The Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers are in two completely different situations and heading in two completely different directions; however, despite being in starkly different places, both appear will stand pat as the horn sounds on the NBA trading deadline today at 12pm Pacific time.
While the Lakers are already looking towards next season and in no need of acquiring help with their roster at the moment, the Clippers are in need of help as they are in a heavily contested playoff push and looking at being without their star forward, Blake Griffin, for 6 weeks after undergoing surgery for a staph infection in his right elbow.
The Clippers are currently 35-19 which places them 6th in the Western Conference and only 6.5 games from falling out of the playoff picture.
The Clippers are in desperate need of a front court fill-in for Griffin and could use an upgrade at the 3 where they’ve been going with veteran Matt Barnes all season who is serviceable but is an area of opportunity to improve.
The players that would be of most interest to the Clippers are power forward Kevin Garnett of the Nets and guard Aaron Afflalo of the Nuggets (reported as being traded to the Blazers earlier today) but the issue that the Clippers face is they simply don’t have assets that would be attractive to teams that are looking for expiring deals and draft picks.
The player most rumored in trade talks from the Clippers has been Jamal Crawford who has an expiring deal but nothing that’s eminent. The expiring deal of Crawford could be enticing if included with a few draft picks but therein lies the problem for the Clippers who don’t have a 2015 first or second round pick to offer as those are promised to the Celtics and Nuggets, respectively, and because of the CBA rules not permitting a team from being without a first round pick in two consecutive seasons, the next first round pick that the Clippers could offer is their pick in 2019.
A big reason the Clippers are in desperate need of talent is that their off-season acquisitions of Spencer Hawes and Jordan Farmar have not worked out, to the point that Farmar has already been waived.
Los Angeles Lakers Trade Rumors
The Lakers should be looking to help contending teams like the Clippers with some of their players that can assist with a playoff or championship push such as Jordan Hill, Jeremy Lin, Nick Young and Wesley Johnson, and in return, acquire assets such as young players and/or draft picks. However, it seems the Lakers are looking to stand pat as well.
ICYMI: Lakers "unlikely" to deal before trade deadline. Keeping cap space & draft picks are "high" priorities http://t.co/2PM3XS5LLl
— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) February 19, 2015
Jordan Hill would be the most attractive player to contending teams and could net the most assets in return but it sounds as if the Lakers are looking to keep him around this season and then make a decision on bringing him back for the 2nd year (team option) of his 2 year contract he signed for 18 million.
Jeremy Lin and Wesley Johnson are both on the last year of their contracts and could help the 2nd unit of contending team. Johnson could return next season at a minimum salary but after the difficulty that Lin has faced playing under coach Bryon Scott it is almost a certainty that he leaves in the coming off-season.
A team looking for an off the bench scoring spark could find Nick Young attractive in trade. Young signed a 4 year deal but at a very cap friendly 5 million per year moving him to another team would not be challenging.
The Lakers decision to again remain inactive at the trade deadline could be another missed opportunity to gain valuable rebuilding assets for players that they will likely not bring back next season. The Lakers decided to hold on to Dwight Howard in 2013 and Pau Gasol in 2014 with the hopes they would re-sign both in the off-season, which resulted in both leaving for other teams and the Lakers getting nothing in return.
There is still 3 hours before the trading deadline is reached and things could change with both Los Angeles teams, but its not looking good for either team to gain what they need by the time the buzzer sounds at the moment.