Los Angeles Clippers: trade

Clippers push chips in with Young deal

March, 15, 2012
Nick Young, Tyson ChandlerNed Dishman/NBAE/Getty ImagesThe Clippers hope Nick Young can help stabilize their guard play with his outside shooting.

LOS ANGELES -- Even though Chauncey Billups was lost for the season 39 days ago, the thought of the Los Angeles Clippers possibly trading for a replacement in Nick Young wasn’t hatched until 10 days ago.

It was a deal the Clippers, in need of a big shooting guard, wanted to make. And it was a trade Young, a Los Angeles native who played at Cleveland High (in nearby Reseda) and USC, wanted the Clippers to make.

In the end, however, it seemed as though it wasn’t going to happen. As much as Clippers general manager Neil Olshey coveted Young and thought he could help the team, he wasn’t prepared to part with any of the assets he wanted to protect currently and in the future. Those assets included second-year guard Eric Bledsoe, future first-round picks and players currently ingrained in the rotation, such as guards Mo Williams and Randy Foye.

As of 11:15 a.m. in Los Angeles, Olshey was ready to move forward with the Clippers’ roster before he got a phone call from Washington Wizards general manager Ernie Grunfeld. The Clippers were back in the mix if they wanted Young, and the price tag was more than reasonable. They could get their talented 26-year-old starting shooting guard, and all the Clippers had to give up was a future second-round pick, which they got from the New Orleans Hornets in the Chris Paul trade, and Brian Cook, who has played all of 16 games this season, averaging 1.9 points and 1.4 rebounds.

Basically the Clippers were getting Young, who is averaging 16.6 points and 2.4 rebounds in 32 starts this season, for nothing to complete a larger three-team deal between the Wizards and Denver Nuggets that sent Nene Hilario to the Wizards and JaVale McGee and Ronny Turiaf to the Nuggets.

“I was actually surprised, I didn’t think there was any way we were going to be able to acquire a player like Nick Young for a future second-round pick,” Olshey said. “Nick has wanted to be here for a long time. He was motivated to come here. Clearly, it was part of a bigger deal and we needed to make the math work for Washington and Denver to complete their transitions.”

Olshey said he thought the deal was dead last night when he went to bed and anticipated the Clippers would not make any deals. That is, until 45 minutes before the NBA trade deadline, when Grunfeld called him. Olshey had already informed Clippers owner Donald Sterling about the prospect of the deal Wednesday night and Sterling had signed off on it.

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