. 

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According to TSN's Josh Lewenberg, the Raptors "do not intend to move" Lowry, so that trade could be dead in the water.

O'Connor explained how Hill and Rubio are more attainable for L.A. 

The Thunder are rebuilding, so they don't have much use for the 34-year-old Hill, who's averaging 11.8 points and 3.1 assists while shooting 38.6 percent from beyond the arc. Along the same lines, the 10-32 Timberwolves might prefer to move on from Rubio, who's signed through 2021-22. The 30-year-old doesn't have Hill's range or offensive upside, but he's a better defender and playmaker (6.7 assists per game).

Because they have little in the way of trade assets, the Clippers probably can't swing a deal for an All-Star-caliber talent. However, something would be better than nothing as they line up their pieces for the stretch run.

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