One season after reaching the Western Conference finals, the LA Clippers nave been beset with injuries to their star players and are squarely in trade conversations.
"They're pretty much open for business for anyone except their main guys and Terance Mann. I think they really are fine falling out of the playoffs and regrouping for next year."
"I think they're trying to shed the Marcus Morrises of the world, guys that have some value and maybe can replace them with younger talent, maybe cheaper (contracts), to free them to get someone else this summer."
Can Kawhi Leonard lead the LA Clippers to a championship next season?
Kawhi Leonard is one of the best players in the game right now. Leonard is arguably the best two-way player in the league other than Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Kawhi showcased his loyalty to the Clippers organization by signing a new deal with the team in the summer.
That deal will see him earn $176.3 million over four years, with the fourth year being an option. Leonard could have signed a two-year deal for the immediate future and then become eligible for a deal worth over $240 million. Instead, he signed a long-term deal with the Clippers as they have invested a lot in him in hopes of winning a championship.
The franchise, which began as the Buffalo Braves in the 1970-71 season, has never won a championship. In fact, last season's run to the conference finals was the deepest the Clippers have ever advanced. The franchise was a laughingstock in the 1980s and 1990s. In fact, the Clippers had just two winning seasons from 1979 to 2011.
Leonard and Paul George give the Clippers two franchise players who are excellent on both sides of the floor and have the experience and postseason know-how to lead the team to glory. However, the pieces surrounding them will be crucial, especially when the Clippers are willing to part ways with almost everyone on the roster.
With players like Ben Simmons available, Los Angeles must do its due diligence and enquire about every possible trade option.
The Western Conference is stacked with a clear elite top four, with the Phoenix Suns (31-9) and Golden State Warriors (30-10) at the forefront. The top four teams in the West, individually, have the most wins in the league.
The road to the NBA Finals is thus more difficult for the Clippers (21-21) midway through the season. If they can pull off a blockbuster trade for either Simmons or Damian Lillard while managing to keep hold of Leonard and George, they could become heavy favorites next season.
Q. Will Kawhi Leonard win a championship with the LA Clippers?
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