Not so subtly, the Los Angeles Clippers have become the NBA kings of L.A. over the past few seasons. With injuries and salary cap issues plaguing their in-city rivals, the Clippers have been building and building. However, the Clippers aren’t looking just to shed the “little brother” role in their home city, but are instead looking to capture something that seemed like a pipe dream for this franchise not long ago.
Though the Clips were eliminated from the postseason this past year by a juggernaut in the San Antonio Spurs and they have nothing to hang their heads about, there were still problems with the roster that the organization was set on fixing this offseason. As always seems to be the case in the league, though, they also had to deal with a few monkey wrenches along the way.
The biggest free agency issue that was unexpectedly thrown at the Clippers was clearly the fact that they were unable to re-sign backup point guard Darren Collison, who played quite well for them this past season. However, this team handled the situation quite well and were able to strike a deal with Jordan Farmar, a guy who can bring a lot of offense to the Clips as a reserve.
In terms of their other losses this offseason, the Clippers also parted ways with Danny Granger after their experiment with him as a waiver-signing didn’t really work out at the end of last year. The team also made the decision to waive long-time Clipper reserve Willie Green this summer.
It’s what the Clippers added, though, that will make the most noticeable difference for them in the 2014-15 season. C.J. Wilcox was a good pickup late in the first round of the draft that will ad depth on the wings. Meanwhile, re-signing Glen Davis was a solid move to help strengthen the depth of their frontcourt. However, their frontcourt was clearly aided the most by the signing of center Spencer Hawes. Hawes gets his fair amount of flack, but he’s a guy who has NBA-level abilities and is without question the best big man the Clippers have brought off of the bench in recent memory.
The cloud that has been lingering over the franchise this offseason, though, is Donald Sterling. While it seems like he’s no longer going to be the owner of the team, there’s still nothing final on that end which brings a level of uncertainty. The players and head coach Doc Rivers want no part of an organization that Sterling is still at the head of and the strung-out litigation regarding Sterling only serves to raise tensions and questions.
Assuming everything goes as planned with Sterling, though, and he’s forced to sell the Clippers, you have to look at their offseason as a success. They identified their most glaring weakness over the past few seasons and made a concerted and solid effort to remedy it. This team isn’t without its flaws, but the Clippers look more like possible title-contenders than ever before.
Final Grade: A