The LA Clippers are getting the ball rolling.
According to a report from ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the Clippers are trading Mfiondu Kabengele, a future second-round pick and cash considerations to the Sacramento Kings in exchange for a protected future second-round pick. Wojnarowski added that both picks involved in the deal are "heavily protected" and unlikely to convey.
LA was expected to trade Kabengele at some point this season after the team declined his option for the 2021-22 season. Otherwise, the second-year big would've become a free agent at year's end, and this deal allows them to get something in return.
That return isn't immediately visible, though. With the second-round pick unlikely to convey, it's clear that the Clippers made this trade not for a future asset but to open up a roster spot that could be filled relatively soon. Moreover, shedding Kabengele's salary brings the Clippers $2.6 million under the hard cap, giving them some wiggle room ahead of the trade deadline.
Kabengele was selected by the Brooklyn Nets with the 27th overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft and moved to the Clippers shortly thereafter. To date, he's appeared in 35 contests over his first two seasons and holds career averages of 1.2 points and 0.6 rebounds per game.
While he was never able to carve out a role with the NBA's Clippers, Kabengele was successful at the G League level with the Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario. During the 2019-20 season, Kabengele averaged 18.7 points, 9.3 rebounds and 2.0 blocks in 27 appearances.
The NBA trade deadline is set for March 25.