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REPORT: Clippers’ Austin Rivers traded to Wizards for Marcin Gortat

Austin Rivers

The LA Clippers have traded guard Austin Rivers to the Washington Wizards in exchange for center Marcin Gortat, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports.

Rivers is coming off a career year with the Clippers, and now joins a Wizards team that has struggled to compete with the Eastern Conference’s best teams in the Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics. He averaged Rivers averaged 15.1 points, 2.4 rebounds, 4.0 assists, and 1.2 steals per game on 42.4 percent shooting from the field and 37.8 percent from beyond the arc.

Rivers recently opted into the final year of a three-year deal with the Clippers that will pay him $12.6 million.

The Clippers, meanwhile, acquire a center at the tail-end of his contract, and someone who will likely be a stop-gap center for the 2018-19 season. Gortat averaged 8.4 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 1.8 assists for the Wizards last season in 82 games. Gortat is owed $13.6 million next year.

While this trade may come as a surprise to most, the writing was on the wall for the Clippers to deal away a number of their veteran guards following the 2018 NBA Draft that saw them bring in a pair of young guards. In addition to this move, acquiring a center like Gortat on an expiring deal likely means that the Clippers aren’t confident in their chances to retain DeAndre Jordan, who has a player option that needs to be decided on by June 29th.

Marc Stein of the New York Times reported earlier today that the Dallas Mavericks are a team interested in Jordan and could trade for the center if he opts into the final year of his deal that will pay him $24 million. ESPN’s Woj adds that the team could certainly look to move Jordan if he opts in.

Gortat gives the Clippers a starting-level center should DeAndre Jordan opt-out of his $24.7M contract before Friday’s deadline. Even if Jordan opts-in to the deal, the Clippers and Jordan would work together to find a trade out of Los Angeles before — preferably well before the February trade deadline.

NBA free agency begins on July 1, and there’s a lot more that can happen by that day.