The Los Angeles Clippers are 1st in the Western Conference after a good start to the season. Paul George and Kawhi Leonard are on a roll, and it seems like the two are clicking as a roster. But the goal for the Los Angeles Clippers isn't a dominant regular season, it is dominance in the playoffs. The Los Angeles Clippers have started the 2020-21 season off hot, fresh off of their playoffs loss to the Nuggets in the Orlando bubble. They are a similar team to last season, but with some solid additions like Serge Ibaka and Luke Kennard.
The Los Angeles Clippers' signings are a good fit for their roster, but they don't necessarily offer the kind of star power that moves the needle when playing against teams like the Los Angeles Lakers or the Denver Nuggets. Perhaps a trade could be made: sometimes it is the midseason trades that are key to winning championships. Someone that the Los Angeles Clippers could potentially look at is DeMar DeRozan of the San Antonio Spurs. DeMar DeRozan is a former All-Star that is a solid scorer and elite facilitator. If the Clippers were to pursue a trade for DeMar DeRozan, here is what a possible trade package could look like:
Los Angeles Clippers Receive: DeMar DeRozan
San Antonio Spurs Receive: Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams, Ivica Zubac
The San Antonio Spurs Get Veterans And A Young Prospect
The San Antonio Spurs could elect to trade DeRozan in order to avoid him hitting free agency without the franchise getting a return. DeRozan could want a lucrative deal and may head elsewhere to seek it. A DeMar DeRozan trade sending him to the Los Angeles Clippers could offer a solid return for an expiring contract. DeRozan leaving could free up some spots in the rotation, and help San Antonio develop its young players like Keldon Johnson and Dejounte Murray.
Lou Williams is a solid shot-creator when given the opportunity: he is a 3-time NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award winner and a solid mentor. Williams averaged 18.2 PPG in 2019-20, and perhaps he needs a change of scenery in order to get those numbers again. Gregg Popovich knows how to put bench scorers in a position to thrive, and he could very well get good things out of Williams. Patrick Beverley is a solid defender who can also space the floor. Beverley brings a tough defense and good leadership: those are the types of veterans you want around your young roster.
The key for the San Antonio Spurs here is the acquisition of Ivica Zubac. Zubac has received limited minutes on the Clippers this season as a backup center but could be good under the San Antonio development system. Zubac shows some promise as an inside defender, and could potentially be the center of the future. LaMarcus Aldridge will be a free agent at the end of the season, and the San Antonio Spurs will need a big man to soak up those minutes. Ivica Zubac could provide quality minutes whether starting or on the bench. Overall, this trade is a solid one for the Spurs, where they move one expiring contract into tradable assets for the future.
The Los Angeles Clippers Get Their Third Star
DeMar DeRozan could be the third option on a contending Los Angeles Clippers team. The Clippers need that piece that can tip the scales in their favor, and DeRozan's all-around play could make him that piece. DeRozan is averaging a career-high 6.7 APG. Playing under Gregg Popovich has made him a better playmaker, and DeRozan no longer has the pressure to create for himself all the time as he did in Toronto.
DeRozan could easily settle into a facilitating role within the Los Angeles Clippers and be the de facto point guard. That isn't to say that DeRozan would start at the PG position, but the team's primary playmaking could be run through him, similarly to how James Harden has focused on being the main playmaker on the Brooklyn Nets. Harden is averaging a career-high in assists next to Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. DeMar DeRozan could do the same with the two superstars in Los Angeles, and increase his assist totals even further.
Paul George and Kawhi Leonard are both capable scorers and having a facilitator like DeRozan could help the offense run more smoothly. DeRozan would still be expected to score, but in a more limited capacity. Having two superstars next to DeMar DeRozan should open up his game, and teams won't be able to double-team him in fear of sagging off the two other stars on the roster. DeRozan can also knock down 3PT shots this season when he's open, averaging 37.1% from beyond the arc for the season. While it is doubtful that DeRozan can carry a team to a championship, he would be an elite fit next to two superstars in a complementary role. DeMar DeRozan is a star that could help the Los Angeles Clippers, plain and simple.