Where do the Clippers stand after the NBA trade deadline?

Kawhi Leonard (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)
Kawhi Leonard (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) /

The 2023 NBA Trade Deadline was a rollercoaster of emotions for the Los Angeles Clippers. From losing the night before the deadline to the new-look Mavericks that have yet to find chemistry on the court to the midnight news bomb that Kevin Durant was traded to the Phoenix Suns, there still was time on the clock for the Clippers to make their move.

And that’s just what they did.

The Clippers added three key players this week in Bones Hyland, Eric Gordon and Mason Plumlee. The price they had to pay for said players was Reggie Jackson, John Wall and Luke Kennard (along with draft compensation). But now that the most exhilarating mid-season NBA day is behind us, how do the Clippers fair as the next point of emphasis becomes playoff preparation?

The remaining schedule

Throughout the rest of February, the schedule for the Clippers does not show much mercy. In fact, the next time they face a team below 0.500 is against Toronto on March 8. Behind only Philadelphia, the Clippers have the second toughest schedule strength according to the Tankathon calculator.

Their early-season inconsistencies, through both injuries and on-court production as a whole, could come back to bite them when it comes to seeding with this tough stretch ahead. One glimmer of hope for the Clippers is that the month of February contains no back-to-back games. If there is any time to build consistency with the team at full strength prior to April, it has to be now.

The competition has leveled-up

Even though the rumors had been going on since the start of last off-season, the Kevin Durant trade to Phoenix still surprised many. What is also important to remember is that they are not the only team that made moves over the deadline. Here are the other additions made by playoff contenders in the Western Conference:

  • Denver Nuggets = Thomas Bryant
  • Memphis Grizzlies = Luke Kennard
  • Sacramento Kings = Kessler Edwards
  • Dallas Mavericks = Kyrie Irving, Markieff Morris
  • Phoenix Suns = T.J. Warren, Darius Bazley
  • New Orleans Pelicans = Josh Richardson
  • Minnesota Timberwolves = Mike Conley, Nickeil Alexander-Walker
  • Golden State Warriors = Gary Payton II
  • Portland Trail Blazers = Cam Reddish, Kevin Knox, Ryan Arcidiacono
  • Utah Jazz = Russell Westbrook, Juan Toscano-Anderson, Damian Jones
  • Oklahoma City Thunder = Dario Saric
  • Los Angeles Lakers = D’Angelo Russell, Jarred Vanderbilt, Malik Beasley, Mo Bamba

The biggest fish to fry are definitely the Phoenix Suns and Dallas Mavericks, but teams such as the Nuggets and Grizzlies have had more consistency throughout the season to the point where trade deadline deals weren’t as much of a necessity.

Did the Clippers meet their goals for the trade deadline?


From the rumbles that were out in the public, it seemed that the Clippers hit their target positions that they were looking for. That wish list consisted of at least one guard that could score on all three levels and a backup big man to give Ivica Zubac more rest.

According to Farbod Esnaashari, Clippers writer for Sports Illustrated, he was intrigued with how the mindset of the team showed variance over the past week.

"“A week ago, I heard that the Clippers’ ideal targets were (Fred) VanVleet and (Isaiah) Harteinstein,” Esnaashari said. “As the deadline approached, I heard more about (Terry) Rozier and Plumlee.”"

While the pursuit of Mason Plumlee was a success, they were unable to convince Charlotte to include Rozier in a deal for both parts of the pair. However, Bones Hyland and Eric Gordon can make up for what they were looking for in Rozier. Hyland is a young player that can shoot from three while bringing high energy, much like Clippers guard Terance Mann. As for Gordon, his wish list was to get somewhere where he could contend. At least through the lens of the Houston Rockets, this is an upgrade for him as well. Additionally, he does not need the ball in his hands to be effective.

It also remains to be seen how friendly the buyout market will be for the Clippers. Russell Westbrook has been the most notable candidate linked to the other side of L.A.

So will this new team work?

The greatest question in sports after a trade is made. Will it work?

The simplest answer here is yes. To what capacity it does, that remains to be seen. Many fans of the Clippers were not pleased with their point guard play this season, so a change in scenery was the best move for not only the best benefit of the team, but also the guards they traded away.

Ivica Zubac, despite being the only true center in the meat of the Clippers rotation, plays less than 30 minutes per game. That leaves nearly 40 percent of every game when the team plays with someone 6’8″or shorter at center. Asking Nicolas Batum and Robert Covington to defend a center for more than one quarter of every game is just inviting the other teams to get the ball inside. With Plumlee having the best season of his career, the Clippers now have multiple true centers that have size and defensive capabilities.

Next. Updated San Antonio Spurs draft pick situation after flood of deadline deals. dark

One of the biggest questions prior to the season will still stand the test of time after this deadline. Where does Ty Lue go from here? Who stays in the heart of the rotation and who drops minutes? This is especially important when the playoffs come around with a different speed of play than the regular season. They will have 24 games to figure out and adjust the rotation.