The biggest question with the Clippers — will Paul George return this season or get surgery and be out until next fall? — still hangs over the Clippers just 11 days out from the NBA trade deadline.
However, the answer to that question doesn’t change the grand plan, they want a floor general point guard. Someone who can help set up the plays for Kawhi Leonard and George once they get healthy. That’s also not new, it has been the case for a couple of years, leading to the Rajon Rondo experiment last season and giving Eric Bledsoe a shot this season. The Clippers are still looking, something Kevin O’Connor delved into at The Ringer.
And the next step for the Clippers is to find a new point guard. While Reggie Jackson currently mans the position, the Clippers see him as more of a scorer. What they want by his side is a playmaker. Someone like Fred VanVleet or Kyle Lowry for Kawhi in Toronto, or even like George Hill was for a young PG-13 in Indiana. L.A. wants a point guard on that level, someone who can both manage the game or provide a spark depending on the situation.
Teams trading for Ibaka ($9.7 million expiring contract) and Bledsoe (owed $18.1 million next season but with only $3.9 million guaranteed) are mostly making an accounting trade to save money next season. Morris — owed $33.5 million over the two seasons after this one — brings real value on the court when healthy. He’s scoring 15.9 points a game, pulling down more than five rebounds a contest, shoots 36.3% from three and can defend. The only concern is health, but there are teams that could use him.
Who would the Clippers want? O’Connor mentions the Maverick’s Jalen Brunson, who would be a perfect fit stylistically. However, Dallas wants to keep him at the deadline, and the free agent to be wants to get paid this offseason as a starter ($18 million a season), according to Marc Stein. The Clippers may not have an offer that works for him.
The other point guards mentioned — Dennis Schroder, Kemba Walker, Spencer Dinwiddie — don’t fit the bill and aren’t playing as well as hoped. (Dinwiddie would be the closest, if the Clippers think he will continue to improve as he gets farther away from his ACL surgery, but he makes $36.9 million over the two seasons after this one, it’s a fairly big bet by the Clippers).
It may be a summer move by the Clippers, when more players are available, but it is something to watch.