Clippers, Doc Rivers

Fresh off the greatest comeback in NBA Playoff history, the upstart Los Angeles Clippers have made it a first-round series against the Golden State Warriors.

While it’s widely expected that Los Angeles will fall short of following that up with the greatest upset in playoff history, the future is bright for Doc Rivers’ squad.

Remaining in Los Angeles, the Lakers hit a major snag in LeBron James’ first season with the team. Missing out on the playoff altogether and with Magic Johnson abruptly resigning, there’s concern about the Lakers’ future.

This is a complete role reversal as it relates to the Southern California basketball scene. And with both teams likely to be active in free agency, Marc Stein of The NY Times is reporting that the Clippers are expected to beat out the Lakers once the summer comes calling.

“Heading into a free-agent summer in which the Clippers are widely expected to beat the storied Lakers to a superstar’s signature, L.A.’s long-mocked ‘other’ team has a roster full of never-quit scrappers who you can already crown this season’s undisputed Play Hard champions,” Stein noted in his most-recent newsletter.

The Clippers have never really been a top-end free agent destination. That’s changed with the legendary Jerry West acting as a consultant and with the team boasting a ton of young talent.

These Clippers have the ability to add a max-contract free agent during the summer after trading the likes of Blake Griffin and Chris Paul in recent years.

As it relates to the Lakers, they’ve been linked to some of the top impending free agents. Flush with enough cap room to add two max-contract players, the expectation has always been that the Lakers will get King James some help.

Based on Stein’s report, that might not be the case.