The Los Angeles Clippers have made several notable moves since the start of free agency. They nabbed Serge Ibaka in place of Montrezl Harrell, acquired Luke Kennard via trade, and signed Marcus Morris to a four-year, $64 million deal.
According to Los Angeles Times NBA insider Dan Woike, there is a growing sentiment among some league executives that all those moves were a precursor to a much larger one.
“It’s left people to guess,” Woike said.
“The Clippers need a point guard, defensive help in the frontcourt, and more leadership. So far, they’ve added shooting and underrated playmaking in Luke Kennard and brought back Marcus Morris, but there are still a lot of boxes left unchecked.
“If you ask around the NBA, people expect the Clippers to have something special up their sleeves.”
The big thing that the Clippers seemingly need to address heading into next year is point guard.
Kawhi Leonard specifically cited this as an area where an upgrade was necessary, and thus far, the team has yet to do anything about it.
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LA was said to be very much in the Rajon Rondo Sweepstakes over the past week, but the 34-year-ultimately opted for a two-year, $15 million deal with the Atlanta Hawks.
There has been some chatter of the Clippers taking a look at Jeremy Lin, but thus far there hasn’t been a ton of traction on that front. Guys like Reggie Jackson, Austin Rivers and Langston Galloway remain available as well. However, that likely wasn’t what Leonard had in mind when he implored the front office to target a veteran point guard presence.
The team also needs to bolster its defense and toughness off the bench. There was talk early Sunday morning of Markieff Morris possibly joining the Clippers alongside his brother.
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“Markieff Morris is looking to join his brother, Marcus with the Los Angeles Clippers,” Jason Dumas of KRON4 News reported.
“The Clippers are interested but taking their time. Lakers are still interested in bringing him back even with the signing of Montrezl Harrell.”
While Markieff would obviously be a welcome addition, particularly given how solid he was for the Los Angeles Lakers late last year, he wouldn’t exactly qualify as a “big move.”
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So what could the something special that the Clippers have up their sleeve be?
According to Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated, the team explored a trade for Terry Rozier recently. Over the past few days, there has been growing doubt regarding whether the 26-year-old is legitimately part of the Charlotte Hornets’ long-term plans at this juncture.
Last year Rozier averaged 18 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.1 assists while shooting 42.3 percent from the field and 40.7 percent from beyond the arc. He would certainly help the Clippers, but it remains to be seen what the team would have to give up to get him.
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Similarly, the Clippers reportedly took a close look at a potential Russell Westbrook trade – but thus far nothing has materialized on that front either.
Based on what happened in the playoffs last year, it would make sense for the Clippers to attempt a big move of some sort to leapfrog the Lakers in the Western Conference power rankings. And where there’s smoke, there’s fire. If people are talking about a potential something or other happening, there has to be a reason for it.
What do the Clippers ultimately have up their sleeve? Time will tell.
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