The End Of The Los Angeles Clippers
ChrisThe Los Angeles Clippers were handed Chris Paul by David Stern and the NBA on December 8, 2011, after the league rejected a trade that would have sent Paul to the Los Angeles Lakers. That deal — plus the emergence of Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan — was supposed to put the Clippers into yearly contention for championships. Six seasons later, after a second-consecutive first-round playoff exit, all the Clippers have on their hands is a giant mess.
The Clips have reached the playoffs in every season of Paul’s tenure, however, they have yet to even reach the Western Conference Finals during this time. With the catch phrase “Lob City” and stars like Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan following CP3’s lead, most thought this team would at some point make a run at the NBA Finals. Unfortunately, the squads lacked of toughness, discipline and consistency would lead to disappointment ever single year.
Doc Rivers was supposed to change all this when he departed from the Boston Celtics for the Clippers in 2013. He was brought in to take the team to the next level and bring together the players inside the locker room. However, in four playoff trips, Rivers has guided the Clippers to two conference semifinal losses and two first-round exits. To make matter worse, Doc took over the front office in June of 2014, and it has been a dumpster fire.
Rivers gave his own son, Austin, a three-year, $36 million deal last offseason. Unfortunately, his son did not produce on the court posting a PER of 11.44, which ranks 258th in the NBA. This left the Clippers stuck paying a yearly average of $12 million to the 258th most efficient player in the league because his dad is the coach and general manager.
This wasn’t the only bad move by Doc in the front office, as he also signed a 37-year-old, inefficient shooting guard in Jamal Crawford to a $42 million contract. The veteran posted a PER of 12.06 this season (that ranks 237th leaguewide).
As for Griffin and Paul, the two stars can hit free agency this offseason if they feel so inclined. Paul holds a player option for $24.3 million, and Griffin has one for $21.3 million. Both guys are expected to opt out and test the market. Meanwhile, the Clippers are stuck paying nearly $49 million just for Jordan, Crawford and Austin Rivers. Good job Doc!
Sadly the Clippers’ only option is to try as hard as they can to re-sign both Paul and Griffin because they could wind up losing both with absolutely nothing to show for it. Meanwhile, the free agent market doesn’t favor the Clips. Kevin Durant could opt out, and Steph Curry is to be a free agent at the the next of the year, but neither of these two stars are going to sign with a Clippers team that might have a new coach, and/or lack the talent to go deep into the playoffs. After disposing of the Clips in the first round of this years playoffs, Gordon Hayward seems to be intent on staying with the Utah Jazz, so LA can just forget about that idea.
That leaves hand me down options like Kyle Lowry, Paul Millsap, LA native Jrue Holiday, Danilo Gallinari and Serge Ibaka. None of those guys are adequate replacements for what the Clippers could lose.
If Paul and Griffin opt to land elsewhere, the Clippers should see what they could get in return for Jordan and begin a full-scale rebuild. This is a team that got old quickly, has suffered a ton of injuries and there are a lot of bad vibes surrounding the whole organization. In fact, they might want to blow it up anyway, since this group is going nowhere fast. This group just lost a Game 7 in the first round of the playoffs at home.
As it stands, this offseason could be a disaster for the Clippers.