What’s an owner to do?
Steve Ballmer bought the lowly Clippers franchise for 2B-taking it out of the darkness and disgrace of Donald Sterling owner.
He signed his core players,paid them handsomely, developed his own class of fans at the Staples Center, and saw them win games.
They’ve done everything right, except the biggest thing, win in post-season.
So now Ballmer is at a crossroads, and his President-GM-Coach Doc Rivers, should be in the crosshairs too.
The Clippers have found their niche in LA because the Lakers have been so bad for four years running. But make no mistake about it, the Lakers heritage forever outshines the Clippers. And the minute the Lakers start to win, the Clippers, will drop off the front page and the lead stories on the TV sportscasts. and the front page.
Ballmer has tough decisions. He gave Rivers the authority, the money and the players, and the Clippers put up winning seasons of 51-53-56-56-57 in season.
Post-season, they have never delivered. First round failures. Second round blowouts. A tough seige of injuries. Too many early exits. They don’t give trophies for trying in the NBA.
And now what does he do with the options he has to pick up on stars Blake Griffin and Chris Paul? Are you going to give them 21-23-25M per year going forward, considering what has been their most recent past?
They are paying lots of money to center D’Andre Jordan, but they’ve never made it count in April, much less into May, and never into June.
Might they be better dealing off a star or two, regroup with young talent, and try a different style.
The owner has done great things, the players and the coach have not.
You could wait another year or two, and hope they can take the next step. You can hope the injury issues plaguing Griffin will be history. Or you could worry, if you keep them all, you wake up one morning with an older team, that still has not gone deep into postseason.
The Clippers, for all the glitter, are still not Golden State nor San Antonio nor Cleveland. And with this roster, they just never will be.
Clippers basketball. It won’t slink back to the Sterling era, but you don’t want to become the Phoenix Suns, with proud past and pitiful existence now.
You lost to the Utah Jazz, a rag-tag franchise of young players. What does that tell you about your franchise, and what you should do next?
Cross-roads, crosshairs, time to cross some names off the roster and staff directory.