NBA PM: Clippers Pursuing Shooting Guards
Over the next week and a half, the Los Angeles Clippers will make a strong push to acquire a starting shooting guard, according to multiple sources close to the situation. Ever since Chauncey Billups’ season ended due to a torn left Achilles tendon, the Clippers have been searching for a replacement two-guard.
They tried to sign J.R. Smith after he returned from China, but he decided to join the New York Knicks. They even worked out free agent shooting guards such as Michael Finley and Jermaine Taylor. Now, the Clippers are hoping to solve their problem with a trade prior to the March 15 deadline.
As of right now, Randy Foye and Travis Leslie are the only true shooting guards on the Clippers’ roster. Foye has been the starter since Billups’ injury, but the team continues to look for an upgrade. Leslie, a second-round pick in this year’s draft, has appeared in just eight games for the Clippers.
The Clippers have expressed interest in Ray Allen and Jamal Crawford, according to sources.
The Boston Celtics aren’t actively shopping Allen, but they are listening to offers. It’s unclear what Boston would want in exchange for Allen, but the two teams will continue to talk as the deadline approaches. Los Angeles will have some competition as they pursue Allen, since many teams have expressed interest in the 36-year-old shooting guard. Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro was Allen’s teammate on the Milwaukee Bucks from 1998-2000.
The Portland Trail Blazers may look to move Crawford at some point over the next ten days. Sources close to the situation say that Crawford will opt-out of the final year of his contract to test free agency this summer. Rather than losing him for nothing this offseason, Portland may decide to deal him. The Clippers are among the teams expressing the most interest in Crawford, along with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Los Angeles tried to sign-and-trade for Crawford during the offseason, but the Atlanta Hawks didn’t want to take back any contracts.
Other shooting guards who could be on the move before the deadline include O.J. Mayo of the Memphis Grizzlies, Courtney Lee of the Houston Rockets and Anthony Morrow of the New Jersey Nets. If these players are put on the block, expect the Clippers to be among the teams expressing interest.
The Clippers currently sit at 22-14 and hold the fourth seed in the Western Conference. Since Billups’ injury on February 6, Los Angeles has gone 7-7 with losses against struggling teams like the Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors and Phoenix Suns. The Clippers are definitely a team to keep an eye on as the trade deadline approaches. If they don’t make a move, it wasn’t for lack of trying.
Magic Lack Assets for Big Move: The Orlando Magic organization isn’t ready to part ways with Dwight Howard. While general manager Otis Smith continues to receive calls from interested teams, sources believe that the Magic will hold onto Howard past the trade deadline. There are members of the organization who remain optimistic that Howard will re-sign this summer if the right moves are made.
That’s why the Magic will spend the next week and a half pursuing players like Steve Nash and Monta Ellis rather than weighing offers for Howard. The organization wants to bring in a second star to appease Howard, but that’s easier said than done given Orlando’s assets.
While the Magic would love to make a splashy move before March 15, the general consensus around the league is that they don’t have the trade chips to acquire a second star. The Magic have backed themselves into a corner after making poor personnel decisions and overpaying for players.
Their most attractive assets are Ryan Anderson, J.J. Redick, Jameer Nelson and Earl Clark, but those aren’t pieces that will yield a star player like Nash or Ellis in a trade. Unless they’re able to involve a third team, it’ll be difficult for them to add a significant piece prior to the deadline.
Their best asset is Anderson, who is having a career-year and averaging 16.3 points. However, many executives wonder if Anderson is a product of Orlando’s system. For the past three years, Orlando has attempted the most three-pointers in the league. Howard draws double-teams in the paint, which creates open shots for their sharpshooters. In a different offense, one that doesn’t have Howard or a trigger happy approach, would Anderson be as effective? Executives aren’t sure, which lowers Anderson’s trade value. It’s the same reason the Magic didn’t sign Anderson to an extension in January – they weren’t sure if they’d have Howard or the same system returning next season.
Orlando wants to bring in a notable player to appease Howard and help them contend for a championship this season. However, the odds are against them with the deadline approaching.
Warriors Recall Tyler from D-League: The Golden State Warriors have recalled forward/center Jeremy Tyler from the Dakota Wizards of the NBA Development League, the team announced today.
Tyler, 20, appeared in five games with the D-League team, averaging 15.6 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 28.8 minutes per contest. He was originally assigned to the Wizards on February 27 and posted his top scoring effort in the D-League the next night, with 20 points to go along with nine rebounds.
Last night, he posted a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds against Idaho. Prior to his assignment to the D-League, Tyler appeared in 14 games for the Warriors this season, averaging 1.9 points and 1.0 rebound in 4.6 minutes per contest.
Tyler was the 39th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft.
Hamilton Day-to-Day After Shoulder Injury: Chicago Bulls guard Richard Hamilton has a right shoulder contusion and mild sprain of his right shoulder, the team announced today.
Hamilton suffered the injury in the first quarter of last evening’s game versus the Indiana Pacers. His status is day-to-day and he should be able to play tomorrow night versus the Milwaukee Bucks.
HOOPSWORLD Chats: There were two NBA chats scheduled for today, starting with senior NBA writer Eric Pincus who held down his weekly NBA chat at 4 p.m. ET. Next up, Stephen Litel will host his weekly NBA chat at 8 p.m. ET.