Jamario Moon was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers early Thursday along with Mo Williams in a deal that sent Baron Davis and a first-round draft pick to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Moon was needed in the deal to make the salaries match and get the trade legal under NBA rules without forcing the Cavaliers to use their valued trade exception from the LeBron James sign-and-trade. Moon, a 30-year-old four-year veteran, is on an expiring contract, and will likely be on the fringe of the NBA going forward. He had parlayed a solid first two seasons in the league into a three-year deal with Cleveland, and backed up James before the two-time MVP split.
But if any team makes sense for what Moon offers, the Clippers might be it. L.A.'s worst position this season has been small forward; rookie Al-Farouq Aminu is years away from putting it together, and free agent pick-up Ryan Gomes isn't the best defender in the world. That's what L.A. needs most, a defender to slot between power forward Blake Griffin and shooting guard Eric Gordon. Moon has always been a plus defender despite his lanky frame; he's had a strong block rate through his career, given his position on the floor.
Unfortunately, Moon's age likely precludes him from being a long-term solution in L.A. Aminu figures to be a defensive-minded forward when it's all said and done, and given that the rookie is a decade younger than the newcomer, it would make sense to focus on Al-Farouq instead of Jamario. But in the mean time, look for Moon to help the Clippers a little bit before the end of the season. They've had far worse small forwards in recent years.