The Los Angeles Clippers have finished second in the Pacific Division for five straight years, but their playoff campaigns have ended with a disappointing “Thud” each time, losing to the Warriors in the first round last year before dropping their 2020 Conference Semifinals series to the Nuggets in seven games.
Now, the team is expected to make drastic changes this offseason, changes that began with the firing of Head Coach Doc Rivers.
Just how different will the Clippers look during the 2020-2021 season?
That depends on who you ask, but according to former superstar point guard Gary Payton on NBA TV, the Clippers may very well end up moving their entire roster.
When the dust settles, it could be a very different locker room in 2020, meaning that even fan favorite (and hated opponent) Patrick Beverly could be on the way out, if Payton’s predictions come true, anyway.
“I think they’re gonna do a little more moves. I think a lot of these players are not gonna be there. I think the main two is gonna be there in Kawhi and Paul George. But I think everybody else is probably gonna be on the move,” Payton said according to NBA TV’s GameTime.
With George owed over $35 million in 2020-2021 and his bloated contract not coming off the books until the end of the 2022 season, the Clippers appear stuck in a major quandary, and team chemistry could be a concern as the offseason begins.
Recently, Kawhi Leonard’s trainer Clint Parks took a couple shots at Leonard teammates Paul George and Montrezl Harrell, in Tweets that have since been deleted. Parks said that George’s “basketball IQ (is) questionable man,” and also appeared to call Harrell (referring to him as his nickname Trezz) a “double agent.”
Meanwhile, Patrick Beverly called Lou Williams his “favorite teammate ever” last year, but there’s a very real chance the stalwart backcourt duo could be separated at some point this year, despite their immense talents.
[Read also: Clippers Franchise’s All-Time Leading Scorer — the Most Underrated Star in NBA History?]
Should the Clippers Blow it Up And Start All Over Again?
While the Clippers are in a tough spot, they may not be as far away from getting over the hump as Payton and their management seems to think.
After all, LeBron James is 35 years old while Leonard is just now entering his prime at age 29, and Harrell made major strides this season, averaging nearly 19 points while asserting himself as a top shelf talent among front court players.
The Bulls reported are interested in the rising power forward, and now the question is whether or not the Clippers see him as expendable.
Perhaps what the Clippers really need is improved team chemistry, especially between Leonard and George in the playoffs.
With Williams, Harrell, and Beverly on board, they have plenty of talented guys, but perhaps the mix isn’t quite right.
Whatever happens, it will be an interesting season for LA’s “other” team. Watch Payton’s comments in the video below:
— NBA TV (@NBATV) September 28, 2020