The Los Angeles Clippers bowed out of the playoffs early once again this season, this time in a seven-game series against the Utah Jazz in the first round. Now, the team faces a big offseason in which stars Blake Griffin and Chris Paul can opt out of their contracts and join JJ Redick as free agents. The core of this Clippers recent run of success has come on the back of the Paul/Griffin/DeAndre Jordan combination, so there’s some big questions looming.
Some folks in the NBA community have advocated breaking up that core of the team by “blowing it up” this offseason either via sign-and-trade or by simply letting those stars walk. Others, however, think the Clippers need to just keep their guys this offseason.
“I think the Clippers in the offseason, they don’t really have a lot of work to do other than to keep their guys,” said ESPN NBA insider Ramona Shelburne on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence show. “They just have to do whatever they can to keep all of their free agents because the way that free agency is set up and also, the way their cap situation is set up, they can’t replace anyone. If you lose them, you have no money and absolutely no flexibility to go and replace them, it’s just a hole. As you can tell, they already don’t have enough, so you don’t want to dig another hole. You can kind of deal with the fallout later. I think we’ve all been asking the wrong question of should they blow it up? They don’t have a choice, they have to keep them together. If even one of those guys leave, they’re back to before Blake and Chris even got there. And, they’re worse off because they don’t have any draft picks.
They don’t have any young guys, they don’t have any draft picks. If they lose any of these guys, they can’t replace them. In Oklahoma City, yeah that’s tough they have to find people to put around Russ who can fit his game and be complementary to him. They started doing that already this year in the season with some of the trades they made, but at least you have flexibility, at least you have players that other teams want, at least you have options. The Clippers, the only option they have is to play defense to keep their guys.”