Clippers trade former first-round pick Mfiondu Kabengele to Kings

Three days before the NBA’s trade deadline, the Clippers opened a roster spot and created more financial breathing room underneath the hard cap by trading little-used former first-round pick Mfiondu Kabengele to Sacramento, a person with knowledge of the deal confirmed.

The Clippers also sent cash and a future second-round pick in the deal to receive a second-round pick, but the intent of the trade was to clear the $2-million salary of Kabengele off their books.

The Clippers are now about $2.6 million clear of the hard cap, which cannot be exceeded, and have two open roster spots.

Only two years ago the Clippers traded a first-round pick to move up in the 2019 draft and select Kabengele out of Florida State with the 27th overall pick, but he never found a place in the team’s rotation and future plans. He played in only 12 games as a rookie and was not brought by the team to the NBA restart near Orlando, Fla. In December, the Clippers declined Kabengele’s third-year option, making his departure before the deadline a seeming inevitability.