In the wake of Monday’s Blake Griffin trade agreement, word surfaced that the Clippers were trying to force their way into this summer’s LeBron James sweepstakes, with the Griffin move representing the first step necessary to clear salary from their 2018/19 books. However, Clippers fans shouldn’t get their hopes up about that scenario, says Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated.
As of now, James isn’t expected to seriously consider the Clippers in free agency, a source close to LeBron tells Spears. A source close to the Clippers also admits to Spears that the club doesn’t really expect to receive legit consideration from the four-time MVP. Still, the team has to make the phone call, Spears notes.
While the idea of acquiring LeBron is a long shot, the new voices in the Clippers’ front office, including Jerry West, were able to convince owner Steve Ballmer that the franchise has a real shot to enter the mix for the NBA’s top 2018 free agents, according to Marc Stein of The New York Times. Multiple league insiders tell Stein that the Clips will continue to explore pre-deadline deals that help them create cap room for this summer, though using cap room in 2019 represents a solid fallback plan.
Here’s more on the Clippers:
- The Clippers haven’t ruled out the possibility of extending DeAndre Jordan or Lou Williams, and have recently ramped up efforts to secure commitments from those players, writes Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders. If extensions can’t be reached, the odds of pre-deadline trades involving Jordan and/or Williams would increase. Still, the Clips haven’t closed the door on the idea of re-signing either player this offseason, per Spears.
- Kyler and Stein both suggest that the Clippers will explore attaching multiyear contracts to Jordan and Williams in trades as they look to create more 2018 cap flexibility. Word is that any trade involving Jordan would need to include a contract like Wesley Johnson‘s or Austin Rivers‘, says Kyler.
- It makes more sense for the Clippers to focus on 2019 free agency rather than frantically trying to ditch bad contracts now, argues Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report.
- Danilo Gallinari is currently the only Clipper with a guaranteed salary for 2019/20. The veteran forward will return to action for the club tonight after missing the last 25 games with a glute injury, Doc Rivers confirmed today (Twitter link via Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times).