Clippers owner Steve Ballmer believes his franchise can win an NBA championship before their co-tenants in Los Angeles and will look to add star talent this offseason. Marc Stein of the New York Times puts the “over/under” for superstars signed by the Clips this summer at one, as he writes in the mailbag section of his latest newsletter.
Stein adds that Kawhi Leonard is still the most likely superstar to join Ballmer’s team this summer. Los Angeles has a desirable situation for any star, and with their collection of draft picks and players on team-friendly deals, the Clippers could feasibly sign someone like Leonard and swing a deal that gives him a top running mate.
Stein has more in his latest newsletter, which you can subscribe to here. Let’s take a look at some of the highlights:
- One Western Conference scout told Stein that this year’s version of Steve Kerr‘s Warriors may not be as sharp as the teams in the past. “I just question the Warriors’ ability to continually focus,” the scout said. “It seems like nowadays they need to be punched in the mouth before they’re Golden State. They’re not just coming out on a mission and overwhelming teams. Maybe I will regret saying this, but I just don’t trust them like I used to.”
- The Warriors‘ familiarity with the Rockets may give them an advantage in a potential playoff rematch, another scout tells Stein. “Stylistically Houston is a very different team,” the scout said. “It takes most teams two games just to try to figure out how they want to deal with Harden. Golden State will already know. And with Ron Adams running the defense, they do a great job of changing it up and not letting Harden get a great rhythm.”
- The Thunder inked Russell Westbrook to a five-year, $200MM+ extension back in 2017. While the move will face some scrutiny as Westbrook ages, Stein reminds readers that the alternative to the extension was risking the former MVP walking out the door as Kevin Durant previously did.