The Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers are set to go to battle over the city during the 2019-20 NBA season. With the key acquisitions by both teams, could the Clippers be on the verge of stealing the Lakers’ thunder?
Today we will look at how the other L.A. team has begun systematically taking the city by storm.
Landing Kawhi Leonard and Paul George
After the Raptors finished their six-game beatdown of the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors, Kawhi Leonard had a big decision to make regarding his next team. His decision to go to the L.A. Clippers wasn’t very surprising by any means.
The Clippers had an official from the team at every Raptors game for the entire season, and many major media outlets expected him to sign with them once free agency began. As the days ticked by, the Lakers were given the opportunity to meet with Leonard.
Unfortunately, leaking that information to the press didn’t sit well with Leonard’s camp, and he told the Clippers if they could land another superstar he would be the face of their franchise. The team made an unbelievable deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder for Paul George, and they now boast two of the game’s best players, who both finished in the top-10 of MVP voting.
An even better team than last year?
The Golden State Warriors didn’t walk to the NBA Finals this past season. They had a tough six-game series with the Clippers and a majority of that roster is still intact after the Paul George trade. Adding Leonard and George to a team with Patrick Beverley gives Los Angeles the best perimeter defense in the NBA.
This year the team could be even better. It should be Finals or bust for the Clippers, and we don’t think those words have ever been written prior to the start of the 2019 free agency period.
Missing out on Tyronn Lue
When the Cleveland Cavaliers fired Tyronn Lue early on during the 2018-19 season, many viewed it as a matter of time before he would become head coach of the Lakers. He took the team to three straight NBA Finals, winning it in 2016, in one of the most memorable comebacks in sports history. However, there were several reported issues regarding Lue’s hiring that made the two sides terminate negotiations.
The first main issue appeared to be the construction of Lue’s coaching staff, with suggestions that Kurt Rambis be placed on it as an assistant coach (his wife is an employee with close ties to owner Jeanie Buss). The other main issue was money. Lue was offered a three-year deal worth $18 million, even though he expected something closer to what previous head coach Luke Walton made (five-years, $25 million).
This should be considered a slap in the face to any championship-winning coach, and instead of going to the Lakers Lue is now an associate head coach on Doc Rivers’ staff in the same building.
Who will win the head-to-head matchups?
We are going to view this with everyone 100% healthy and playing in a seven-game playoff series. In a vacuum, we will give a slight edge to the L.A. Clippers, due to their perimeter defense at the wing positions and at point guard. LeBron will be able to get his buckets, and Anthony Davis is a dominant force in the middle, but if the Clippers can keep the ball out of their hands can Kyle Kuzma really carry the load?
Which team wins the battle for L.A.?
Are you going with the Lakers or the Clippers in the battle for the City of Angels? We will lean toward the Clippers and have them as a favorite to win the NBA championship. If you want more news from around the league, be sure to check out our NBA section.