The Clippers were big winners of the NBA’s offseason yet their roster headlined by stars still left July with a few holes.
They moved closer to filling one Thursday, when the Oklahoma City Thunder waived forward Patrick Patterson as part of a buyout to make him a free agent, should he clear waivers. It comes less than three months after he exercised his $5.7 million player option for the final year of his contract. The 30-year-old forward is expected to sign with the Clippers after clearing waivers, according to a person with knowledge of the situation not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.
A career 36% shooter on three-pointers, Patterson signed with Oklahoma City in 2017 to spread out defenses with his shooting but the forward is coming off a season in which he shot a career-low 37.4% on field goals. After being edged out of the Thunder’s rotation by Jerami Grant and, later, midseason addition Markieff Morris, he averaged a career-low 13 minutes last season. He averaged as many as 24 minutes a game as recently as 2017, while with Toronto.
The 6-foot-9, 230-pound Patterson could also face a logjam of forwards with the Clippers if the roster is at full strength, but he fills the need for size and shooting the team had sought in recent weeks to round out the back half of their rotation. Patterson also has experience playing both power forward and center. Should superstar forwards Kawhi Leonard and Paul George miss time for either rest or injury recovery, he is seen as an experienced option able to step in when needed.
Like Patterson, first-round draft pick Mfiondu Kabengele and JaMychal Green are other options able to toggle between forward and center, depending on matchups.
The addition of Patterson would give the team 14 guaranteed contracts, one fewer than its limit. The Clippers are known to have strong interest in veteran wing Andre Iguodala, who was traded from Golden State to Memphis during free agency, but could also target a play-making point guard.
If Patterson joins the Clippers as expected, he would reunite with George, his former Thunder teammate, who was traded in July in exchange for Clippers starters Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Danilo Gallinari and draft picks.