In a recent article from the NBA Analysis Network, a hypothetical trade sending D'Angelo Russell to the LA Clippers was proposed. While the Minnesota Timberwolves have currently shown no intent to trade Russell, some believe they could field offers for the former All-Star at some point this season.
Despite the emergence of Reggie Jackson and the trade for Eric Bledsoe, the Clippers are seemingly still the first team that gets brought up whenever a point guard becomes available. If Russell were to join the list of available point guards, some believe he could draw interest from the Clippers.
In this hypothetical trade, Russell ends up in Los Angeles with the Clippers, and Minnesota receives Marcus Morris, Eric Bledsoe, Terance Mann, and a 2022 second round pick. Russell has three years and roughly $90M remaining on his contract, which averages around $30M annually. Because of this, the Clippers would need to send out at least that much in annual salary in order to make the financial logistics work.
Before providing any further analysis on this hypothetical trade, let's just start by saying it's not happening. A Bledsoe for Russell swap would be an upgrade for the Clippers; however, parting with Morris and Mann as well is an automatic deal breaker.
In 57 games for the Clippers last season, Marcus Morris averaged 13.4 PPG on 47.3% from deep. Mook's 47.3% clip from long range during the regular season was good for 2nd best in the entire NBA, trailing only Brooklyn's Joe Harris for the league's top spot. Amongst all qualifying shooters in NBA history, Marcus Morris became just the 9th player ever to shoot at least 250 threes in a season while making at least 47% of them.
In the 15 games that Terance Mann played at least 30 minutes last season, he averaged 13.4 PPG, 5.8 RPG, and 2.8 APG, while shooting 51.3% from the field and 45.9% from deep. After Kawhi Leonard's injury, Mann averaged 12.8 PPG on 56% from the field and 45% from deep. With the production the Clippers got from Morris and Mann last season, they would likely hang up the phone if Minnesota asked for both of them and a future pick for D'Angelo Russell.
D'Angelo Russell is a former All-Star; however, he is making superstar money without performing at a superstar level. In 42 games for the Timberwolves last season, Russell averaged 19.0 PPG on 43% from the field. It is important to remember that he is still just 25-years old, and made his first All-Star team at 22; however, he is currently better fit for a young team like the Timberwolves than a contender like the Clippers.
If the Clippers were to sacrifice depth for a third star, it would likely be for someone other than D'Angelo Russell.