L.A. Clippers trade rumors have gone a bit dormant lately, following a barrage of stories that the team was trying to pry Carmelo Anthony away from the New York Knicks. The thought of having Anthony join Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan got fans really excited on social media. Now that the chatter has died down a bit, fans are left to wonder if the Clippers are good enough to make it to the NBA Finals this year.
The Clippers were on the road against the Boston Celtics on Sunday, Feb. 5, but came up short in a game they really needed to win. The 107-102 loss dropped the team to 31-20 in the updated NBA standings. Paul didn’t play in the game, putting the team at a disadvantage when it came to stopping Isaiah Thomas. Thomas scored 28 points for the Celtics, dished out eight assists, and helped improve his team to 33-18 on the year. The season-series against the Celtics concludes on March 6 at Staples Center.
With this loss, the Clippers have fallen to fifth place in the latest Western Conference playoff standings. Having the No. 5 seed would mean going out on the road to start a first-round matchup. As it currently stands, that series would be against the Utah Jazz (32-19). Finishing as the No. 4 or No. 5 seed would also likely guarantee a second-round series against the Golden State Warriors (43-8). The Warriors are way out in front so far, with no roster problems that should keep them from securing the No. 1 seed.
This is where L.A. Clippers trade rumors could become interesting because, on paper, it seems like the team could have a difficult time competing with the elite teams from the Western Conference. Adding another player off the bench could be exactly what the roster needs, even if it isn’t someone who commands heavy minutes. A player like Tyson Chandler of the Phoenix Suns, or Andrew Bogut of the Dallas Mavericks might just be the perfect acquisition. They could take up space in the low post and give the second unit an impressive defensive stopper.
So far this season, the Clippers are 2-0 against the San Antonio Spurs, 1-0 against the Utah Jazz, 0-1 against the Houston Rockets, and 0-3 against the Golden State Warriors. In a span of seven days at the end of February, the Clippers must play the Warriors, Spurs, Rockets, and Charlotte Hornets. This could be the real test to see if the Clippers are ready for the postseason. Unfortunately, it comes after the February 23 NBA trade deadline, so the front office is going to have to come to a decision before reaching that point.
With no victories against the Warriors or Rockets (yet), it might suggest that the Clippers need to make some moves quickly, otherwise the team might not have enough talent to keep up with those improved rosters. The Clippers did look good against the Jazz in one game (so far) this season, but the Memphis Grizzlies are also lurking. The Grizzlies are 31-22 on the season, placing them just one game behind the Clippers and two games behind the Jazz in the latest standings. Against the Grizzlies this season, the Clippers have posted a 2-1 record.
The Clippers need help to play against teams that treat games like a track meet. In order to keep up with the offensive pace of the Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors, the team would need to add another young offensive piece. If the plan is to slow them down, then acquiring another talented big man could be the direction that Doc Rivers should take his team. It doesn’t seem as though the team will be quiet around the NBA trade deadline either way, so fans should expect that L.A. Clippers trade rumors will pick up again soon.
[Featured Image by Michael Reaves/Getty Images]