The Los Angeles Clippers appear to be planning ahead for the 2020-21 NBA season, as the team reportedly has its eye on one free-agent target — erstwhile Chicago Bulls point guard Kris Dunn.
As reported by K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago, Dunn is expected to miss the rest of the 2020-21 campaign after suffering a strained MCL in his right knee. While his playing time and other statistics took a dip in 2019-20 as he transitioned to a backup role, Johnson referred to his current season as a “reclamation project,” one where he ultimately accepted his reserve status and established himself as a top defensive player after looking “disengaged” in the offseason. But since Dunn is in the final year of his rookie contract, rumors have swirled regarding his future in Chicago going forward.
“League gossip has existed all season that the Clippers are at least one team that planned to show interest in Dunn this offseason,” Johnson wrote. “Whether his injury changes that or what other teams get involved is unknown.”
As the No. 5 overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, Dunn has yet to develop into a consistent offensive threat, as he averaged just 7.3 points and shot a career-low 25.9 percent from three-point range this season before getting injured, per Bleacher Report. He did, however, average an even two steals per game — second in the league behind Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons — and convert a career-high 44.4 percent of his shots from the field in the 2019-20 campaign.
Talking about how Dunn could fit in with the Clippers if he signs with the team, Bleacher Report wrote that his defensive-oriented mentality makes him an ideal addition to a team that features elite defenders such as superstar forwards Kawhi Leonard and Paul George and combo guard Patrick Beverley. The publication added that the former Providence Friars star could benefit from Beverley’s presence as a veteran member of the Clippers’ backcourt and step up as his heir apparent as starting point guard. This, as further noted, is a role that was supposed to be played by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander before he was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder last summer.
While Dunn looks like a potentially good catch as a free-agent target for the Clippers, Bleacher Report also warned about the possibility of the Bulls extending a qualifying offer to the young playmaker on or before June 29, thus allowing them to match any rival teams’ bids this summer. The outlet, however, speculated that Chicago’s crowded backcourt situation could also force them to let Dunn walk away as an unrestricted free agent.