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Report: Clippers open to John Wall trade for backup big man

Denver Nuggets v Los Angeles Clippers

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 13: John Wall #11 of the LA Clippers looks on during the game against the Denver Nuggets on January 13, 2023 at Crypto.Com Arena in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2023 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

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One of the season’s better stories is John Wall’s return. He had played 40 games over the three seasons prior to this due to a combination of injuries and being in Houston at the wrong time. This season he has been solid in a backup role with the Clippers, averaging 11.4 points and 5.8 rebounds a game, being a quality floor general with the reserves.

However, the Clippers need a spark — and their two best players to be on the court consistently, but that’s another issue entirely — and Shams Charania of The Athletic reports they are willing to trade Wall to get it in the form of a backup big.

The Clippers are searching for depth in the frontcourt and have discussed guard John Wall in potential deals, league sources say. Behind Ivica Zubac, the Clippers have relied heavily on two-way big man Moses Brown but have also looked into a more accomplished center.

The Clippers also reportedly have interest in Jazz point guard Mike Conley, which would change the pecking order at the one in L.A.

Wall is making $6.5 million on a two-year contract with the Clippers (his $6.8 million is a team option).

There are name bigs available such as Jakob Poeltl or John Collins, but the Clippers might be looking more at someone like Nerlens Noel (also reportedly available from the Pistons, and the Clippers could get him with Wall and a player on a minimum).

Halfway into the fourth season of the Kawhi Leonard/Paul George era with the Clippers, there is still a “let’s see what we’ve got when everyone is healthy” feeling around this team, but at this point are we ever going to see it? If we do later this year, will it be with enough time to build good habits, such as sharp defensive rotations that they will need in the postseason — this is not a “flip the switch” team with a reservoir of good habits they can dip into (like the Warriors), the Clippers have never built that with this unit. There are games, even stretches of games with Leonard playing where you can see the potential of this team, but at this point it’s hard to imagine them sustaining that level.

A trade would help bring a spark, even if it’s just for a backup big man. But it will take more than that in Los Angeles, where the Clippers will head into the summer with some big questions to answer — starting with what to do with Wall.