DeAndre Jordan is the big-name NBA player most likely to be traded prior to the NBA trade deadline in February, with the Clippers looking like they’re ready to hit the reset button on the franchise.
Two Eastern Conference contenders that could certainly use Jordan’s services this spring in the playoffs are the Celtics and Raptors, and both teams will be looking to upgrade in the front court in the next two months.
The Clippers reportedly offered Jordan to the Celtics prior to the 2017 NBA Draft, wanting the No. 3 overall pick (which turned out to be Jayson Tatum). The Celtics turned the Clippers down at the time, but the biggest reason for the rejection then was likely that the Celtics were still looking to open up enough cap space to sign Gordon Hayward.
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The Celtics are doing a solid job rebounding the ball this season (seventh in the NBA), but certain big men - like Greg Monroe, Andre Drummond and Giannis Antetokounmpo - have had monster nights against the C’s this season. The C’s could clearly use an elite defensive presence in the paint, as well as a top rebounder (Jordan averages 14.4 boards per game).
The Clippers covet high draft picks and would love to do business with the Celtics but it’s not yet for sure if Danny Ainge would seriously entertain a Jordan trade, despite having shown considerable interest in Jordan over the years. The Celtics would have to do some ridiculous roster juggling to bring in another player making over $20 million, likely having to ship out five or six players to make the money work. The other option would be to trade Al Horford, who has a $20-plus million contract of his own, but that would certainly be a “robbing Peter to pay Paul” scenario. If the Celtics were to move forward with a Jordan trade, they’d surely want Jordan as a frontcourt complement to Horford.
Jordan would be a better fit on the Raptors than the Celtics, all things considered. The Raptors are 24th in the NBA in rebounding and are a very guard-oriented team. They are in desperate need of a presence like Jordan in the paint if they truly want to get to the next level.
NBA reporter Gery Woelfel reported two weeks ago that the Raptors were one of four teams around the league to show strong interest in trading for Jordan.
Of course, the Raptors do not have much to send back to the Clippers in order to land a player of Jordan’s caliber.
Jonas Valanciunas would certainly need to be including in any Raptors – Clippers swap. Los Angeles would also be looking for multiple future first round picks from Toronto.