LA Clippers' Future Outlook

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

After discussing what the lottery teams are going to be facing going into the future, it's now time to discuss the postseason teams prematurely. However, I feel that doing this now also explains a bit about what is possibly at stake for teams. Will the Bucks' results actually affect Giannis' decision? If Philly fails, do they trade Embiid or Simmons? Does the small-ball experiment in Houston actually work? All of these are examples for the remaining NBA teams (and the Warriors, who likely will return next season to a much better standard of basketball) and why their future will be impacted by the playoffs.

The Clippers by many were favored to win the NBA title the second they got both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George on the same day last season. The hype continued when they got Marcus Morris at the trade deadline, and then Reggie Jackson from buyout free agency. And even at 21 games over .500 at this point in the season, it almost feels as though the Clippers are underachieving. They don't have the pressure that comes with having LeBron James or being the biggest franchise in the city, so I don't think that's it. But where do the Clippers truly stand in the future, should they falter in the West before making the Finals?

WHO'S GONE: F Marcus Morris, F/C Montrezl Harrell, F/C JaMychal Green, PF Patrick Patterson, PG Reggie Jackson

These are some pretty good free agents, and all of them are capable of playing significant roles on most NBA teams. Morris I think is a bit over-hyped since he was the biggest acquisition by a contender via trade at the deadline, but he's still a good player. Harrell is scoring 18.6 points and bringing in 7.1 boards mainly off the bench, and he will be asking for a big payday. Green has a $4.8 million option, and while he has consistently been a solid player he may still accept it. I'm really not sure with him. Jackson will look for another contract later, but for now is willing to ride the bench with a contender.


C-Ivica Zubac, Mfioundu Kabengele

PF-Kawhi Leonard

SF-Paul George, Rodney McGruder

SG-Landry Shamet, Terance Mann

PG-Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams

They will have Leonard and George for at least the next two seasons, but Williams and Beverley are both older and getting up there in age. Shamet is the youngest significant player, but he's not much more than a solid role guy. Zubac is underrated but talented, but doesn't get much minutes with the depth up front as well as having the best scoring backup big in the NBA behind him.


The Clippers won't lose a ton of salary weight in free agency, and they are going to need depth on this roster with Kawhi's load management and the aging of the roster. This is definitely the best chance they will have to win a ring, mainly because I can't tell you who will be with them next year in addition to these nine, but that doesn't mean this is the end after this season. They will have Leonard, George, Beverley, Zubac and Shamet under team control for the next two seasons or more, so they have their foundation. The pressure isn't on the Clippers anymore, either.

If they make the Finals, win or lose this is a successful season for the Clippers. Players will definitely want to return, and while I think they need Harrell or Morris back, they might not afford either and for sure won't get both. The cross-stadium rivals have the pressure on them this season, and that means the Clippers can take a bit more time and wait out LeBron's age a bit. Should they lose before making the Western Conference Finals, which is possible if they have to go on the road to Denver four times or run into a potentially red-hot Houston team, then this season is a failure. They need to get to the Conference Finals at all costs, and with the additions of Morris and Jackson in season, that shows they are trying. If they don't get it done this season, they likely will have one mor chance next year before Kawhi or George gets unhappy and starts thinking about the trade block again.