The NBA off-season has not disappointed, has it? In fact, it rarely does. The NBA off-season is kind of like MLB Spring Training. That’s the time each team has World Series aspirations. Yes, even the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim! The key difference of course is that by Spring Training each MLB roster is mostly set. The NBA off-season is when rosters are built!
What does link the two sports during those two unique times however is the unbridled optimism each team has for the upcoming season. The Los Angeles Clippers have never been overly optimistic. For decades, there was no reason to be, the franchise was bad. Laughably bad. Now however, things are much better and the Clippers are seen by many as a legitimate destination for some of the Associations very best available players. So, who will they get? Who knows! Which is what makes this time of year so interesting. Despite all the guesses by all the experts – no one really knows how this is all going to pan out.
So, with that in mind I have prepared stories to cover the best case and the worst case for the other team that calls Staples Center home. Consider all the bases officially covered.
Breaking News: In an unbelievable turn of events The Los Angeles Clippers have agreed to terms with both Kawhi Leonard and Kevin Durant. Both have agreed on four-year, $141 million maximum contracts.
The very best most Clippers fans could hope for going into the 2019-20 NBA season was for their team of noted over-achievers to bring in one of the marquee available free agents. Sure, there were rumblings that Leonard and Durant wanted to play together and the Clippers were one of only two teams that could make that happen. But, it couldn’t really happen, could it?
No fan outside of legendary Clipper fan, Clipper Darrell, would have dared dream big.
Somehow though, the Los Angeles Clippers were able to get it done. In doing so they have established themselves not only as a destination for the very best the game has to offer, but they have also edged just a little bit further from the formidable shadow that other team in Los Angeles has cast on them. In fact, the Clippers may now be “the” team in Los Angeles. These signing are that big!
Kevin Durant (likely out until the April 2020)
The Clippers are no stranger to bad luck. As long suffering fans of the franchise know, they weren’t always good. The success the Clippers have enjoyed over the last several seasons came after several decades of really bad teams. We’re talking, really, really bad teams.
It’s a testament to the franchise that no one in recent memory has brought up that forgettable past or the term “Clipper Curse”. It’s true, the Clippers, back when they were bad, were said to be cursed. No one is saying that the teams failure to entice any big name free agents to join them for the 2019-20 season to be a recurrence of the curse, but some are whispering it.
On the plus side the team does return the reigning sixth-man of the year in Lou Williams and a player who would be favored to win the award next season if not being forced to start in Montrezl Harrell. It is those starters that are a bit…thin. Well, thin in the sense that they lack star power. That was the goal for the franchise this off-season, to add a star to the team of hard-working, but star-less, over-achievers. Instead, they return the same bunch. Not a bad thing, but certainly not what they hoped for. Making matters worse, the lost Patrick Beverly who was arguably the heart-and-soul of the team.
This was interesting to write up. First, I’m not sure that a pairing of the Klaw and KD should be the Clippers best-case. There is no denying the awesomeness of both players, but when you know KD will be out for the majority of the regular season, it makes it a tough sell. I would almost prefer to see Tobias Harris in that role. No, I am not, in any way, equating Harris with Durant, but I do know that a full season of Harris trumps a partial season from Durant.
The worst-case looks like the Clippers from last season, minus Pat Bev. Not great, but still a team worth watching.
Happy NBA Free Agent Eve to all!
Jose has written for Bleacher Report, Clipperholics, OC Weekly and wrote a series of articles covering the 2010 NBA Finals for the LA Times. He lives in Southern California and is excited to watch thePeachBasket grow!