NBA Trade Grades: Clippers and Grizzlies upgrade for playoff race
The Los Angeles Clippers and Memphis Grizzlies loaded up for their playoff race in the form of a three-team trade with the Houston Rockets.
The NBA trade deadline is approaching on Thursday, Feb. 9 at 3:00 p.m. ET, and the Western Conference has gotten tougher. Phoenix Suns owner Mat Isbhia, after just two days into his official tenure, pulled off a blockbuster trade to acquire superstar Kevin Durant from the Brooklyn Nets. With Durant joining Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton, and Chris Paul, the Western Conference has only gotten tougher. With that, the Los Angeles Clippers and Memphis Grizzlies made deals to load up for their playoff runs.
Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that the Clippers were acquiring guard Eric Gordon from the Houston Rockets as part of a three-team trade also including the Grizzlies. Multiple reports dropped regarding the official returns.
The Grizzlies are receiving Luke Kennard from the Clippers. Meanwhile, the Rockets are receiving John Wall and the right to swap the Milwaukee Bucks’ first-round pick with the Clippers’ first-round pick, and Danny Green and three second-round picks from the Grizzlies.
A very complex deal. Let’s take a look at how each team performed in the deal.
Clippers trade grade
The Clippers made the moves to bring in Kawhi Leonard and Paul George to help take the team to their first NBA title. But, they have yet to reach the Finals, although they made it to the Western Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history in the 2020-21 season. With Leonard healthy and George is the team’s best scorer and an All-Star reserve. So, they are bringing in a veteran scorer in Gordon to help them out in the tough Western Conference.
This season with the Rockets, Gordon averaged 13.1 points, 2.9 assists, and 2.1 rebounds while shooting 43.9 percent from the field and 34.7 percent from the 3-point line while starting in all 47 games played.
While the Clippers reunite with Gordon, they have now moved on from two of their top point guards in Reggie Jackson and Wall. But it must be noted that the Clippers are reportedly interested in Russell Westbrook if he is bought out by the Utah Jazz.
Clippers trade grade: B-
Grizzlies trade grade
The Grizzlies are ranked ninth in the entire league in average points scored per game (116.0), per NBA.com. They are ranked behind six Western Conference teams, including the Sacramento Kings (119.5), Golden State Warriors (118.5), Oklahoma City Thunder (117.6), Utah Jazz (117.5), Denver Nuggets (117.4), and Los Angeles Lakers (117.3). Three of those teams are in playoff or play-in spots as of the Thursday trade deadline.
Now, the Grizzlies bring in one of the top three-point shooters in the league in recent memory in Kennard.
Just last year, Kennard led the league in three-point shooting percentage with a 44.9 figure. Through 35 games played (11 starts) this season, Kennard has put up a 44.7 3-point shooting percentage. Overall, he has averaged 7.8 points and 2.4 rebounds while shooting 46.4 percent from the field this year.
The Grizzlies’ 3-point percentage as a team ranks 24th in the league at 34.4 percent. With Kennard, it should help Memphis increase their shooting percentage overall.
Grizzlies trade grade: B
Rockets trade grade
The Rockets are sitting at the bottom of the Western Conference standings, and appear to be the favorites to land highly-touted prospect Victor Wembanyama. The team is in a rebuild, and they continued to stockpile draft picks.
While yes, they do receive Wall back after waiving him last season, he is expected to be waived once again.
Green played in just three games for the Grizzlies this season, as he tore his ACL and LCL in the Philadelphia 76ers’ second-round playoff series against the Miami Heat last season.
The Rockets getting much-needed picks is really the only thing to mention about this trade. One must wonder what they will do with them in the future.
Rockets trade grade: C+