- With Chris Paul moving on this summer, does keeping Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan still make sense for the Clippers? If not, we could see a midseason blockbuster featuring the latter.
With Chris Paul now in Houston, Lob City as we knew it is no more. Paul was the engine that fueled the Clippers' offense for six years, and his absence will be felt throughout the organization. There is no way to know exactly how his trade to the Rockets will affect the Clippers this season, but—as longtime fans of the franchise know—things could always be worse in Los Angeles.
DeAndre Jordan stands to hit free agency next season, and the Clippers will have to decide whether to lock him up sooner than later. With that in mind, Ben Golliver and Andrew Sharp took to The Crossover's Open Floor Podcast to consider what the Clippers' future could look like, and whether Jordan be in Los Angeles going forward.
(The following transcript has been edited for clarity.)
Andrew Sharp: The Clippers should start to think about trading him, and I'm curious what you think of the potential market. ESPN's Zach Lowe wrote that the Wizards should consider going after him, the Pelicans are another team where I could see it fitting in theory. But with DeAndre due to make a massive amount of money this summer, it's just hard to find many situations where it makes sense long-term.
Ben Golliver: The Wizards are a dream fit. I think that, in terms of pure fit and need, that's a huge upgrade over their center personnel. I think we have to kind of wait on this just to see what happens with his extension talks, because that's sort of been floating a little bit. If you're the Clippers, there's a strong argument to keep him. He's been very loyal, he's been very durable. Yes, the fit with Blake [Griffin] isn't perfect, but imaging a roster without DeAndre and only Blake and getting nothing back for DeAndre if he leaves next summer starts to get really dicey.
I mean, remember why they were panicking with those emojis a few summers ago and chasing DeAndre into a house in Texas and locking him in there and forcing him to sign that contract. It was because of how bleak things were going to be if they didn't have them. It was going to get really, really bad, and that was back when they had Chris. You take DeAndre off this team now, how do they stop anybody defensively? It gets real ugly, real quickly, so I can see why there'd be a lot of aspiring contenders in that Washington mold who would want him.
Andrew Sharp: I think the Clippers are in the same situation that the Grizzlies have been in, where the idea of losing him for nothing is crazy, and they didn't want to do that. And then the idea of trading him for 30 cents on the dollar doesn't really get them anywhere, so it may make sense to just extend him.
I think DeAndre Jordan is almost underrated. Defensively, he's really valuable, he's a great athlete, he's only one of maybe three guys when you watch him in person he's much bigger than you even realized watching on TV, and he's just a freak. I think he could also have sort of a Tyson Chandler aging process, where he's strangely effective well into his 30s. But as a Wizards fan, like you said, he'd be a dream fit. If that's the guy that they trade for... First of all, it'd be really complicated because of how expensive he would make the roster, but you can't play him at the end of playoff games.
Ben Golliver: You could in the East. Who's going to exploit him in the Eastern Conference?
Andrew Sharp: I get it, but the free-throw shooting is a real issue. In the final six minutes of a close game, you can't have him on the floor.
Ben Golliver: I think he would benefit from that West-to-East bump, the old Paul Millsap route where you go from All-Star fringe guy to amazing, unstoppable inside presence. Yeah, you might have to go small late in playoff games every once in a while, but we're not that far away from a world where Markieff Morris is a playoff center down the stretch of games. That's kind of where this all is going, and the Clippers kept him on the court pretty well last year during the playoffs in a real conference against real competition.
If I'm Washington I wouldn't necessarily let that cloud my interest. I would be a little worried about the money, because when you've got basically three max guys and you're trying to bring on a fourth, you have to have a really committed ownership group. I'm not sure they have that in Washington.
Andrew Sharp: That, and I think there's an opportunity cost. If you trade for DeAndre Jordan, you're not trading for a superstar that might raise your ceiling even higher so that's why I wouldn't do it.
Ben Golliver: Well, who are those superstars? Are you talking about Boogie [Cousins]? Because I'd rather have DeAndre there than Boogie.
Andrew Sharp: Listen, man, we are always talking about Boogie as far as Wizards trades are concerned.
To hear more from Andrew Sharp and Ben Golliver, subscribe to the Open Floor podcast on iTunes.