As the Los Angeles Clippers continue to sneak back into the Western Conference’s playoff picture, the DeAndre Jordan trade rumors are dwindling in number and persistence. But that doesn’t mean they’re entirely gone.
On the contrary, teams continue to monitor Jordan’s situation in Hollywood. And the Cleveland Cavaliers are one of them. But, according to Terry Pluto of Cleveland.com, the Clippers will target the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 first-round pick in negotiations, making any deal unlikely:
3. I’ve heard the Clippers would strongly consider it if the Cavs added the Brooklyn 2018 first-round draft pick that they acquired in the Kyrie Irving deal. I’ve heard the Cavs don’t plan to trade that pick.
If the Clippers are unwilling to move off this purported asking price, the Cavaliers should just walk. The Nets pick isn’t as valuable as they hoped it would be. If the season ended today, Brooklyn would have the ninth-best lottery odds, a far cry from the top-five standing many, including Cleveland, initially projected.
But a top-10 pick isn’t nothing. Not for a Cavaliers team that has no idea whether LeBron James will be back next season. And most certainly not in a deal for a soon-to-be free agent who turns 30 in July.
Should the Clippers be open to accepting a package built around the Cavaliers’ own first-round pick, Tristan Thompson and filler, then by all means, general manager Koby Altman can, and probably should, pull the trigger. But that Nets selection remains the Cavaliers’ post-LeBron lifeline. They shouldn’t even think about shipping it out unless they’re getting back a bona fide star in return or have an ironclad promise from James that he isn’t going anywhere this summer. And even then, knowing LeBron might just defer free agency until 2019 or 2020, they may still be better off hedging their bets on the future.