The Los Angeles Clippers were in trade talks, reportedly involving Iman Shumpert, right up until the 3 p.m. EST NBA Trade Deadline. However, the Clippers were unable to make a deal happen for Shumpert. They didn’t ride off into the sunset of the deadline without making any moves, though.
The Clippers traded two little-used members of their frontcourt right before the clock turned to end the deadline. Los Angeles sent Byron Mullens and a future second-round pick to the Philadelphia 76ers for a conditional second-round pick, per Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times. The Clips also traded veteran Antawn Jamison and cash to the Atlanta Hawks for the draft rights to Cenk Akyol, pick from the 2005 NBA Draft, as first reported by ESPN’s Brian Windhorst.
The Clippers dealing both Mullens and Jamison was a last-ditch effort to shed salary and an effective effort at that. Before the deals, the Clippers were well into the luxury tax, but are now just a little over $150,000 over the tax line after dealing the two frontcourt players.
While the financial aspect of the deal makes a great deal of sense for L.A., it doesn’t do much for their frontcourt rotation that is now severely depleted. Essentially only Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and Ryan Hollins remain. However, don’t expect that to be the case for long.
According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, the Clippers recently gave Ivan Johnson, who has been playing in China this season, and are close to signing him to a 10-day contract. Johnson would be fantastic addition of toughness and effort on the front line for the Clippers moving forward and, if he’s looking good, it’s hard to imagine him not sticking around for longer than 10 days.
The Clippers are clearly preparing for a playoff push in the remaining two months of the season and are being responsible in terms of their financial future at the same time. That’s a rare balance that’s often struck at the Trade Deadline, but the Clips are certainly set up nicely looking ahead.