Deadline Dud? Will Doc Solve the Clippers’ Small Forward Woes?

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Another NBA season, another Deadline Day where the Los Angeles Clippers are careening up the river without a paddle and without any valid trade assets. Last year the Clippers made a last minute trade to try and solve their small forward problem and acquired Jeff Green from the Grizzlies for Lance Stephenson and a conditional 2019 first round pick. This move turned out to be a bit of a failure as Green could never find his niche on the team and left for Orlando in free-agency. Moves like this have defined Doc’s tenure as President of Basketball Operations for the Clippers. Trading Jared Dudley and a first round pick away for two players that never saw the floor, trading for his son (which at the time seemed like an awful trade but has now turned out to be good) and then the Green trade last year. These trades leave the Clippers with only one first round draft pick in the next three years and puts them in a tough spot to try and make any moves.

This off-season, Doc had a good showing and managed to put together a bench of veterans that can play together and still have a little left in the tank but the Clips continue to lack the small forward that they need. Luc Mbah a Moute is having an average year, shooting around 39 percent from three and providing the team with strong play on the defensive end, but his contributions are without a doubt underrated but may not be enough to get the Clippers past other contending teams. The other three small forwards on the roster, Wesley Johnson, Alan Anderson and Paul Pierce do not consistently bring anything to the table on a nightly basis either. Johnson has so much potential to be a Trevor Ariza-type three and D player but his shooting just isn’t where it should be and his defense slips at times. Anderson has played a total of 266 minutes for the team and has become more of a bench cheerleader for the team. And as for the Truth… well the truth is Paul Pierce is a shell of the player that he used to be and probably won’t make many contributions to the team until Doc unleashes him closer to playoffs.

But with not many draft picks or favorable contracts that could be moved, Los Angeles is once again in a tight spot to try and find that missing piece. That hasn’t stopped the Clippers from popping up in numerous trade rumors the past few days and with the deadline approaching it remains to be seen if Doc will make any moves. Here are some of the names the Clippers have been tied to in the past few days:

Wilson Chandler

Chandler is the pipe-dream that the Clippers hear about every year and the trade talks never gain any traction. However this year, Chandler has expressed his frustration and has asked the Denver to move him, preferring a contending team. The Clippers and Thunder have been the two teams reportedly pursuing Chandler but com reported that the Thunder are no longer interested in him. With the Clippers being the sole team pushing to acquire Chandler, the Clippers may be able to get him for less than he’s worth. It all depends on how bad the relationship between Chandler and the Nuggets has gotten and how small of a return Denver will accept for the vet.

PJ Tucker

One of Docs favorite players, the gritty forward is stuck on a Phoenix team that would be better suited developing its younger players and shipping out its veterans. More teams are enamored with Tucker than Chandler but the Suns refuse to give him up without a substantial return. com reports that Tucker is drawing trade interest from the Toronto Raptors, Washington Wizards, Los Angeles Clippers, Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics and Utah Jazz but the Suns are trying to get a first round pick in return. If this is the case, acquiring Tucker become that much more difficult for the Clippers who already have to compete with other teams with more assets.

Nikola Mirotic

According to the Chicago Tribune, the Bulls have continually been offering Mirotic to the Sixers and Clippers but I would be surprised if the Clippers have shown much interest. The forward is only shooting 29 percent from three which would be abysmal for a starting small forward and his defensive numbers are just as bad, if not worse. This is a deal that the Clippers should probably stay away from unless they can acquire him for practically nothing.

Otto Porter

I wonder how long it took for the Wizards to hang up when Doc called to ask about Porter.

Carmelo Anthony

If you’re a Clippers fan, you’ve already read stories about the rumors of the team trading for Melo. With the deadline coming up soon, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Melo remain on the Knicks.

Matt Barnes

Is it time for the return? Barnes will reportedly be waived by the Kings to make roster space for the players they’re acquiring from NOLA in the Cousins trade. Some other team could scoop up Barnes before the Clippers got a chance to make a run at him but maybe Doc calls him up and asks him if he wants one last ride with the Clips