Trade Deadline 2023: LA Clippers Mock Deadline

  • GM: Yossi Gozlan, @yossigozlan

    Salary Cap: $191,952,781

    Luxury Tax: -$41,685,781

    GOAL: If possible, reduce the luxury tax bill. But Ballmer has never saved money at the expense of winning, so gauge the market and be willing to take on additional money if it will improve championship odds


    There’s a lot of mid-tier salaries on your roster, which gives flexibility to even shave some money, or to salary match to get another guy

    Gauge market for Luke Kennard, Amir Coffey, & Robert Covington, among others

    Utilize relatively large TPE

    Get an upgrade at playmaker and try to find a backup big man

    Would they take a swing on Lonzo Ball with his health concerns?

    Players to Dangle

    Luke Kennard (3/$45.2 with TO in 2024-25)

    o   Salary: $14,415,545

    o   Can salary match up to $18,119,431 in a deal

    Robert Covington (2/$24)

    o   Salary: $12,307,692

    o   Can salary match up to $15,484,615 in a deal

    Reggie Jackson (1/$11.2)

    o   Salary: $11,215,260

    o   Can salary match up to $14,119,075

    John Wall (2/$13.3)

    o   Salary: $6,479,000

    o   Can match up to $8,198,750

    Amir Coffey (3/$11)

    o   Salary: $3,395,062

    o   Can salary match up to $4,343,827

    Trade Targets

    Would John Collins or Bogdan Bogdanovic make sense?

    o   Robert Covington & Coffey for John Collins & Justin Holiday would save Atlanta substantial money
    o   Kennard for Bogdan works financially, but doesnt make much sense for Atlanta unless they really want shooting
    o   Reggie Jackson + Coffey works for Bogdan, but could Bogdan be the full-time lead facilitator for Clippers?

    Can acquire shooting from Brooklyn between Joe Harris, Seth Curry, & Patty Mills… but Clippers are willing to move Kennard so shooting doesn’t appear to be their issue

    o   Already have loads of wing depth and none of those guys are playmakers

    Gordon Hayward could fit, but do they want another oft injured guy?

    o   Secondary playmaker and ball handler, which Clippers sorely lack
    o   Can condense some of their wing depth
    o   Money is never a factor for them, so they won’t mind eating his deal
    o   We see all the time that a team will break up a larger, “untradeable” contract into two smaller contracts, as the two smaller contracts are easier to move, Covington and and Kennard may each have more value on trade market individually than Hayward does

    Terry Rozier is the absolute DREAM scenario, but he would likely require assets that the Clippers don’t have

    o   Clippers can offer either a 2028 1st or 2029 1st, is Kennard + Coffey + one of those firsts lightly protected enough to grab Rozier?
    o   If Charlotte wants to retain Miles Bridges and bring back PJ Washington, they’re going to get expensive quick with LaMelo due his rookie extension, would the $56 million in savings appeal to Charlotte?

    Kelly Oubre works financially, but doesnt make a ton of sense…. Could the Clippers snag PJ Washington as their bench big man?

    My (real, not Rozier) absolute dream scenario for the Clippers is Lonzo Ball

    o   Who knows what’s going on with his knee, does he even play this year, let alone ever again?
    o   Perfect fit for Clippers, but if they’re pursuing a championship this year, would they take on a guy who likely is out for the season?
    o   Reminder: Bulls have access to Lonzo’s medicals and health info, so they’ll be the ones to assess if they should just cut their losses or not
    o   Covington + Coffey works financially, would Bulls be able to get better?
    o   Neither RoCo or Coffey are in Clippers rotation, so this is a long term play that cuts into their depth, but does not immediately impact their title chances

    Ish Smith fits into their TPE and he’s a ball handler…. Helps Denver shed salary against the tax

    Alec Burks, Cory Joseph, & Nerlens Noel

    o   Nerlens fits into their TPE and he addresses the backup center position behind Zubac
    o   Burks is similar to Bogi and Hayward in aspect of he’s a secondary ball handler with some creation abilities
    o   Detroit would probably want Reggie Jackson back in a deal for Burks & Noel because it won’t eat into their cap space this summer, but Clips still need the primary ball handler
    o   Would Detroit take Covington with an asset attached with the intention of flipping him at some point before free agency opens up?

    Myles Turner

    o   It’s starting to look like Indiana is going to keep him, but it’s been reported that the Clippers have had interest in the past, so we’ll keep an eye out

    TJ McConnell

    o   He isn’t a world beater, but he’s an adequate backup point guard. Can go one of two routes in a trade for him:
    o   McConnell for a second round pick or two (not sure how to appropriately value him?)
    o   McConnell + Theis for one of the plethora of wings the Clippers have, Indiana desperately needs one
    o   Gets off Theis’ money for next year, and Clippers don’t mind paying extra money to compete, and when healthy, Theis can also settle in as Zubac’s backup as well

    Patrick Beverley

    o   These two teams never trade with each other (Ivica Zubac-Mike Muscala swap aside), but a Beverly reunion for the Clippers could seem feasible for one of the Clippers wings
    o   Kennard or Covington would do wonders for the Lakers, though both options would eat into the Lakers $33 million in cap space next year

    Xavier Tillman

    o   Ideal backup big for Zubac, but what assets will it cost? Would they trade him for Coffey?

    Can take Dewayne Dedmon into your TPE and it clears money for the Heat to have breathing room under the tax and potentially sign Orlando Robinson to a standard deal

    George Hill fits into TPE

    Minnesota is devoid of playmakers themselves, but if Minnesota doesn’t feel comfortable paying Jaylen Nowell this summer, would they move him?

