Blake Griffin is still with the Clippers but Lance Stephenson might be traded
Blake Griffin is back around the Clippers and doesn’t appear to be going anywhere.
Lance Stephenson never left and could be on the move.
There was plenty in flux Wednesday as the Clippers navigated the final hours before the trade deadline, assessing possible moves involving Stephenson.
The Clippers had expressed interest in New Orleans Pelicans forward Ryan Anderson and Orlando Magic forward Channing Frye leading up to the deadline to move players at noon PST on Thursday, according to an executive close to the situation who was not authorized to discuss possible trades publicly.
New Orleans is believed to be seeking a trade for the 6-foot-10 Anderson because of concerns about re-signing him in free agency over the summer. Anderson, 27, could command roughly double the $8.5 million he is receiving this season in the final year of his contract. He’s averaging 16.7 points and 5.9 rebounds per game, and making 38.3% of his three-point shots.
Frye, 32, has become expendable because the Magic moved rookie power forward Aaron Gordon into the starting lineup. Frye is averaging 5.2 points and 3.2 rebounds, and shooting 39.7% from three-point range.
The Cleveland Cavaliers also reportedly had interest in Frye, who has two more years and $15.2 million left on his contract, but USA Today reported the Magic was unwilling to accept a proposed deal that would have involved Cleveland’s Anderson Varejao.
The Clippers acquired Stephenson and Josh Smith last summer. Smith was traded to the Houston Rockets last month and Stephenson has been used sporadically in recent weeks after an extended tryout over the season’s first two months.
Stephenson did not practice Wednesday because of what the team said was a strained right hip flexor. He was listed as questionable against the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday night at Staples Center, although Coach Doc Rivers said he did not think the injury was serious.
Stephenson, 25, is averaging 4.7 points and 2.5 points in 15.8 minutes per game.
A trade for a big man would do nothing to help the Clippers’ immediate needs for point-guard depth with backup Austin Rivers likely sidelined at least another two weeks because of a broken left hand.
Doc Rivers said he was committed to playing starter Chris Paul “his normal minutes” after a recent stretch in which Paul’s minutes soared and he was forced to defend the opposing player’s top guard, an assignment usually reserved for Austin Rivers. Paul has averaged 38.8 minutes over his last four games and 33.0 minutes overall.
“I just don’t like his usage right now,” Doc Rivers said of Paul. “He’s having hard minutes because the other guy that would guard the [top perimeter] guys is not here. So we’re going to figure out another way.”
Rivers said increasing backup Pablo Prigioni’s minutes to help defensively was not a realistic option because he’s not suited to stop big, athletic guards. The Clippers are considering signing a backup guard to a 10-day contract after the trade deadline passes, Rivers said.
Griffin has rejoined the team and is expected to be at Staples Center on Thursday for the Clippers’ first game after the All-Star break, although his return from a broken hand is probably several weeks away.
“Now we can get back to the regularly scheduled programming,” Paul said.
CLIPPERS VS. SAN ANTONIO SPURS
Where: Staples Center.
On the air: TV: TNT; Radio: 980, 1330.
Records: Spurs 45-8; Clippers 35-18.
Record vs. Spurs: 0-1.
Update: The Spurs’ losses have come on the road but they still have the second-best road record (17-8) in the Western Conference behind Golden State’s 24-4. The Spurs will be without Matt Bonner (left calf strain) and Manu Ginobili (groin surgery).
Follow Ben Bolch on Twitter @latbbolch.
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