Clippers News: Harden May Have Been Brought In To Replace Westbrook

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After starting the season with a 3-1 record, the Los Angeles Clippers have gone ice-cold. They’ve dropped their last six contests to fall to 3-7 and into 12th place in the Western Conference, and their streak coincides almost exactly with the arrival of James Harden, who they traded for back on October 31st. According to a report from The Athletic that came out on Friday, acquiring Harden may have been a move to replace another big name on the roster.

Westbrook Will Come Off Of Bench For Clippers

Russell Westbrook re-signed with the Clippers this off-season at a heavily discounted rate, expressing his desire to remain in Los Angeles and play alongside Paul George and Kawhi Leonard. The trio looked good at times last season and had hopes of developing their game together for this season, but the front office apparently had other, long-term plans.

In the Athletic article by Law Murray, he goes into detail about what the management of the Clippers has been looking for when it comes to their backcourt. He says that they prefer a point guard with the size and shooting ability that pairs better with George and Leonard, which is why they traded for Eric Gordon last season and why they pursued guys like Jrue Holiday and Malcom Brogdon in the off-season.

Murray says that Harden fits the Clippers’ ideals, and that the reality of the recent trade is that it was made to ultimately replace Westbrook.

Tough Test Against Streaking Rockets On Friday

The article also details the change to the starting lineup. In order to shake things up and promote a change in the win column, Westbrook will now come off of the bench, starting with Friday’s game against the Rockets. He will be replaced in the starting lineup by Terance Mann, who was actually slated to be a starter before suffering an injury prior to the season and eventually being pushed down the depth chart by Harden’s arrival.

Will the change be enough for Los Angeles to snap their losing streak? They’ll face a tough test in the Rockets on Friday night, who have conversely won 6 games in a row and are in the top-5 in the Western Conference at the start of the day. The Clippers are actually big home favorites, with the spread coming in at 7.5 in their favor.

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