The Los Angeles Clippers appear to be stuck. Head coach Doc Rivers doesn’t seem willing to trade Blake Griffin, and that would be the best move to get them a better small forward. Carmelo Anthony had a miserable season with the New York Knicks, and he would welcome a change in scenery to a contender even with his no-trade clause. Rivers claims, though, that no major trades will be made during this offseason.
Chris Paul broke his hand at the most unfortunate time possible this postseason, and he is the other player they might consider trading. If the Cleveland Cavaliers don’t win the championship this year, then they might be interested in exchanging Kyrie Irving for another superstar. Paul would certainly fit the bill, and it doesn’t hurt that he is close friends with LeBron James. Their infamous photo on the banana boat displayed that in hilarious fashion.
The Clippers must figure out who they want to become. Paul, Griffin, J.J. Redick and DeAndre Jordan have all proven themselves as NBA starters, but their level of chemistry hasn’t always been apparent.
“I like our core and I like our bench, which was really good this year,” Rivers said to ESPN. “I think they all want to come back, and we’re going to make a strong effort to bring all our guys back. The good news about the free-agent guys who are opting out on their contracts — as they should, because everyone knows what we can spend and what we can’t spend — I can’t find one who doesn’t want to be here.”
This season looked doomed from the moment that Griffin got suspended for punching a team trainer, and he’ll have to show better judgment in the future. The Clippers ended up falling to the Portland Trail Blazers after Paul went down in that series, and Griffin also re-injured his left quadriceps during that time.
Jamal Crawford won the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year Award this season, but the Clippers still need help off of the bench to take pressure off of their starters. Paul Pierce will probably retire after not being used much this year, and it is clearly time for him to move on from basketball. The Clippers need to change. Whether it is their roster or their attitude will be up to Rivers, but they must adjust something to have any chance for championship success.