The latest Lakers rumors could mean that a trade with the Clippers is on the horizon.
While it wouldn’t include Lonzo Ball going to the Clippers, the Lakers can still make major headway if the other team from Los Angeles buys in. Right now, the Clippers have a nine game losing streak hanging over their head and they’ve only won one of their last 12 games overall.
Doc Rivers could also very well be on the hot seat as a result. And if they’re willing to get rid of Rivers, they could very well be open to cleaning house at least a little bit via trade.
What this means for the Lakers is two fold. First off, it’s an opportunity to offer the Luol Deng contract with an additional member of the Lakers being sent to the Clippers to help them focus on going young and rebuilding.
If the Clippers really want Blake Griffin to be their leader for the foreseeable future, then having a guard who is a leader won’t really be necessary. While Chris Paul was in Los Angeles, he took a lot of the leadership responsibilities, and the Clippers power forward is still trying to adjust to his new role.
With that in mind, two tradable pieces of the Clippers if they were to move forward from Doc Rivers would be Austin Rivers and Patrick Beverley. Beverley is a great defensive presence, but again eventually he will be the guy to try and take over if the ship continues to sink and that may interfere with how the front office wants Blake Griffin to be.
In any case, here’s a look at what the Lakers would offer in addition to Luol Deng and why the Clippers would say yes
Josh Hart is the perfect commodity
There’s nothing harder sometimes than trading a player with promise, but in this situation that’s what the Lakers could do in order to acquire some much-needed guard talent and depth. Los Angeles could pair him with Luol Deng and give him a fresh start as a member of the Clippers.
Hart hasn’t gotten a lot of minutes with the Lakers, but getting a chance with the Clippers would be best for both sides. The rookie from Villanova would be able to use this change of scenery to try and establish himself as a legitimate threat and perhaps even thrive in a starting role.
It would allow the Lakers to acquire guards that they would want to keep in the long-term, especially if they land a superstar or two over the summer.
The Lakers have a young core with tons of potential, and unfortunately, as talented as Hart was in college and even with the promise he has as a pro, he’s the odd man out. Los Angeles could think about inserting Jordan Clarkson into the deal, but that would just be the wrong move for the Lakers.
Contrary to Hart, Clarkson has shown that he’s worth being a central part of this team, and he has dominating scoring wise for the team off of the bench and hasn’t let his foot off the brakes. Hart hasn’t done enough to stand out like Lonzo Ball or Kyle Kuzma, so again, he’s the odd man out.
He’s also a player that the Clippers should want if they do, in fact, do an overhaul.
Why the Clippers would say yes
At first you might think that this trade opportunity is a bit of a stretch for both teams. First, because of the fact that nobody in their right mind — so you would think — would want that horrendous Deng contract. Second, the Lakers have a solid shooting guard in Jordan Clarkson, so why add even more depth at that position?
Well, here’s the thing. The weird part about this potential trade is that both sides would be helping each other tremendously. With the deal, the Lakers would be able to move between Patrick Beverley and Jordan Clarkson at the one or two, and even involve Beverley in a starting role if Kentavious Caldwell-Pope needs to get moved to the bench.
Both Caldwell-Pope and Beverley are good defensively, so it would enhance the Lakers with that respect almost instantaneously.
So how does this help the Clippers?
Well, again, it has to do with their mindset which should be focused on a rebuild. Blake Griffin can’t be your leader if you’re losing nine straight games and having such an inconsistent start to the year that even the first round of the playoffs might not be in the conversation.
It’s almost surreal how well the Clippers have been able to fool themselves by just telling them that they’re really that good. This losing streak is hopefully the wakeup call that the Clippers need that it’s okay to move on from the core that didn’t do much for them in the big scheme of things.
They lost three starters last year anyway, and the other two shouldn’t have even stayed in LA. It took drastic measures to confine DeAndre Jordan and change his mind from leaving for Dallas and it took a Brinks truck and then some to keep Griffin around.
It’s time to rebuild, and the Clippers need to accept that fact. If they deny it, they’re only going to dig themselves deeper. And it won’t be pretty.