The Los Angeles Clippers are on the cusp of making a run in the playoffs once again, and they currently sit four games out of first place in the Western Conference.
After a devastating exit in a seven-game series to the Denver Nuggets in the conference semis last year, the Clips won’t be satisfied with anything less than a trip to the finals or beyond this year — but some feel they’re missing a facilitator on offense to take them to that championship level once again.
The recent acquisition of two-time NBA champ Rajon Rondo hasn’t quite put L.A. over the top, either. Once an elite defender, Rondo’s game has lost a few steps in recent years, and through his first four games with Los Angeles, he also hasn’t instilled a lot of confidence as a role player offensively. Rondo has nine fouls, nine turnovers and is averaging 17 minutes of play and 7.3 points a game in his short time with the Clippers — but a major trade proposed by Bleacher Report could very well give the Clips the firepower they need to finally make a championship run.
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Trade Proposal Sends Kemba Walker & Tristan Thompson to Clippers
Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report has found an intriguing way to send four-time All-Star point guard Kemba Walker to Los Angeles. In Buckley’s trade proposal, the Clippers would receive current Boston Celtics guard Walker, along with Boston’s big man Tristan Thompson in exchange for current Clippers center Ivica Zubac and guards Patrick Beverley and Luke Kennard.
Here’s why Buckley thinks acquiring a veteran of Walker’s talents could propel L.A. to greatness:
The Clippers are on the cusp of championship contention; they need more than Rondo’s postseason legend to take care of this position group. How about a four-time All-Star who is having a down year yet still averaging 18.1 points, 4.8 assists and 2.8 three-pointers per game? When Walker has his legs under him, he’s a full-fledged problem at the offensive end. Let him work isolation magic and spot up for stretches alongside (Kawhi) Leonard and (Paul) George, and Walker could be the shot in the arm that L.A. is (for some reason) hoping Rondo will be.
What Would Walker & Thompson Bring to L.A.?
The Clippers currently rank fourth in the NBA in scoring, averaging 115.1 points a game, and while Walker, as Buckley noted, is having a bit of a down year, averaging less than 20 points a game for the first time in five seasons, he would still be a huge offensive upgrade for the team.
Thompson, who won a ring with the Cleveland Cavaliers back in 2016, would be an ideal replacement for Zubac in this hypothetical trade. Thompson is averaging 22.5 minutes a game to Zubac’s 22.0, and the current Celtics big man is scoring 7.9 points a game and hauling in 8.2 boards per contest while Zubac is netting 8.7 points and 7.3 rebounds a game.
It would be a bit surprising to see the Clips make a big move like this so soon after the Rondo trade, but stranger things have happened. Plus, the trio of Walker, Leonard and George would give them a three-headed monster few teams in the league have.
“Considering the Clippers’ limited trade budget, Walker is probably the best they can get. The fact they’d walk away from this exchange with both him and Tristan Thompson—a versatile, experienced center who shares a close relationship with their head coach, Tyronn Lue—should make it a no-brainer,” Buckley also pointed out.
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