When Jared Dudley was acquired by the Los Angeles Clippers in the offseason they were hoping he’d become a big upgrade on the wing for them, but they seem to have a wealth of players in that overcrowded position. With a need for more big men to fill the frontcourt, there’s a good chance they’ll find a trading partner for him by the time the deadline hits.
According to Marc Stein (who is often wrong with his can’t miss sources) the Clippers are ‘itchy’ to make a deal and Jared Dudley, with (playing time) harder to come by and logjam at wing spots, is unexpectedly in play … hearing now he could be on move before Feb. 20 trade buzzer.
What can we learn from this? Looking at the number of players who can play the Small Forward position for the Clippers, it’s clear to see why Dudle, averaging 26.9 minutes this season, has been playing less and less over the last few weeks, appearing 19 minutes or less in the last 7 games.
Matt Barnes, Reggie Bullock, Jamal Crawford, Willie Green, J.J. Redick, Hedo Turkoglu. Not all of them are actually small forwards, but the Clippers can use these players in that position if necessary. Behind Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, there isn’t much for them to feel good about on their bench. Dudley has lost his spot in the starting lineup, and is averaging 7.9 points per game while shooting 36.3% from beyond the arc, the main reason he was brought in for.
So who is out there to take him? Not much at the moment. Dudley is signed until 2015-2016 for $4.25 million a season. In the current salary cap environment, it seems that almost anyone with a long-term deal is difficult to move unless he can help the team clear plenty of cap space. Dudley can contribute more for a team that gives him more playing time, but right now he might not be strong enough to answer a need in the market, especially for a contending team.