We lost the battle with LeBron without a chance. The Clippers decided to flee Los Angeles
The past season was the most successful for the Los Angeles Clippers in history. The team lifted the half-century curse and made it to the conference finals for the first time. The enthusiastic leadership is making big plans for the future, but now the Clippers’ success is hard to believe. And while their titled neighbors from the Lakers will fight for their 18th championship, the sailboats are still not taken seriously.
In the offseason, the Clippers were joined by raws Jason Preston (33rd draft), Brandon Boston (51st) and Keon Johnson , as well as free agent Justice Winslow . Non-guaranteed contracts were signed by Harry Giles, George King and Moses Wright. Last month, Patrick Beverley, Rajon Rondo and Daniel Outuru were traded to Memphis for Eric Bledsoe. However, all these signings did not strengthen the team in any way. Bledsoe will receive $ 37.5 million over two years, which is an overpayment. Although there is a possibility that he will not stay in Los Angeles. Player can be included in John Wall ‘s transition dealfrom the Rockets. The problem is that Wall’s contract is even worse – $ 91.7 million over two years.
Rondo, by the way, threw problems for Tyrone Liu’s team . In the offseason, he returned to the Lakers, with whom he became the champion in the 2019/2020 season. In the spring, the Clippers traded Lou Williams for him.and two picks of the second round. The club counted on Rondo’s help in the playoffs, but he spent the decisive stage of the season, to put it mildly, unconvincingly. Now, having earned some money ($ 7.5 million), he returns to the camp of principal rivals for the minimum contract. Not the first shady deal for the Clippers, and it looks like it won’t be the last. Simply put, Rondo forced the Clippers to give up 3x NBA best sixth, Williams and two draft pick assets, made money, flopped the playoffs, and fled to the Lakers where he could actually win another title. The American media calls Rajon a double agent for LeBron, who has been “on a mission” to destroy the main competitor for a year and has now “returned home.”
Back to Wall. The veteran, who has missed nearly two hundred games since 2017 due to injuries, has a $ 91.7 million contract on hand. Bledsoe, Luke Kennard and Serge Ibaku will have to pay for him if the deal with Houston goes through. For the Rockets, any Wall trade before the start of the season will, of course, be beneficial. But why “sailboats” need John in his current form is unclear. The other day he was spotted in Los Angeles with Paul George. It was hardly a simple meeting. The NBA expert community suspiciously often refers to Wall in connection with the Clippers.
In any case, George, apparently, in the new season will have to drag the team on his own. Kawhi Leonard is still recovering from serious injury. In the last playoffs, he earned a partial rupture of the “crosses” and was forced to postpone the operation. According to team owner Steve Ballmer , the forward may miss the entire upcoming season. However, he is guaranteed to receive his $ 39 million for it. In the summer, the player signed a new contract with the Clippers for 4 years. Moreover, at first Leonard refused the player option for $ 36 million and entered the free agent market and only then accepted the offer for $ 176.3 million. Even if he manages to return to the site during the upcoming season, it is not known in what form. And there are no forecasts for its recovery yet.
But there is a new reason to joke on Twitter, where the Clippers star duo recently became the object of jokes. Los Angeles leaders were bored as they celebrated the start of construction on the club’s new arena. Kawaii Robot Leonard was not used to expressing emotions at all, but he, like George, was clearly not happy about this event. Even LeBron James laughed at the video on Twitter.
Although for the Clippers, the beginning of the construction of their own arena is an important event. And the ambitious owner Steve Ballmer certainly gives it even more special meaning. The leader expects that by the time of the move in 2024, the team will not only become more identical and recognizable, but will also win several championships. Yeah, beware, Lakers …
“We are good and will be good every year. We will build our own arena, we will have even more identity, we will have a recognizable face. There are 30 teams in the league. There are 29 other teams. And we are the team based in Los Angeles. And we have our fans. We use the slogan “We have our own AL”. We inscribe ourselves here, build an identity. And if the fans of the other city team are worried, then everything is fine. This means we are doing everything right, ”Ballmer said.
As much as Ballmer wishes, the Lakers have no cause for concern yet. Yes, the Clippers performed better last season than 50 times before. Tyrone Liu has done a good job of coaching, but he still has insufficient resources to fight for the championship. Speaking about reaching the final of the conference, it is worth considering a whole set of factors, including the luck of the “sailboats” (or the bad luck of the opponents). But the Clippers cannot count on anything more. While Los Angeles is yellow-purple and, apparently, will remain so for a long time.
And the Clippers will soon no longer be called a team from Los Angeles. Home matches will be played at the new arena in Inglewood. From a commercial point of view, things seem to be not so bad. The Clippers have agreed to sell the rights to the arena name for the next 23 years with software company InTuit. The amount of the transaction is € 500 million for the entire term of the contract. This contract is the largest in the history of the NBA for transactions of this kind. The $ 1.8 billion arena will be named the Intuit Dome. The capacity will be 18 thousand spectators.
However, a sad reality is hidden behind the beautiful numbers. The Clippers remain a second-tier team compared to the Lakers and are therefore fleeing Los Angeles and the Staples Center. Yes, Inglewood is located several tens of kilometers from Los Angeles, but the very fact of the move, the Clippers signed their own inability to compete with the Lakers on the same territory. In recent years, LeBron James has only confirmed the superiority of the “lakes” and actually squeezed the Clippers out of the city, so he has more than weighty reasons to make fun of Kawai, George and the entire organization of the main competitors for the hearts of Los Angeles residents.