DeAndre Jordan remains the most likely big name to be traded before the NBA trade deadline and four teams – the Bucks, Raptors, Wizards and Rockets are seeking ways to land him.
Milwaukee remains the favorite to land Jordan if he is indeed traded, but the Clippers will not settle for an average deal. A package of say – Khris Middleton, Malcolm Brogdon and Thon Maker – would likely not be enough to entice Clippers GM Michael Winger to trade Jordan.
Winger comes from the Sam Presti school of NBA management, and the Thunder never really went through hell to get to heaven like most current NBA contenders. The opportunity to tank and go through a full rebuild was there when Kevin Durant bolted a year and a half ago – but Presti and Winger waited things out and wound up landing two All-Stars in a trade.
While the Bucks are seen league-wide as a team on the rise and the Clippers are seen league-wide as a team in decline, the fact of the matter remains that the two teams currently have the same record at 23-21 and the Clippers just re-signed their biggest star in Blake Griffin this past summer.
The idea may be to re-tool around Griffin instead of going into a full-on tank. Bringing in B and C-level talent will likely not be the Clippers’ objective. The move might just be to let Jordan walk this summer (he has a player option) in order to create cap space.
Any Raptors deal would center around Jonas Valanciunas, who is averaging 11.3 points and 8.1 rebounds per game this season. Any Wizards deal would center around Kelly Oubre, who the Clippers would surely be interested in given that his points average has nearly doubled to 11.9 points per game this season – his third year in the league. If the Wizards truly are in “win-now” mode like they say they are, shipping out Oubre in a trade for Jordan would be their best route at the trade deadline.
As for the Rockets, Jordan is reportedly eyeing Houston as a destination at some point so that he can once again join up with Chris Paul. It’s unlikely that the Clippers would just grant that request – particularly given that the Rockets don’t have much in the way of tradeable assets LA would covet (Eric Gordon, PJ Tucker, Ryan Anderson).