2020 Offseason Outlook - LA Clippers


Overview


At the suspension of the 2019-2020 NBA season, the LA Clippers had a record of 44-20 which placed them at 2nd in the Western Conference and 4th in the league. Last year, the Clippers acquired two star players and this season, it really showed. The Clippers have had a strong season in their first year being led by Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. They have been a consistently strong team on both ends of the court and have defeated all of their opponents at the top of the league standings with the exception of Milwaukee. What makes their season so interesting is that they have been this strong without having all of their players available on a regular basis. The Clippers have had their ideal starting line-up on the floor together for an exceedingly small number of total minutes and this has led to speculation about how strong they really are. Many believe they will be stronger once all these players are healthy together, but some believe the lack of chemistry will hurt them come playoff time. Despite the speculation, the Clippers have become one of the favourites to win the NBA title this season and they deserve the praise. The Clippers’ are due for a relatively quiet offseason this year and their main goal will be just to run it back and make another championship run. There will be a lot of attention surrounding free agent, Montrezl Harrell and they will look to try and bring him back if possible, to continue to be one of the best bench players in the league.


Salary Cap


Currently, the LA Clippers have 10 players with guaranteed contracts for the 2020/21 NBA season. They have just one player with an option. JaMychal Green has a $5 million player option which I expect him to opt into. Green is a valuable player off the bench at the power forward position for the Clippers. He is a strong defender who gets his share of rebounds and is able to stretch the floor with a respectable three-point shot. Green has transitioned from a starting role into a key player off the bench and would be a sort-after free agent in this weak free agency class if he were to turn down his option. However, due to LA’s status as a contender and its geographic location, I believe Green will opt into his deal and continue to try to get a ring with the Clippers. It is also questionable as to whether Green would be able obtain a deal worth significantly more than his option, especially given the unclear financial state of the league which makes me even more confident he will stay with the Clippers. LA will not have any cap space available but project to be well below the tax-line and will have some room to bring back their key free agents. Johnathan Motley will be a restricted free agent for the Clippers, and they will have several players from their bench entering unrestricted free agency. These players are Marcus Morris, Montrezl Harrell, Reggie Jackson and Patrick Patterson. They project to have a $5.7 million taxpayer mid-level exception available.


Depth Chart –

Free Agency


The LA Clipper will enter the offseason over the salary cap and will focus on bringing back most of their key free agents rather than going after any other free agents. The biggest news surrounding the Clippers this offseason will be the fate of key sixth man, Montrezl Harrell. Harrell has been an important player for the clippers, putting himself in sixth man of the year conversations for the past two seasons and he will enter 2020 free agency as an unrestricted free agent. Harrell’s play will earn him a much more significant contract than what he is currently earning, and I do not believe it will be worth the Clippers bringing him back. In order to bring Harrell back, the Clippers would have to let much of their depth off the bench go and as they look to win a championship in the next few seasons, having multiple quality players off the bench will be more important than just one star. For Harrell, it would be beneficial to sign elsewhere on a much larger deal where he can become a starter and have a more significant impact on a team. It will be extremely important for the Clippers to bring back players like Reggie Jackson, Marcus Morris and Patrick Patterson in order to continue to have one of the deepest rosters in the NBA. The team has enough room under the tax line to sign these players on moderate deals and I believe they will sign for slightly less with the promise of a championship ring in their future.

2020 Draft


The Clippers will take no major part in the 2020 NBA Draft. Their first-round pick will go to the New York Knicks leaving them with only their second-round pick available for them to use which projects to be the 57th overall pick.


Summary


The LA Clippers have been one of the strongest teams in the NBA this season and are deserving to be among the championship favourites. They project to have a relatively quiet offseason and will most likely run the team back with the unfortunate exception of Montrezl Harrell who I predict will move on to become a starter on another team for a lot larger salary. They should enter next season just as dominant as they were this season and they should continue to be title contenders for the next several seasons, at least until Paul George and Kawhi Leonard move onto new contracts.


Projected Depth Chart 2020/21 Season –

Players IN: N/A

Players OUT: Montrezl Harrell