The Los Angeles Clippers were expected to have a Western Conference Finals showdown with the Los Angeles Lakers last season. We all wanted Kawhi Leonard vs LeBron James, Paul George vs Anthony Davis, Doc Rivers vs Frank Vogel. But we didn’t get that at all, and the path to the NBA championship was made easier for the Lakers. Credit to them, they got the job done.
Next season, the Clippers are back in the mix yet again because Kawhi Leonard is still one of the best players in the NBA while Paul George should be having a redemption season. Most importantly, the Clippers lost Montrezl Harrell and will look towards replacing him with more than Serge Ibaka. Losing one of the 3 best players on the team hurts, but they have a chance to add a perennial All-Star in the Western Conference by trading for LaMarcus Aldridge. Here is why this deal should go through for both the Clippers and the Spurs.
Trade Package: Ivica Zubac, Patrick Beverley, Mfiondu Kabengele for LaMarcus Aldridge
A Big Three To Challenge The Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers are the favorites with good reason. They have LeBron James and Anthony Davis but added Montrezl Harrell, Dennis Schroder, Wesley Matthews, and Marc Gasol. On paper, no team has this amount of big names and talent on one team. But the Clippers can manage to form a potentially scarier team with LaMarcus Aldridge. A Big Three with Leonard, George, and Aldridge is probably the best in the league. The Clippers need a playmaker more than anything, but Aldridge and Ibaka in the frontcourt is one scary duo.
LaMarcus Aldridge averaged 18.9 PPG and 7.4 RPG on 49.3% shooting from the field with the Spurs. There is no reason why he can’t produce those numbers as the third option on the team. Leonard and George are excellent scorers and will do the bulk of the scoring, but Aldridge offers a player they can throw the ball to and let him go to work. As great of a player as Harrell was, he scored mainly by his energy and rim runs rather than pure post-up skills. Aldridge is a more skilled scorer who can step out for threes as well, so the Clippers will have a ton of talent to match the Lakers with this deal.
Spurs Finally Trade Aldridge And Start Their Rebuild
The San Antonio Spurs need to rebuild because Gregg Popovich is getting older by the month and the team isn’t improving on the court at all. The Spurs missed the playoffs last year with a 32-39 losing record which is shocking considering how great San Antonio has been as a playoff contender. A losing record means the duo of DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge isn’t working, and the talent around them doesn’t complement the style of play either. The Spurs will not magically improve so acquiring assets for their aging stars should be the next step.
Aldridge is 35 years old and going on to 36, meaning he is a win-now player who must be moved for rebuilding assets immediately. A package of Ivica Zubac means the Spurs have their new franchise center going forward with Jakob Poeltl backing him up with size and defense. Patrick Beverley is a Spurs type of player because he defends hard and needs to be in a situation where he can tone down his antics. Mfiondu Kabengele is a young prospect who adds to the Spurs rebuild as well, so San Antonio can free up cap space with the trade and also get rebuilding pieces in return.
Trading their All-Star to a Western Conference rival isn’t the Spurs’ way, but this might be necessary considering that the Spurs won’t be contending going forward with Aldridge on the roster.