    Screw it, would Minnesota trade the Clippers D’Angelo Russell?

    o   Luke Kennard, Norm Powell/Kennard, Coffey for D Lo?

    Willy Hernangomez fits into TPE

    Derrick Rose? NYK probably wouldn’t want to take on any long term money in a deal for him, but he’s a possibility

    Would Clippers give a first for Immanuel Quickley?

    Mo Bamba is another big man possibility, but Clippers would eat into Orlando’s cap space this summer unless they gave up one of their point guards… maybe loop in a third team to give an expiring to Orlando for Bamba with an asset(s) coming from the Clippers?

    RJ Hampton another Clippers possibility

    Richaun Holmes may be my favorite backup big target for the Clippers. He’s fallen out of favor in Sacramento. Maybe they’d take on Kennard or Covington for him. Clippers potentially take on more long term money in Holmes, but shed a couple million in the interim and fill a glaring hole in their roster

    Covington also gives the Kings some Harrison Barnes insurance in the event they don’t extend him and he walks this summer in free agency

    Jakob Poeltl: Clippers would have to pay a substantial price to trade for a guy who can walk in free agency after this summer, but he’d be such a nice piece for them

    o   Gorgui Dieng & Zach Collins also decent back up bigs for the Clippers

    Chris Boucher: Toronto needs big men themselves, but if they decide to become sellers at the deadline, Boucher can fit nicely almost anywhere as a 3&D big. Again, Clippers don’t mind taking on money, so the 3/$35 shouldn’t bother them too much

    o   Covington also fits what the Clippers do defensively and roster build-wise, if he’s the odd man out in a Boucher swap

    Mike Conley: $14.3 million guaranteed next year or $24.4 million if he sticks on the roster. Clippers wallets are bottomless, but they would need to be sure this is a move that would help them get into title contention with a healthy roster

    Assets Owned

    • TPE: $9,720,900
    2023 1st (OKC has swap rights)
    2025 1st (OKC has swap rights)
    2027 1st (unable to trade due to Stepien Rule)
    2028 1st
    2029 1st
    2023 2nd
    2024 2nd
    2025 2nd
    2026 2nd
    2028 2nd
    2029 2nd


    Mock Trades to Date (Feb 2 Deadline)


    The Clippers shock the world!


    The Clippers receive: Tim Hardaway Jr.,  Davis Bertans, TyTy Washington, JaVale McGee, Jae’Sean Tate, Alperen Sengun, 2023 MIA 1st, 2024 BKN 1st, 2026 BKN 1st, 2028 HOU 1st (top-10 protected), 2024 BKN 2nd round pick, 2024 GSW 2nd round pick, 2023 first round pick swap with Milwaukee’s first round pick

    The Rockets receive: Kawhi Leonard, Jason Preston, Udonis Haslem, BJ Boston, and cash considerations

    The Heat receive: Eric Gordon and Boban Marjanovic

    The Mavericks receive: Norman Powell, Reggie Jackson, Duncan Robinson, and Dewayne Dedmon


    We have a winner for the “which trade we’ve completed that’s least likely to happen in real life” award! I don’t believe either the Rockets or Clippers would do this deal in real life, but this is still an intriguing one. Kawhi Leonard is a tough evaluation for a trade candidate because he’s starting to play like his old self the last couple of weeks after looking like a shell of it earlier in the season. But despite their .500 record, the Clippers still have their eyes set on a championship. I had both the Clippers GM, Yossi Gozlan, as well as the Rockets GM, Cooper Klein on the Bird Rights Podcast to justify their sides of it. For the Clippers, Kawhi Leonard’s knee issues are concerning, and they were able to get a ransom of a package back for him. Additionally, the Clippers saved around $50 million on their luxury tax bill by completing this trade. Steve Ballmer is the richest owner in the sport and I’ve been on record saying going deep into the luxury tax is the biggest competitive advantage in sports, but the Clippers were still mindful of their tax bill. Before it’s all said and done, it’s possible the Clippers trade Paul George too. However, in reality, the Clippers do not control their own draft pick until 2027, so blowing it to that extent is seen as extremely unlikely.

    For the Rockets, their goal is simple: lure James Harden back to Houston. With Kawhi Leonard in town, a reunion with Houston would seem a lot more appealing to The Beard and if healthy, the Rockets could become immediate contenders. The Rockets would have ample cap space to bring Harden in, and suddenly a core of Kawhi-Harden-Jalen Green-Jabari Smith-Kevin Porter Jr., in addition to this year’s lottery pick, becomes one of the more intriguing cores in the league.

    For the Heat, they basically turn Duncan Robinson and their 2023 first into Eric Gordon and Boban. Gordon is on an expiring deal essentially (non guaranteed deal in 2023-24), and with Tyler Herro and Jimmy Butler’s extensions kicking in, the Heat will be in cap hell going forward after this year. Getting rid of Robinson’s contract would’ve taken a first round pick on its own, so the fact that Miami was able to get a high-level rotation player and get off Robinson’s deal all with one first is great management. 

    For Dallas, they took on Robinson’s money but got off the remaining years for Bertans, Tim Hardaway Jr., and McGee. They also finally acquired the third ball-handler their system needs since losing Jalen Brunson with Reggie Jackson, and Norman Powell would be a far superior sixth-man than Hardaway was. The Mavericks got significantly better in this deal, and all they gave up was Hardaway, Bertans, and McGee. Excellent business by Miami and Dallas to jump in on a very large deal and both accomplish things they wanted to accomplish with minimal assets. 

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x