Clippers: There is one man that makes trading DeAndre Jordan worth it

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

After losing star power forward Blake Griffin to a sprained MCL the Clippers’ hopes are essentially diminished.

Well, it wasn’t like the Clippers were real title contenders to begin with, right? After trading Chris Paul to the Houston Rockets the Los Angeles Clippers were turning the franchise over to Blake Griffin. The significantly less firepower did not stop the potential of this Clippers team.

Griffin was set to have a breakout year. The team was significantly deeper than last season by adding Lou Williams. Patrick Beverley, Danilo Gallinari and Milos Teodosic. Of course, in typical Clipper luck, four of the five have already caught the injury bug this year.

There has been one constant, one anchor holding the Clippers down to their routes. That, of course, has been center DeAndre Jordan. He is not the best center in the game by any stretch. However, he is a consistent rebounding, shot blocking, 10 or so points per game scorer.

Jordan is all-star caliber. However, he is not a superstar. Jordan will not carry a franchise on his back, lead his team to victories or be the face of many billboards. He is a great key player, yes, but is not a superstar.

This is exactly what several contending teams need; a solid, all-star caliber center that can play a particular role.

Enter the Cleveland Cavaliers, who could desperately use Jordan’s size and defending around the rim. In terms of players, Tristan Thompson is the most viable return for Jordan’s services. However, this is not the “savior” of the Clippers, no. Thompson is nothing to get excited about.

Instead, the man that makes it worth trading DeAndre Jordan is none other than Real Madrid’s own Luka Doncic.

The 18-year-old European star is set to enter the 2018 NBA Draft. Sports Illustrated ranks Doncic as the third-best prospect in the draft, Aran Smith of NBADraft.Net has him fifth. The Cleveland Cavaliers have the coveted key to unlock Doncic in Los Angeles: the Brooklyn Nets unprotected first-round draft pick.

Right now, that pick is good enough for 11th. However, the Nets are over-performing and their inflated status relies on some slow starts from other teams. The Charlotte Hornets, Memphis Grizzlies, Los Angeles Lakers and maybe even the Clippers could be better than Brooklyn.

That moves the pick down to seventh, which is still risking it. Of course, though, the NBA Lottery does some crazy things and the Clippers still have their own pick. At the end of the day, Los Angeles has two shots in the top ten in the draft lottery.

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Which is perfect for the Clippers. Adding the Nets pick practically assures the team gets Doncic. Either they get a high pick, or they package the picks together and move up in the draft. With the other big names in the draft being centers and forwards, Doncic is the only logical choice that high.

And it would not be a bad choice. Doncic possesses that playmaking ability that translates to the NBA. His basketball IQ is high, his rebounding is great for his position and his ability to slash to the basket will translate well. At six-foot-eight, Doncic would tower over his fellow NBA point guards.

Doncic has the potential to be a consistent 20 point, five rebound and five assists producer per night. With his size and playmaking ability, a triple-double is possible every night. Doncic very well could be the Clippers’ version of Ben Simmons.

To ensure the team has a shot at getting Doncic they need to trade Jordan for that pick. It is a deal that benefits both sides; the Clippers get their guy of the future and the Cavs get the final piece to march towards another title.

Next: Four trade scenarios for Jordan

This definitely is a risk for the Los Angeles Clippers. However, with Jordan’s player option after this season, it is a risk worth taking.