The Los Angeles Clippers understandably received a ton of flak when they lost five straight games to begin the James Harden era in L.A. However, the Clippers are slowly but surely finding their rhythm.
Los Angeles finally ended the losing skid this past weekend over the Houston Rockets after Harden knocked down one of his patented step-back triples to get his new team the win. The Clippers followed it up with a dominant win over Victor Wembanyama and the San Antonio Spurs.
One player who made the ultimate sacrifice is Russell Westbrook. The point guard has since relinquished his starting job on his own merit to accommodate his former teammate.
Harden's arrival has also impacted the playing time of another guard — Bones Hyland. With that said, the Clippers should find a way to trade Hyland at some point this season. Here is why.
Clippers player who must be traded soon: Bones Hyland
Simply put, Bones Hyland does not have a spot on this team anymore. There are just too many guards on the roster with James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Terrance Mann, and Norman Powell all commanding significant playing time.
With that said, the Clippers should trade Hyland soon. Los Angeles still has some glaring issues on its roster. As a result of the Harden trade, the team lost much of its wing depth, and Los Angeles could use the young guard as a centerpiece to get an upgrade in that department.
Hyland was off to a solid start to his third NBA campaign before Harden made his Clippers debut. In five games, he averaged 13.6 points and 2.6 assists while shooting 46.4 percent from the field and 41.9 percent from beyond the arc in over 26 minutes of action.
Since then, Hyland has rode the bench in five of the seven games Harden has appeared in. In three of those five games, the 23-year-old did not even sniff the floor, while the other two consisted of just garbage-time minutes.
Though Hyland called cap on a Bleacher Report story indicating that the Clippers' front office informed him he would be benched for the foreseeable future, it seems like that is what's unfolding in Los Angeles right now.
Deja vu situation for Nah'Shon
This is certainly an unfortunate situation for Hyland. He's a lights-out scorer who is capable of putting up points in a hurry.
The Clippers acquired the 6-foot-3 guard from the Denver Nuggets at the trade deadline last season. He was supposed to serve as a backup to Russell Westbrook. But Los Angeles later traded for veteran Eric Gordon, and the youngster lost his rotation spot to the veteran.
It certainly seemed like Hyland was in for a significant role this season. But with the Los Angeles native coming into town, he is walking into another similar scenario.
With that said, the Clippers should do the young guard a favor and send him elsewhere where he can actually grow and develop as a player. In the same way, Los Angeles could do better by trading him for someone who can contribute. Here are some ideas the Clippers can entertain.
Clippers trade targets involving Bones Hyland
The Raptors have a couple of big wings whom the Clippers could target. Those are Otto Porter Jr. and Thaddeus Young. Los Angeles could be better with one of those two veterans since it gives them the size they need from the wing positions.
Porter may have an unfortunate history with injuries. But it was only over a year ago when he was a starter on a championship team. Porter wouldn't need to play a big role, but he'll offer solid defense, rebounding, and efficient outside shooting for a Clippers team with tons of creators.
Meanwhile, Young is also a big wing who provides athleticism, defense, and hustle. He may not be the sniper that Porter is, but he adds more size and physicality.
Another potential target the Clippers can go after is Brooklyn Nets forward Royce O'Neale. O'Neale is on a $9.5 million expiring contract this season, and with Brooklyn not necessarily looking to compete, it might be best for them to trade the 30-year-old.
The Nets forward is still undersized for his position. But he plays much bigger than his 6-foot-4 frame.
The Texas native would be a welcome upgrade on this Clippers roster given his ability to defend and knock down shots consistently from beyond the arc. In 13 games with the Nets this season, O'Neale is averaging 7.7 points and 5.5 rebounds while connecting on 38.0 percent of his 3-pointers.