Back by the popular demand of pretty much only myself, it’s the second annual edition of Around the NBA in 15 Trades. We’re taking all 30 teams in the lead up to the Feb. 7 trade deadline and finding a happy middle ground for prosperous barterdom.
The Clippers started out the season strong but faded down the standings as regression and the rest of the Western Conference caught up. Holding onto the eighth playoff spot they currently squat in will prove more difficult once LeBron James returns for the Lakers.
They stand at a crossroads of gunning for a postseason berth and assessing a murky future.
After their apocalyptic trade with Boston set them back a decade, Brooklyn has done a fantastic job recovering. Kenny Atkinson built a culture of playing hard and put guys in positions to succeed. Sean Marks practiced patience since taking over as GM, absorbing bad contracts while making incremental improvements. Those improvements added up and now the Nets look primed to make the playoffs after a four-year absence.
But I’m not Sean Marks. I’m here for a good time not a long time, so let’s light this candle.
Why the Clippers do it:
Tobias Harris turned down an $80 million contract this past summer with an eye on securing a max bag potentially worth $188 million over five years. Harris built himself into a second-tier star, but that kind of money can make any team gun shy. If the Clippers have any reservations about signing Harris to the long-term, big salary he wants, the time to move him is now.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and DeMarre Carroll wouldn’t make up for Harris’ scoring punch, but they’d give the Clippers two steady replacements to lean on. Hollis-Jefferson is young, would be worth re-signing and comes at a fraction of the cost of Harris.
Getting Brooklyn’s first rounder this year makes up for Boston having the rights to theirs — a pick the Clippers keep if they fall into the lottery.
Why the Nets do it:
Because life is to live! If Brooklyn can make a move to improve their team without mortgaging their future they should do it.
The Nets boast one of the lowest cap figures going forward so they have the room to sign to Harris that big extension — which would be shorter (four years) and less money ($145.5 million) with a new team. Bring the Long Island native back home and make him a fixture on Atlantic Avenue for the rest of his prime.
They will already be a tough out in the postseason. Adding a go-to scorer like Harris to a rotation of D’Angelo Russell, Caris Levert, Spencer Dinwiddie, Joe Harris, Rodions Kurucs, Jarrett Allen, and two-time NCAA champion Shabazz Napier makes them a threat to sneak into the Eastern Conference Finals.