As the Los Angeles Clippers’ season continues to slip away, so, too, does the hope that they’ll finish the year with DeAndre Jordan on the roster.
Perhaps that isn’t the prevailing sentiment within the organization, but rival squads definitely smell blood in the water, and they’re coming for the 29-year-old shot-blocker and rim-runner—four to be exact, according to Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal-Times:
Jordan’s name has been mentioned in trade rumors for several weeks and, as one might expect, there isn’t a shortage of teams interested in him. According to sources, the Toronto Raptors, Washington Wizards, Minnesota Timberwolves and Bucks have shown the most interest in Jordan.
This list of teams mostly makes sense.
The Toronto Raptors have plenty of bigs on the roster, but if they can include Jonas Valanciunas as part of any deal, they open up some room in the frontcourt while creating one of the more feared shot-blocking duos in Jordan and Serge Ibaka. But they’re hard-capped following the addition of C.J. Miles over the summer at the mid-level exception, and it doesn’t seem like ownership is willing to cross the luxury-tax threshold. Things also get hairy if they’re not willing to include OG Anunoby as a substitution for the 2018 first-round pick they don’t have.
The Washington Wizards’ interest is a little weird. Getting Jordan would cost a first-round pick and/or Kelly Oubre Jr., and they’re not really in a position trade out cost-controlled assets for aging studs—especially ones that will need another contract at year’s end. If they can lop off Ian Mahinmi’s salary in the process and Marcin Gortat is willing to come off the bench, that makes for an intriguing scenario. Short of that, giving up a package centered around Gortat, Oubre and Jason Smith, plus other stuff, doesn’t seem to move the needle.
As for the Minnesota Timberwolves, they have no business joining these sweepstakes. Gorgui Dieng, Cole Aldrich and a first-round pick probably gets them into the conversation, but their frontcourt spacing is whack, and starting Jordan alongside Karl-Anthony Towns, with Taj Gibson coming off the bench, doesn’t spell good times for an offense already overachieving based on its shot profile.
The Milwaukee Bucks make a ton of sense, particularly after they saved some salary this season in the Eric Bledsoe trade. They can build a package around D.J. Wilson, John Henson and filler if the Clippers are prepared to settle.
Will Los Angeles actually pull the trigger on a deal? That much isn’t clear. But Jerry West is now a member of the front-office braintrust, and he’s notorious for telling it like it is. If the Clippers continue to lose en masse while laboring through injuries, chances are Jordan ends up elsewhere by the trade deadline.