The Los Angeles Clippers are No. 1 in the Western Conference after a strong start to the season. Paul George and Kawhi Leonard are on fire, and it looks like those two are doing well. But the Los Angeles Clippers’ goal is not to dominate the regular season, but to dominate the playoffs. The Los Angeles Clippers started the 2020-21 season with a hot and cool playoff loss against the Nuggets on the Orlando bubble. They are similar to last season’s team, but with some solid acquisitions like Serge Ibaka and Luke Kennard.
The Los Angeles Clippers are a good fit for their team, but they don’t necessarily offer the kind of star power that makes the difference against teams like the Los Angeles Lakers or the Denver Nuggets. Maybe we can come to an agreement: Sometimes it’s the commitments made in the offseason that are the key to winning championships. The Los Angeles Clippers may have their eye on DeMar DeRozan of the San Antonio Spurs. DeMar DeRozan is a former All-Star who is a solid goal scorer and an elite facilitator. If the Clippers were to pursue a deal for DeMar DeRozan, here’s what a possible trade package could look like:
The Los Angeles Clippers have: DeMar DeRozan
Reception in San Antonio: Patrick Beverly, Lou Williams, Ivica Zubac…
The San Antonio Spurs become a veteran and a young hopeful.
The San Antonio Spurs may decide to trade DeRozan to avoid him falling into free agency without the franchise coming back. DeRozan may want a lucrative contract and look elsewhere. A trade involving shipping DeMar DeRozan to the Los Angeles Clippers could be a good consideration for his expiring contract. DeRozan’s departure could free up some spots in the rotation and help San Antonio develop young players like Keldon Johnson and Dejounte Murray.
Lou Williams is a good shooter when he gets the chance: He is a three-time winner of the NBA Sixth Man of the Year award and a strong mentor. Williams averaged 18.2 PPG for the 2019-20 season and could use a change of scenery to get those numbers back. Gregg Popovich knows how to put bench scorers in a position to thrive, and he could very well get some good stuff out of Williams. Patrick Beverley is a solid defender who can also make room on the ground. Beverly brings strong defense and good leadership: exactly the kind of veteran you want on your young team.
The key for the San Antonio Spurs here is the acquisition of Ivica Zubac. Zubac has made few minutes as a backup center this season for the Clippers, but could be good for San Antonio’s developmental system. Zubac is promising as an inside defender and could be a future center. LaMarcus Aldridge will be a free agent at the end of the season, and the San Antonio Spurs will need a big man to fill those minutes. Ivica Zubac can provide good minutes both in the base team and on the bench. Overall, this case is strong for Spurs, who are turning an expiring contract into a negotiable value for the future.
The Los Angeles Clippers earn their third star.
DeMar DeRozan could be the third option for a rival Los Angeles Clippers team. The Clippers need something that can tip the scales in their favor, and DeRozan’s play can do that for them. DeRozan had an average of 6.7 GPA per game. Playing under Gregg Popovich has made him a better playmaker, and DeRozan is no longer under the pressure to constantly create for himself like he was in Toronto.
DeRozan could have easily settled into a central role with the Los Angeles Clippers and been a de facto playmaker. That’s not to say DeRozan will start as a PG, but the team’s base game may go through him, just like James Harden who focused on his role as the main playmaker for the Brooklyn Nets. Harden reached the pinnacle of his career as an assistant alongside Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. DeMar DeRozan could face two superstars in Los Angeles and increase his number of assists.
Paul George and Kawhi Leonard are talented scorers, and with a facilitator like DeRozan, the offense could be smoother. One can still expect results from DeRozan, but to a more limited extent. Two superstars alongside DeMar DeRozan should open up his game, and teams won’t be able to double-team him for fear of losing the other two stars on the roster. DeRozan can also hit from the three-point line when open this season, averaging 37.1% per arc this season. While it is doubtful DeRozan can lead the team to a championship, he will be an elite player alongside the two superstars in a complementary role. DeMar DeRozan is a star who can help the Los Angeles Clippers, quite simply.
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