The Los Angeles Clippers could be ready to make a big move before the trade deadline in an “all in” push for a championship.
According to The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor, the Clippers have Toronto point guard Fred VanVleet and Miami Heat veteran Kyle Lowry on their radar ahead of the February 9 trade deadline.
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The Clippers had been initially linked to a move for Mike Conley from the Utah Jazz, but rival interest from around the league prompted them to look at other options.
O’Connor said the interest represents the Clippers reality that they must go “all-in” in a bid to win a ring.
“They’ve got no other choice,” he wrote.
“With their future draft picks mortgaged and Kawhi Leonard and Paul George potentially becoming free agents in 2024, the time is now.
“With Leonard looking like his old dominant self, and George still playing at a borderline All-Star level, it’s obvious why the Clippers would feel an urgency to go for the Larry O’Brien Trophy this year.”
O’Connor writes VanVleet would be the ideal choice to partner Leonard.
“VanVleet is overall the best target for the Clippers considering he’s only 28, he’s a relentless on-ball defender, and he was an All-Star just last season,” he wrote.
“League sources doubt that the Raptors will move Pascal Siakam or O.G. Anunoby unless the return is enormous—think two or three unprotected first-round picks or young players of near-equal talent—but it’s more probable that VanVleet or Gary Trent Jr. will be moved since they are less talented and can become free agents this summer.
“Leonard and VanVleet won a championship together in Toronto and would likely excel again in Los Angeles because of FVV’s ability to thrive off the ball or reliably run point.
“VanVleet should be the Clippers’ top target, but even if they land him, they’ll still need to add size before the playoffs.”
Which brings us to the Clippers’ next pressing need.
According to HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto, the Clipper are interested in Timberwolves centre Naz Reid as they try to provide support for big man Ivica Zubac
The will likely face competition, however, with both the Nuggets and Brooklyn Nets also targeting the impending free agent.
O’Connor reports Mo Bamba is likely to be made available in a trade while backup Knicks centre Isaiah Hartenstein is also reportedly an option for the Clippers.