Busting Brackets

NBA Draft 2024: Teams exploring trade-up options to land UConn center Donovan Clingan

NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament   - National Championship
NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament - National Championship / Mitchell Layton/GettyImages

After an ascendant two-year collegiate campaign winning back-to-back national championships in dominant fashion, Connecticut center Donovan Clingan is taking his talent to the next level, where he is a projected top-ten lottery pick.

With the draft nearing, less than three weeks away, teams have begun exploring options to potentially trade up for the 7-foot-4 center. According to ESPN's Jonathan Givony, the Chicago Bulls, Oklahoma City Thunder, Memphis Grizzlies, and Utah Jazz are four teams that have discussed the possibility of trading up to land Clingan. 

The Grizzlies and Thunder are the two teams that stand out the most that are both in dire need of a true center to be the catalyst around the rim. Clingan was the highest-rated defensive player on the Huskies last season and showed all of his capabilities on both sides of the floor during the NCAA Tournament, where he had an eight-block performance against Northwestern. 

Last season, he averaged 13.0 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks. Clingan is the purest defensive big man in the draft and has the ability to alter any shot that nears his 7-foot-7 wing span and his 9-foot-7 standing reach. 

The Bulls and Jazz are both interesting teams to keep an eye on as well, but the Jazz currently have a player very similar to Donovan Clingan's lengthy style in Walker Kessler, whom they drafted two seasons ago. 

The Bulls still have Nikola Vucevic under contract for two more seasons, and he will earn a base salary of $20 million in 2024. Chicago is a very wary spot. They could choose to enter a rebuild and look to depart DeMar Derozan, Zach LaVine, and Vucevic, which would then make plenty of sense to move up and get the guy they want in the NBA Draft. 

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Nonetheless, Donovan Clingan could fall right into the laps of any of these four teams where they currently select; however, they are all in order, which could make for an interesting dynamic on draft night. The Grizzlies hold the 9th pick and are followed by the Jazz, Bulls, and Thunder.