Clippers waive Justin Patton to open room under salary cap

Oklahoma City Thunder's Justin Patton looks to pass the ball during a preseason NBA basketball game.
Oklahoma City’s Justin Patton looks to pass during an exhibition game against the Dallas Mavericks in October 2019.
(Dave Crenshaw / Associated Press)

The Clippers waived center Justin Patton on Tuesday in a move that gives the team’s payroll slightly more breathing room underneath the NBA’s hard cap.

Patton, 23, was acquired six days earlier as part of a three-team trade with Detroit and Brooklyn that netted the Clippers former Pistons guard Luke Kennard. Patton was viewed immediately as unlikely to stay on the roster for long because of his nonguaranteed contract worth $1.7 million.

Teams can exceed the league’s $109.1-million salary cap but because the Clippers agreed to pay free agent Serge Ibaka the full midlevel exception, it meant they can no longer exceed the so-called hard cap of $138.9 million. Waiving Patton saves his salary and backup center Joakim Noah is another candidate to be waived because his salary for the upcoming season does not guarantee until the regular season’s first day, Dec. 22. The team currently has 12 players either under contract or who will be once their free-agency deals become official.