Mired in a six-game losing streak, the Clippers made one move Wednesday to add to their backcourt, with another soon expected to address their lack of size in the frontcourt.
The Clippers converted guard Josh Primo from a two-way contract to a standard NBA contract, said two people with knowledge of the decision but not authorized to speak publicly on the matter. According to one of the sources, Primo is signing a two-year contract, and the second year can be fully guaranteed in June.
The signing occurred Wednesday because it was the deadline for the Clippers to add a 14th standard contract to their roster following their trade two weeks earlier for James Harden.
NBA teams are allowed three players on two-way contracts, and with Primo’s slot now vacant, the Clippers will sign Xavier Moon on a two-way contract. The veteran guard has spent the last two seasons around the Clippers and their G League affiliate.
With the Clippers’ rotation already stocked with guards and ballhandlers, the highest impact move could be one that has yet to become official. Daniel Theis, a 6-foot-8 forward, agreed to a contract buyout with Indiana on Wednesday, according to ESPN, with the intention of signing with the Clippers once his exit from the Pacers is completed. His addition would fill the team’s 15-man roster.
Since backup center Mason Plumlee sprained his left knee in a Nov. 6 loss at New York, the Clippers initially turned to second-year forward Moussa Diabate for help but have more often been forced to turn to undersized bench lineups that have produced varying levels of success. Because of that frontcourt void, Theis, who entered the league in 2017 but has only played eight games in the last two seasons, could be impressed into immediate duty potentially as soon as Friday’s game against Houston.
As an assistant with USA Basketball at this summer’s FIBA Basketball World Cup, coach Tyronn Lue is familiar with Theis, who averaged 10.9 points and 5.4 rebounds while playing for the German national team. In Germany’s win over the U.S. in the tournament semifinals, Theis scored 21 points, with seven rebounds.
Primo is a former first-round NBA draft pick who was suspended by the NBA in September for four games after a league investigation found he “engaged in inappropriate and offensive behavior by exposing himself to women” while with the San Antonio Spurs. He spent training camp with the Clippers and has since served the suspension. In the first three games of the G League season this week, Primo averaged 17.6 points per game.