“Clippers-Vote of Confidence-Why?”
Their NBA season came to a crashing-quick conclusion, these LA Clippers, of whom so much has been expected, but little delivered.
It ended with players bleeding from a gash on a face, ended with an ice pack on a quad, ended with a hand in a cast headed towards surgery.
Healthy or hurt, the best stars on the team have not been able to get to the finish line. This spring it was an injured quad to Blake Griffin; the broken hand to Chris Paul; the heel injury to JJ Redkick; and the blood spilled for Austin Rivers.
Steve Ballmer bought the LA Clippers, leading them out of the dark room that was the ownership of Donald Sterling. He paid 2B for a franchise that had been a joke, but whom many thought had a future.
Doc Rivers was head coach, and was given the upgrade also to Presidetn of Basketball Operations.
Ballmer opened his checkbook again to keep big center DeAndre Jordan, after taking on contract extensions for Blake Griffin, and inheriting the deal for Chris Paul.
A big three to rival most anybody in the NBA. 3-superstars, who play together.
But nothing has ever come together for the other team at the Staples Center. The Clippers have had good seasons, but not postseasons that went deep into spring.
They may want to see themselves as the replacement for the heritage that used to be Lakers basketball, but no one feels that way. Not the fans in the LA market; not the media; and surely no one inside the Staples Center, where retired Lakers jerseys and championship banners are everywhere.
Rivers has had 3-full seasons to find the additional parts. He hasn’t gotten the job done. The bench parts just haven’t been consistent. Finding the right complimentary pieces to add to his big three, have not happened.
Having good regular seasons is fine, but playing into late May or June is what it should be all about.
Now the Clippers have a different type of problem. Not with the tacky ownership that was Sterling, nor the turnover of coaches, or the constant defection of players, nor playing in the dirty-dingy Sports Arena.
No, they are capped out. The big thred count 64M-against the 827M-salary cap, and the big question is how to find additional players to come to LA who can make a difference. Hasn’t happened yet, might never happen.
Maybe Ballmer and Rivers really do need to think about a mega trade.
Griffen to Oklahoma City for soon to be free-agent Kevin Durant. Maybe Paul to the Knicks for unhappy Carmelo Anthony.
It’s pretty tough to be in the NBA West, with what Golden State has become, whom San Antonio was and still is, and how Oklahoma City has arrived as a force. Being a winner is no longer enough.
The Clippers have gotten to a plateau, and just cannot get off it. Giving votes of confidence from owner to coach, coach to players is nice. Winning in postseason would be nicer.
The Clippers may need to subtract so they can add further.