The Los Angeles Clippers just completed their most successful season in franchise history, even dating back to when they were the Buffalo Braves in the 1970’s. While it was a bitter end to an otherwise impressive campaign, the Clippers have a ton to look forward to.
Here is a look at what we can expect from the Clippers heading into what promises to be a drama-filled offseason.
Removal of Donald Sterling
Let’s get this out of the way immediately and not touch on it for the remainder of the article. NBA commissioner Adam Silver banned Sterling for life and the board of governors are likely going to vote him out of his ownership stake of the Clippers, forcing him to sell the team. While this could end up being a rather drawn out legal battle, one thing is for sure. Sterling likely won’t be the owner of the Clippers when the 2014-2015 season rolls around this fall. And that’s a good thing for everyone involved, Sterling included.
The draft is quickly approaching and is set to take place next month. Outside of DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin, a vast majority of Clippers players were not drafted by the team. They now have a first-round pick that they can either utilize in a potential trade or pick up a young bench player with upside. Looking at its roster, Los Angeles could use some depth behind Griffin at power forward. Glen Davis has one year remaining on his contract if he chooses to exercise his option for 2014 and has been an enigma of sorts during his NBA career. Meanwhile, both Antawn Jamison and Ryan Hollins don’t figure into the Clippers long-term plans.
Patric Young (Florida) and Mitch McGary (Michigan) could both be options towards the back end of the first round. Another option could be to potentially use one of their assets to move up in the first round. Moving someone like Darren Collison, who would start for a majority of the teams out there, could potentially get the Clippers within breathing distance of players such as Adreian Payne (Michigan State), Noah Vonleh (Indiana) and Dario Saric (Croatia).
Hedo Turkoglu, Ryan Hollins and Danny Granger are all set to be free agents. Meanwhile, Glen Davis holds a player option for about $1.2 million. Outside of Davis, none of these players figure to be returning to the Clippers. If that’s the case, they can likely sign a mid-level free agent without going over the tax. While that money could be used on someone like Granger, there are other options out there.
Jason Maxiell, Tyler Hansbrough and Boris Diaw could all be veteran options to back up Griffin at the four. Meanwhile, the Clippers could use depth behind Jordan at center, especially if they intend on utilizing Griffin at the four when Jordan is not on the court. In that case, Chris Kaman and Jermaine O’Neal could be solid fits.
As I mentioned before, the Clippers have a gem in terms of potential trade bait in Darren Collison. With a salary of under $2 million next season, Collison is an attractive trade chip for teams in need of a point guard. Los Angeles could package him along with its first-round pick and some other throw-ins in order to acquire a third scorer behind Paul and Griffin. Some super star options are to be had out there on the trade market, especially if the price is right. It’s just up to the Clippers to find a potential fit. Carmelo Anthony in a sign-and-trade, anyone?
The future is bright for Doc Rivers and Co. They are going to be in contention for a Western Conference Title over the course of the next few seasons. It’s now about finding a potential upgrade at small forward or shooting guard. If the Clippers are able to add another star to this deep roster, they could take the next steop from contender to favorite. It should be a very interesting offseason.
Photo: Mark D. Smith, USA Today