The Los Angeles Clippers entered Wednesday with a 30-25 record, good enough for eighth place in the Western Conference.
That playoff position wasn't good enough, though, and the Clippers' reaction to that could help the Sacramento Kings.
The Clippers have agreed to trade guard Tobias Harris - their leading scorer at 20.4 points per game - and others to the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday in exchange for a package heavy on veteran role players and draft picks, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported. And on a night when Harris scored 34 points and hit a game-winning shot.
Sources: Clippers and Sixers have agreed to trade Tobias Harris, Boban Marjanovic, Mike Scott for Landry Shamet, Wilson Chandler, Mike Muscala, 2020 first-rounder, 2021 unprotected 1st via Miami and two second rounders.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 6, 2019
Sixers sending 2021 and 2023 second-round picks to Clippers, per sources.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 6, 2019
Regardless of the Clippers' motives in this trade, it could be great news for the Kings. They're just one game out of that No. 8 spot, and with a Clippers roster downgrade, they might jump in the driver's seat for playoff position.
That good feeling could be short-lived, though, as Wojnarowski noted in his report of the trade:
The Clippers wanted to move themselves into contention as players in the marketplace for stars wanting to get to the Los Angeles market, and the picks could go a long way to building a significant arsenal. The Clippers didn't make the deal specifically to pursue New Orleans Pelicans All-NBA center Anthony Davis, sources said, but for star players like him who invariably become available in the marketplace.
The Kings can't worry about that now, though. The Clippers are much weaker today than they were 24 hours ago, meaning the Kings likely will have to hold off just the Lakers and the Timberwolves for the No. 8 spot.
Let our Brian Witt explain ...
Clippers are clearly punting. They & Mavs have reason to tank.
Basically leaves 10 teams for 8 spots in the West with ~30 games to go. And, really, it's 3 for 1.
There are surely more trades & injuries to come, but looking like top 7 rn are in & then SAC/LAL/MIN battle for 8th.— Brian Witt (@Wittnessed) February 6, 2019
There's a Warriors angle to all this, too ...
Tobias Harris trade could potentially have a major impact on Warriors:
-Clippers dropping out increases chances they face either SAC or LAL in 1st round
-Might make Philly the leading candidate to make it to the Finals out of the East— Brian Witt (@Wittnessed) February 6, 2019
A Kings-Warriors first-round playoff series would be great, but Sacramento actually is just four games out of the No. 4 position. Imagine that: The Kings in a 4-5 playoff series, with home-court advantage.
This Clippers-Sixers just made that possibility, well, more possible.