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Far-Fetched Friday: LA Clippers Will Blow it up Soon
By: Jake Lofgren
Okay, now I know this sounds like a serious case of recency bias, but the Clippers blowing it up soon could actually make sense if you add some context. The Clippers are fresh off of one of the most embarrassing chokes in playoff history and failed to impress all postseason. So let's take a look at some reasons the Clippers should be a little worried going forward.
Welcome back to Far-Fetched Friday, where every Friday we give you a bold prediction that we believe will come to fruition. This Friday we look at the other basketball team in Los Angeles.
Kawhi Leonard and Paul George's History
The Clippers took a big chance on two superstars last offseason by giving up a ton of their assets. And if there's one thing we know about Leonard and George, its that they aren't afraid to leave a team they don't want to be on for whatever reason. Kawhi has left two teams where he won championships in the Spurs and Raptors, while Paul George has asked for a trade from both of his previous franchises in the Thunder and Pacers.
These two superstars owe absolutely nothing to the Clippers, and both of their contracts expire next summer via player options. So if they aren't competing for a title, there's no reason to think that these two wouldn't consider leaving.
Locker Room Rumors
Towards the end of the season, we started to hear rumors from the Clippers' locker room that there was growing frustration from the team aimed at both Paul George and Kawhi Leonard. Other players felt as if Paul George wasn't good enough for the star treatment he was getting from the Clippers' staff. Some even believed that they were better than Paul George. After being knocked out by the Nuggets, rumors came out that other players didn't like the idea of Paul George coming back next season. Kawhi justifiably receives star treatment as well, but other players weren't happy with Kawhi's ability to take games off when he wanted. But Kawhi is going to do what he wants when it comes to load management, and if you don't like it . . . Well, he might leave.
Montrez Harrell is about to become a free agent this offseason and will surely get a lot of interest from other teams. Harrell was last season's NBA Sixth Man of the Year, and losing him would mean potentially losing their third-best player. Harrell is a vital part of their success, and he has earned himself a payday, but the Clippers may not be the team to give him that money. And with limited cap space, it is hard to see a clear path for the Clippers to improve this offseason. The Clippers have to re-sign players like Marcus Morris and Reggie Jackson, and the likely have to overpay or miss out on some of the better role players this free agency.
After dropping a 3-1 lead to the Nuggets, the Clippers decided it was time to part ways with Doc Rivers. The Clippers have had a lot of talent recently with Lob City and now this Kawhi team, but Rivers failed to lead them to any postseason success. So they promoted last season's assistant and former championship-winning coach, Ty Lue.
Ty Lue does have Kawhi Leonard on his team, but we haven't seen Lue have much success without LeBron James. And even when he coached that championship Cavs team, most people didn't give much of the credit because most of it went to LeBron. It is a big opportunity for Ty Lue to prove he can lead another team to postseason success and that maybe he deserves a bit more respect for his time in Cleveland.
The Clippers feel like a bunch of good players thrown onto a court and expected to get results. The chemistry between these players appeared non-existent and lost to the Nuggets not because they weren't better, but because the Nuggets felt more like a team. If the Clippers are having a rough season and tensions in the locker room get worse, it will probably be in their best interest to trade Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. They both can become free agents and could very well leave the Clippers with nothing in return. The Clippers gave up a lot to put this team together, so losing these two with nothing in return would leave the Clippers to a long and painful rebuild with none of their draft picks.
Even if Kawhi and George pick up their player options, they could very well leave that next year, especially if they finish another season without a ring.
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