Two months after seeing what was considered to be one of NBA’s biggest rosters fail to match postseason expectations, the LA Clippers took their first steps towards reshaping their lineup during the draft on Wednesday, with moves that included adding Luke Kennard from the Detroit Pistons.
A former lottery pick guard who is entering his fourth season, Luke Kennard was acquired as a part of a three-team trade that included Brooklyn, said sources.
The Clippers are trading Landry Shamet, a reserve guard about to enter his third season, to Brooklyn while sending another reserve wing, Rodney McGruder to the Pistons. McGruder’s addition was to match salaries in the trade, which also witnessed Detroit take Brooklyn’s 19th pick.
The three-team trade pared $2million in salary from the Clippers’ payroll, an amount that could indicate the team’s plans as it enters free agency, which is beginning on Friday. If the team uses the $9.3 million nontaxpayers mid-level exception to the salary cap it would trigger a hard cap, leaving the team unable to exceed the $138 million in payroll. Yet the savings in salary could help the team in using that full midlevel while also having space to re-sign some of its own free agents, such as centre Montrezl Harrell, forward Marcus Morris and forward JaMychal Green while staying under the limit.
Because the Clippers have very few other avenues to attract bigger free agents given their absence of cap space, the exception’s amount could prove to be a valuable incentive for a player believing the Clippers offer a chance to win a championship. Free agents who could be in that salary range could include Miami guard Goran Dragic and Toronto centre Serge Ibaka.