The Clippers log jam at guard just loosened up a bit.
After using both of their lottery picks in last week’s NBA Draft on guards Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Jerome Robinson, the Clips traded point guard Austin Rivers to the Washington Wizards for center Marcin Gortat Tuesday.
Rivers, the son of head coach Doc Rivers, spent the better part of the last four seasons with the Clippers after playing in New Orleans his first two and a half years in the league, averaging a career-high 15.1 points per game last year. He also set a new high mark in minutes per game, averaging 33.7 as he carried a significant load for the injury-plagued team.
In return for Rivers, the Clips will acquire a 6-foot-11, 34-year-old rim protector in Gortat. Los Angeles will be the fourth stop for the Polish Hammer over the course of his 12-year career, having spent the past five in Washington. While he played a critical role in the Wizard’s path to the playoffs last year, his production fell significantly.
Last season was the first time since earning a regular starting role in 2010 he averaged less than double-digit points per game (8.4), under 29 minutes (25.3) and fewer than eight rebounds (7.6). Gortat has one year remaining on his contract and will be owed $13.6 million.
“We are excited to welcome Marcin Gortat to the Clippers, a respected player that brings years of NBA experience and additional toughness to this team. We’ve been a fan of Marcin’s for some time and this decision will help rebalance the roster by adding another proven big man to the front court,” said president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank. “Austin’s development as a player is a testament to his work ethic and desire to improve. We experienced a lot of success with Austin and are grateful for his contributions during his four seasons with the club. The Clippers wish Brittany and Austin all the best in Washington.”
With Gortat on the roster, the Clippers now have some depth at center as they await DeAndre Jordan‘s decision of whether or not he opts into the final season of his contract, which would net him $24.1 million.