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Should the Los Angeles Clippers prioritise a trade for Tristan Thompson?

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Cleveland Cavaliers centre Tristan Thompson is available for trade, as reported by Chris Haynes.

The Los Angeles Clippers are thought to be looking to bolster their centre rotation, as mentioned on the latest episode of the Hoop Collective. Montrezl Harrell and Ivica Zubac could struggle in playoff matchups against Rudy Gobert, Nikola Jokic and the Los Angeles Lakers.

Thompson, a free agent at season’s end, is on $18.5 million this season. The Clips have their 2020 first-round pick – the only first they can trade for the foreseeable future – and the salaries of Maurice Harkless and JaMychal Green. Harkless and Green’s salaries alone would be enough to make a deal work.

The Clippers have been mediocre when it comes to defending at the rim, with opponents shooting 60.9% on shots inside six feet. Their length on the perimeter means they allow the second-fewest such shots, however. They rank 20th in the NBA in defensive rebounding percentage – Harrell is an undersized five and can struggle on the boards.

Thompson is one of the better rebounders in the NBA and, while not a top tier defensively, would help out. The 2016 NBA champion is having the best scoring and rebounding seasons of his career.


A potential Thompson trade may come down to what the Clippers prioritise. An extra ball-handler is an option, as is a three-point shooting forward. Marcus Morris and Derrick Rose could be of interest – Andre Iguodala looms, and the Harkless/Green/first package might well be enough to lure Iguodala, giving Doc Rivers another wing defender to throw at LeBron James in a potential all-LA playoff series.

It’s a question of how confident the Clippers are in Zubac and Harrell in the postseason. The Paul George trade cleared them out of assets, though it feels inevitable they will trade this year’s first-round pick. There are several different ways they can go, with Thompson likely the best option at the five (his salary is much easier to work out than Andre Drummond‘s).

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