Moving on from the New York-Iman Shumpert aftermath, the Los Angeles Clippers have a new potential trade target: Cleveland’s Tyler Zeller.
The Clippers and Cavs have had discussions on trade involving Reggie Bullock for Tyler Zeller, sources told ESPN
— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) February 20, 2014
Yes, Reggie Bullock, the rookie the Clippers were so willing to throw in the trade that would have netted the club Iman Shumpert (though that may have had more to do with not wanting to give him up for Raymond Felton), could be on his way out as the Clippers would grab the third big man they need and have been looking for all season. By acquiring Spencer Hawes from the 76ers, this allowed the Cleveland Cavaliers to test the market for Zeller as Hawes makes him expendable due to similar skill sets.
Part of this is seeing Zeller’s potential and the other half is him being better than any other reserve big man option the Clippers are throwing out. The Byron Mullens was a disaster the minute the pen met the contract, you knew the Antawn Jamison thing wasn’t going to work out well once he missed the first 15-plus games because of “old age”, and Ryan Hollins just hasn’t been that good this season.
Due to the signing of Andrew Bynum, Zeller was stuck on the bench as the Cavaliers had a lot of depth in the frontcourt. Once Bynum was traded, Zeller’s minutes increased and he showed that last year wasn’t much of a fluke. On the season, Zeller is averaging 4.9 points and 3.8 rebounds per game, but his numbers from the last five games, 10.6 points on 52.8% shooting and 7.2 rebounds in that time frame, gives a clear indication that when given minutes, he can be a serviceable player.
More importantly, the Cavaliers have defended well when the young center is on the court. Without Zeller, the Clippers have posted a defensive rating of 105.3, but when he’s on the floor that number dips to 102.1. This doesn’t automatically make him the defender the Clippers were seeking out, but that matters and he’d stop the bleeding when DeAndre Jordan or Blake Griffin are out for rest.
Like any other trade, this is only a rumor. If anything official will be done, they’ll have until 3 P.M. Eastern Time to make a deal.