The LA Clippers are several weeks removed from their disappointing collapse in the playoffs. The lackluster effort has quickly led the Clippers to move toward a renewed focus this offseason. The new sense of direction could potentially see them bring a former NBA MVP aboard.
Clippers’ disappointing end to 2020 playoff run
Despite what Paul George may have stated, the LA Clippers entered the 2019-20 campaign with championship expectations.
The Clippers experienced their fair share of ups and downs throughout the year but finished the regular season with the Western Conference’s second-best record. The issues began to arise in the playoffs as they worked their way past the Dallas Mavericks in six games in the first round.
Their championship hopes came utterly crashing down in the semifinals after letting a 3-1 series lead slip through their hands against the Denver Nuggets. Since then, the Clippers have moved into high gear to shift things up ahead of next season.
These plans could see them acquire one of the league’s top talents.
Clippers could pursue acquiring Russell Westbrook
The LA Clippers are heading into an offseason where much change could occur to their roster.
Early reports have already indicated that star forward Kawhi Leonard has voiced a strong desire for the franchise to acquire a playmaking point guard. The Clippers may be moving to meet those demands as Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer stated that the franchise has expressed interest in Russell Westbrook.
“I have had multiple sources that I trust tell me teams believe Russell Westbrook could be had,” O’Connor said. “I have heard that the Clippers have interest. I have have heard the Knicks have interest.”
The star point guard is coming off his first campaign with the Houston Rockets. The season didn’t end particularly well in the playoffs as Westbrook struggled with his shooting that saw him average 17.9 points on 42.1% shooting from the floor and 24.2% from 3-point range. His offensive shortcomings were on full display against the LA Lakers.
A nagging knee injury hindered his production, but it further underlined his usual postseason shooting woes. The Clippers are cap-strapped but have the contracts to move to make it financially happen. Westbrook is currently in the third year of his five-year, $206.7 million deal that includes a $47 million player option for the 2022-23 campaign.
The dynamic with the long history between Patrick Beverley would be quite intriguing to see unfold as teammates. The 31-year-old’s contract is a tough pill to swallow, but a potential move to take that massive financial commitment would further underline championship-or-bust expectations in LA.
Expect more change to come in LA
The LA Clippers have already moved quickly in the offseason to make some notable changes.
The decision to move off longtime head coach Doc Rivers has put a new face in charge with Tyronn Lue. The Clippers kept their star players Kawhi Leonard and Paul George involved in that process that now changes the approach quite much.
There has remained chatter that other notable core pieces could be gone this offseason. Reigning Sixth Man of the Year Montrezl Harrell will likely cash in significantly in free agency with another team. Harrell struggled in the playoffs, which could see a needed shift in the frontcourt to push the Clippers forward.
Veterans Reggie Jackson and Patrick Patterson may also venture elsewhere in the open market. The Clippers could head in many different avenues, but it’s evident the team wants to shift things into high gear to compete for a championship next season.