Eric Patten: A
Once the Clipper recommitted to Milos Teodosic, it created a roster logjam. Dekker was the obvious veteran choice to be shipped out, and the Clippers were able to find a taker in Cleveland. Trading him for anything after the season he had in 2017-18, where he was virtually unplayable, is a bonus. In fact, I think I remember what the compensation was from the Cavs, but I didn’t even bother to confirm it. Not because I’m lazy, but to further illustrate the point that Dekker is addition by subtraction. Note: it’s painful to say that because I was generally intrigued by Dekker’s arrival as part of the Chris Paul trade. I thought he was underused by Houston and never got a fair shake after returning from injury.
Kenneth Armstrong: A
I should admit that I was fairly excited when I heard that Sam Dekker was included in the CP3 trade. His frame and athleticism, youth, and the foolish idea that he could improve his shooting gave me the idea that he might be able to play meaningful and productive minutes behind Blake and Gallinari. He certainly got the opportunity to make good on my expectations, but he just fell short. He couldn’t shoot and could not keep up with the flow of the game well enough to justify the Clippers giving him any more attention. I liked the trade because it was consistent with the Clippers’ commitment to freeing up dead weight on the roster in preparation for the 2019 summer. I genuinely hope Sam gets a chance to prove himself in Cleveland, and suspect that he will be better off on the Cavaliers anyways.
Robert Flom: A
Again, there’s not too much to say about this trade. Sam was considered a nice piece in the Chris Paul deal, a young rotation wing with upside for further growth. Instead, he regressed in Los Angeles, losing all ability to shoot from outside and struggling to find ways to contribute on the court. The Clippers being able to trade him rather than waive him saved them some money, and also did Sam a solid by giving him a better opportunity to get minutes (and just stay in the league). Dekker was near unplayable last year, so getting anything at all in return warrants an A grade. I do think he might play better next season in Cleveland, but there was just no room for him on the Clippers’ roster anyway.
Michelle Uzeta: A
Sam Dekker was dead weight, and frankly, I’m glad he is gone. This past season, his third in the league, Dekker averaged 4.2 points on 49.4% shooting, 2.4 rebounds and .5 assists in 12.1 minutes per game. Despite the Clippers hobbled roster, Dekker fell out of the rotation early, losing minutes to rookies and two-way players like Jamil Wilson, Sindarius Thornwell, CJ Williams, and Ty Wallace and never really bounced back. Dekker was not particularly good on either end of the floor, and his 3-point shooting percentage was a dismal 16.7%.
The Clippers got the draft rights to rights to Vladimir Veremeenko and a $2.8 million exception from the Cavaliers for Dekker, and now need only trade or waive one other player to reach the NBA’s 15-player roster limit. Pretty good deal.