It appeared as if former South Carolina men’s basketball great Sindarius Thornwell was set to be part of a big-time team.
News broke late Friday his Los Angeles Clippers are set to trade for Paul George and sign Kawhi Leonard, a pair of moves that change the balance of the Western Conference.
But Thornwell, who was the program’s first SEC Player of the Year and led it to the 2017 Final Four won’t be a part of it.
The Clippers released Thornwell on Saturday along with Tyrone Wallace. They also added Maurice Harkless from Portland.
Thornwell just finished up his second NBA season. He played in 64 games, starting one, for a 48-win team, averaging 4.9 minutes and one point per game.
His role became smaller after a rookie season in which he averaged 15.8 minutes, starting 17 of the 73 games he played in. LA got a full healthy season from Danilo Gallinari, plus Landry Shamet started to come on and Avery Bradley had a big role for much of the season.
Thornwell played 12 minutes in four playoff games.
He was the 48th pick in the 2017 draft and earned $1,378,242 last season. The last year of his rookie deal was not guaranteed.
Thornwell was an anchor for the Gamecocks all four years on campus. He averaged at least 29 minutes a game each season, and helped the program improve.
His junior year, USC went 25–9. The next season, it went 26-11, making the NCAA Tournament for the first time in more than a decade. Thornwell’s final season was his best, averaging 21.4 points, 7.1 rebounds and 2.8 assists, posting far and away the best shooting numbers of his career.
At 6-foot-5, he could catch on somewhere as a solid wing defender. He’s a career 34.2 percent 3-point shooter in limited attempts.