Shams Charania of The Athletic broke the news earlier today:
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) October 15, 2018
The Clippers will waive Ajinca. They had seventeen players on their active roster and needed to unload two players by 2 P.M. Pacific time. By trading Johnson and waiving Ajinca, they will save $850,000 over just waiving Johnson.
In a corresponding move, the Clippers are waiving second-year guard Jawun Evans. Even though they desired to trade him, they evidently did not find a deal. With Evans and Johnson gone, the Clippers now have fifteen players and are no longer over the roster limit.
The Pelicans are adding some much-needed wing depth by acquiring Johnson. They had only two small forwards on their roster, Solomon Hill and Darius Miller. Miller is coming off of a strong season, in which he shot 41.1% from three and appeared in all 82 games. Hill is another story. He has largely been a disappointment since signing a 4-year contract worth $48 million in the summer of 2016. Hill appeared in only 12 games last season and shot a dismal 19% from three and 26.8% from the field.
Even though Johnson has never lived up to being the fourth pick in the 2010 NBA draft, he is not a bad player. He shot 40.9% from the field and 33.9% from three last season and provides solid defense. While his numbers are not that impressive, all the Pelicans need Johnson to be is the third small forward on the depth chart.
Ajinca became expendable for New Orleans with the signings of Julius Randle and Jahlil Okafor. Anthony Davis is already expected to see the majority of his minutes at center and by adding Okafor and Randle, there was no clear path to playing time for Ajinca.
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