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#pounditThursday, March 23, 2023

Clippers reportedly targeting former All-Star guard

Aug 18, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer at press conference at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The LA Clippers have a roster upgrade in mind as they try to keep afloat in the Wild Wild West.

Veteran NBA reporter Marc Stein wrote this week on his Substack page that the Clippers are interested in a potential trade for Utah Jazz veteran point guard Mike Conley. The 35-year-old Conley is making $22.7 million this year with a partial guarantee of $14.3 million for 2023-24.

At 23-22, the Clippers have been a mild disappointment this year, though much of that is because of day-to-day roster volatility thanks to various injuries. Their current point guards Reggie Jackson and John Wall (the latter of whom will now be out for at least two weeks with an abdominal strain) lack efficiency and have a general tendency to make the ball stick. The energetic and defensively-stout Terance Mann has been the Clippers’ best option at the position lately. But Mann is not a true point guard and only averages 1.9 assists per game for his career.

The good news for the Clippers is that they are still sixth in the West. But the bad news is that they only have 1.5 games of clearance over the 12th seed in a highly-crowded postseason race. Just one week of poor play could cost the Clippers dearly in the standings.

The Jazz, meanwhile, were a pleasant surprise at the start of the season but now sit below .500 with less than a month to go before the Feb. 9 NBA trade deadline. The former All-Star Conley, a 16-year NBA veteran, does not fit in with Utah’s long-term timeline. But as a 3-and-D ball-mover who does all of the little things, he might fit in with the win-now Clippers (assuming they don’t trade their assets to shore up another position of need instead).

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