The Los Angeles Clippers remain the most active trade partner in the NBA.
Free-agent point guard Chris Paul may consider leaving L.A. for a more competitive club, so L.A. might be out to prove to the star point guard that they aim to be championship contenders, as trade discussions with several teams have surfaced over the last two days. The Clippers have been tied to a backcourt mate for Paul, a veteran big man, and a new head coach.
On Sunday, ESPN.com reported that in addition to speaking with the Boston Celtics regarding head coach Doc Rivers, center Kevin Garnett, and forward Paul Pierce, the Clippers are also talking to the Indiana Pacers and Orlando Magic about possible trades.
The two Clippers mentioned most often in trade discussions over the last year have been speedy point guard Eric Bledsoe and athletic big man DeAndre Jordan. It was originally reported that Boston wanted Bledsoe and Jordan in exchange for Garnett and the right to speak to Rivers. Though Bledsoe, seen by many as bonafide starter rather than backup, held up the trade.
But now it appears the Clippers were leaving out Bledsoe for a different deal altogether.
According to the same report, Indiana’s Danny Granger and Orlando’s Arron Afflalo are the Clippers' targets.
Before a serious knee injury, Granger was regarded as one of the best all-around scorers in the league. The Pacers have been shopping the 30-year-old and the one year and $14 million left on his contract for the past two seasons. Granger was the second highest paid player on Indiana this season, but appeared in only five games. The emergence of Paul George has perhaps also made Granger expendable to the Pacers.
Moving Afflalo would free up even more salary cap space for Orlando. He’s still owed $14 million over the next two years, and has a player option for another year at $7.75 million. The team is already positioned to have more cap room than anyone else in the NBA come the summer of 2014.
During his six career seasons, Afflalo has improved his scoring average every year. He also boasts a career 38-percent three-point shooting percentage.
Either Afflalo or Granger would move ahead of Willie Green as the Clippers starter at the two. Green started 60 games at shooting guard, ahead of Sixth-Man-of-the-Year candidate Jamal Crawford.
Paul is expected to opt-out of his current contract and become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. The Clippers, along with the the Atlanta Hawks and Dallas Mavericks, are amongst a handful of teams that need a franchise point guard and could offer Paul a maximum deal.