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Ranking the LA Lakers' and LA Clippers' 5 biggest signings and extensions — Who won?

Los Angeles Lakers v Los Angeles Clippers
Los Angeles Lakers v Los Angeles Clippers
ANALYST
Modified 23 Dec 2020, 10:04 IST
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It was a very busy offseason for the LA Lakers and LA Clippers, two title contenders for the 2020-21 NBA season who share the same home floor. After they won the title last season, the Lakers didn’t rest on their laurels and quickly went to work by revamping their roster in a bid to repeat as champs.

The Clippers had a disappointing end to their 2019-20 campaign when they lost to the Denver Nuggets 4-3 after giving up a 3-1 series lead in the conference semifinals. They made wholesale changes including the firing of coach Doc Rivers and elevating assistant coach Tyronn Lue to replace him.

How did the LA Lakers and LA Clippers do this offseason with the contracts they handed out this offseason?

Let’s compare the two teams’ offseason spendings, rank them based on the money each team committed to their players, and then grade each one. Afterward, we’ll total the grades and see which team won the “battle of the budget” this offseason between the NBA’s LA teams.

LA CLIPPERS

5. Patrick Patterson

2020 Offseason Deal: 1 year / $3 million

The LA Clippers re-signed Patterson on a one-year, cap-friendly deal. He's a good, serviceable player in the LA Clippers’ frontcourt. The veteran forward averaged 4.9 points per game last season and, more importantly, shot 39 percent from long distance.

Grade: 5/10

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4. Serge Ibaka

2020 Offseason Deal: 2 years / $19 million

Toronto Raptors v Chicago Bulls
Toronto Raptors v Chicago Bulls

According to reports, Serge Ibaka’s second year is a player option. Ibaka gives the LA Clippers some much-needed versatility in the frontcourt. Able to guard multiple positions, Ibaka is an upgrade defensively over Montrezl Harrell who signed with their rival LA team. He averaged 15.4 points per game last season for the Toronto Raptors.

This is a huge win for the LA Clippers.

Grade: 10/10

3. Luke Kennard

2020 Offseason Deal: 4 years / $64 million

Acquired in a trade with the Detroit Pistons this offseason, Luke Kennard agreed to an extension with the LA Clippers.

Kennard is an underrated pick-up by the LA Clippers. He averaged 15.8 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 4.1 assists per game in 28 appearances last season. A career 40.2 percent shooter from three, Kennard can space the floor and provide playmaking, two things that the LA Clippers needed.

Grade: 8/10

2. Marcus Morris Sr.

2020 Offseason Deal: 4 years / $64 million

Dallas Mavericks v Los Angeles Clippers - Game Five
Dallas Mavericks v Los Angeles Clippers - Game Five
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Marcus Morris Sr. received a huge pay raise this offseason from the LA Clippers. He was a valuable member of the team after he was acquired in a midseason trade with the Knicks last season. He averaged 10.1 points per game for the Clippers in the regular season. 

The deal is somewhat of a head-scratcher only because of its length. Morris’ deal is much longer than those of Kawhi Leonard’s, Patrick Beverley’s, and Lou Williams’.

Grade: 8/10

1. Paul George

2020 Offseason Deal: 4 years / $190 million

Paul George signed a maximum contract extension with the LA Clippers over a week ago. The deal guarantees that George will earn as much as $226 million over the next five years. This would have been a more palatable deal for the LA Clippers had George not struggled in the 2020 postseason inside the bubble. 

Nevertheless, George is one of the NBA’s top forwards and this assures the LA Clippers of a star player for the next half-decade. This deal becomes even more valuable after Kawhi Leonard recently said that the best decision for him is to opt-out next summer.

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Grade: 10/10

Also Read: LA Clippers vs LA Lakers Prediction & Match Preview - December 22nd, 2020 | NBA Opening Night

LA LAKERS:

5. Montrezl Harrell

2020 Offseason Deal: 2 years / $19 million

Los Angeles Clippers v Los Angeles Lakers
Los Angeles Clippers v Los Angeles Lakers

Though the second year of Montrezl Harrel’s deal is a player option, this is an absolute steal for the LA Lakers. Not only did the LA Lakers weaken the competition, but they also acquired him via a friendly deal that benefits both parties. Harrell was last year’s Sixth Man of the Year, averaging 18.6 points and 7.1 rebounds off the bench for the Clippers.

Grade: 10/10

4. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

2020 Offseason Deal: 3 years / $40 million

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope re-signed with the LA Lakers after a strong 2019-20 campaign in which he contributed mightily to their title run. He averaged 9.3 points per game including 38.5 percent from beyond the arc. His value as a floor spacer and a defender cannot be understated and the LA Lakers rewarded him accordingly.

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Grade: 9/10 

3. Kyle Kuzma

2020 Offseason Deal: 3 years / $40 million

The LA Lakers’ offseason deal with Kyle Kuzma is a multiyear contract extension despite a dip in the 25-year-old’s performance. Kuzma averaged 12.8 points per game in 61 games last season after putting up 18.7 points per game a year earlier. He had his moments in the bubble and he has the talent to bounce back this year.

Overall, not a bad deal for the LA Lakers but not a blockbuster one either.

Grade: 8/10

2. LeBron James

2020 Offseason Deal: 2 years / $85 million

Los Angeles Clippers v Los Angeles Lakers
Los Angeles Clippers v Los Angeles Lakers

LeBron James signed a contract extension with the LA Lakers that will run until the end of the 2022-23 season. It’s a testament to James’ commitment to the LA Lakers and vice versa especially after the 4-time MVP gave the franchise its 17th title last October. The LA Lakers reclaimed their status as arguably the league’s top franchise thanks to James’ contributions the past two years.

This is definitely a win-win for both sides.

Grade: 10/10

1. Anthony Davis

2020 Offseason Deal: 5 years / $190 million

Los Angeles Clippers v Los Angeles Lakers
Los Angeles Clippers v Los Angeles Lakers
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Everyone knew this was coming. Davis reached an agreement with the LA Lakers that will guarantee that they will contend for a championship for the next few years. This was a no-brainer decision that ensured that the LA Lakers will have at least one of the top five players in the game for the foreseeable future.

Davis won’t be going anywhere anytime soon and the LA Lakers are grateful for that.

Grade: 10/10

FINAL GRADES

LA Clippers: 43/50

LA Lakers: 47/50

Based on these grades, it’s the LA Lakers who won the offseason against the LA Clippers. It remains to be seen whether this translates to the same outcome should the two teams meet in the 2021 NBA Playoffs as the “Battle of LA” continues this season.

Also Read: How much are the LA Lakers' championship rings worth?

Published 23 Dec 2020, 10:04 IST
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