On Thursday, the LA Clippers received unfortunate news regarding reserve center Mason Plumlee, who will be out for at least two months with a sprained MCL in his left knee. Immediately after the news came out, the Clippers revealed their interest in acquiring Daniel Theis, the former Houston Rockets center.
This makes sense, as the Clippers' depth took a significant hit, as their only other center on the roster is Ivica Zubac. In addition, the Pacers haven't been using Theis much this season, as he's found himself outside of Pacers coach Rick Carlisle's rotation, so the Clippers could nab him rather quickly.
However, they should pivot to the Rockets instead, as they could send Jock Landale, who could be a better replacement. Landale is younger than Theis and has shot considerably better from long-range than Theis in each of the last two seasons.
The Rockets could provide Clips with perfect replacement for Mason Plumlee.
And Landale is a formidable positional defender and has proven himself to be a viable rim protector. Landale's defense was on display during the Phoenix Suns' postseason run, specifically against the Denver Nuggets. Landale's play hasn't been great thus far in the 2023-24 season, due in part to an injury he suffered during the World Cup games over the summer.
The Rockets can spare Landale due to Jeff Green's surprisingly stellar play in 2023-24, as the 37-year-old NBA champion is averaging 6.4 points, 3 rebounds, a career-best 61.5 percent from the field, 66.7 percent on 2-pointers (also a career-best), and an unhumanly 67.2 percent true shooting clip.
Based on the early showing in the season, Green is easily the better option for the Rockets as the secondary center. And with the Clippers' dire need for a backup big, Landale could be the perfect replacement.
Granted, the Rockets wouldn't be able to deal Landale before December 15th, as he was signed over the summer and included in a trade before then. The Clippers could shell out two second-round picks in 2024 and 2029 (along with the salaries of Amir Coffey, Kobe Brown, and Brandon Boston Jr.) in exchange for Landale and his $8 million annual figure.
The deal would be a win-win for both teams, as it would give the Rockets draft capital, while paving the way for more minutes for Jeff Green. The Clippers would also find their replacement for Plumlee at the cost of two second-round picks.
Making matters sweeter for the Clips is the fact that Landale's salary is essentially expiring, as the only guaranteed year of his four-year deal is this one. The Clippers could do much worse than this.