As NBA transactions tip off, Clippers’ moves remain hypothetical

As NBA transactions tip off, Clippers’ moves remain hypothetical

In the Instagram photo, a masked-up JaMychal Green is standing in a supermarket, hoisting a frozen turkey in each hand to promote his charity’s Nov. 21 holiday food giveaway in Montgomery, Ala.

It was an admirable gesture of goodwill – but was it also a signal of something else? The 30-year-old forward is, after all, wearing a T-shirt and shorts adorned with the Clippers’ logo in the picture he posted Monday, the day the NBA reopened its transaction window?

Green, 30, entered the week as the only player who could opt out of his contract with the Clippers, who officially announced Tyronn Lue’s fully formed coaching staff on Monday, including naming Dan Craig as the associate head coach.

For Green, opting in guarantees him the $5 million second and final year of his current deal with the team, potentially desirable in an offseason when there are a number of backup bigs available.

Then again, opting out could lead to some long-term security or potentially a raise. Or it could include a scenario in which the Clippers offer him an extended contract in exchange for a slight pay cut in the near term.

Green, who last regular season averaged 6.8 points and 6.2 minutes in 20.7 minutes per game, has proved himself an effective small-ball center when given the opportunity.

His pending decision could affect the Clippers’ decision-making process when it comes to a couple of free agents who were a part of last season’s squad.

If Green opts out and lands elsewhere, the Clippers could focus on retaining free agent Marcus Morris Sr., a hard-nosed 6-8 forward who was paid $15 million last season. He was, after all, the Clippers’ fourth-highest playoff scorer, averaging 11.8 per game on 50.5 percent shooting, including making 47.5 percent of his 4.5 3-point attempts per game.

And if Green were to decide to pursue an opportunity elsewhere, might that also affect how the Clippers view Montrezl Harrell? The 26-year-old backup center’s regular-season success earned him the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year honor, but his well-chronicled postseason struggles contributed to the team’s disappointing second-round exit. Despite those postseason shortcomings, Harrell is expected to command more than his previous two-year, $12 million contract.

And what about Wednesday’s draft? The Clippers have just a late second-round pick (No. 57 overall), but on Monday, prospect Zeke Nnaji, a center from Arizona who was the Pac-12’s Freshman of the Year and is projected to be a late first-round pick, listed the Clippers among the teams he’d worked out for in a video conference with reporters.

There also were rumblings, sparked by a mock draft by ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, that Clippers guard Lou Williams could be involved in a trade. Givony had the Dallas Mavericks selecting Aleksej Pokusevski 18th with the caveat that several teams are exploring trading for the pick, “with the Clippers and Lou Williams being a popular choice around the league as a potential trade partner.”

(Givony projects that the Clippers will select forward/center Marko Simonovic 57th.)

And then there was another rumor, courtesy of K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago, that the Clippers have interest in 26-year-old Kris Dunn, a defensive-minded guard who reportedly will become a free agent after averaging 7.3 points and 3.4 assists in 24.9 minutes per game for the Bulls last season.