The Clippers were a much more optimistic bunch than most teams after getting eliminated from playoff contention, Jim Alexander of the Orange County Register writes. That’s due to the return of perennial All-Star Kawhi Leonard from his knee injury, plus the expectation that Paul George will have better injury luck next season.
In addition to being out for most of the season due to an elbow injury, George missed Friday’s play-in tournament loss to New Orleans after testing positive for COVID-19.
“We get our main guys back. I mean, we can be dangerous,” coach Tyronn Lue said. “I think when you get Kawhi and PG back healthy, Norm (Powell for) a full season … this team can be pretty special. But it’s all about health. Our young guys (Terance Mann, Amir Coffey, (Luke) Kennard, Ivica Zubac), all those guys have (had) a chance to develop and play meaningful games. They played big for us. Our veteran guys, we already talked about what Marcus (Morris), Nico (Batum), Reggie (Jackson) have brought to this team. We got to get back, get back to the drawing board. But I’m very excited for this group, the guys coming back.”
We have more on the Clippers:
- Robert Covington will be an unrestricted free agent this summer but the prospect of playing with Leonard and George is enticing to him, Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times tweets. “The way that we played tonight when we went small, imagine PG and Kawhi in that lineup,’ he said. “That’s a lot of versatility … Once them guys come back next year, if I’m here, I’m really looking forward to that.”
- By trading for Covington, the Clippers also acquired his Bird rights, which will allow them to exceed the salary cap and luxury tux to retain him, ESPN’s Bobby Marks notes in his guide to the team’s offseason. They don’t have a first-rounder due to the George trade but they will have two trade exceptions of $9.7MM and $8.3MM, plus the taxpayer mid-level exception of $6.3MM, to make roster upgrades.
- Another potential decision is whether to re-sign Batum if he declines his $3.3MM option, Yossi Gozlan of Hoops Hype notes in his offseason preview. They hold Non-Bird rights on another unrestricted free agent, Isaiah Hartenstein. Gozlan also breaks down the remaining salary due to each player on the roster.
- After blowing two chances to make the playoffs, the Clippers are in typical wait-til-next-year mode, Helene Elliott of the Los Angeles Times opines. Despite the rosy outlook, the Clippers can’t guarantee that Leonard will regain his pre-injury form, that the chemistry will be the same or that someone else won’t get hurt.
11 thoughts on “Clippers Notes: Leonard, George, Covington, Batum, Hartenstein, Outlook”
Clippers probably beat the Pelicans if PG plays
Maybe, but he looked bad in the regular season loss to the Bulls, so I am skeptical. Pels are better than their rep, especially on defense.
CJ made the Pels elevate which I didn’t see happening, he really brought them a whole new way of being a “swagger” of someone who has been in the playoffs and played meaningful games down the stretch, Pels have a nice roster, when they get Zion back to start next season, CJ BI Zion Vally, that’s as good as any lower tier playoff team in the league, my only complaint about the Pels is that loser Alvarado hiding near the out of bounds line and running for a surprise steal, that move is lame at the YMCA, it super duper lame in the league
Maybe even Kennard.
What a huge failure PG and Leonard have been. Same ol Clippers.
PG, Kawhi, and Lue – They are all Frauds and laughing their way to the bank. Totally unreliable!
Nothing on Lue, he squeezed the most he could, out of the team he had to deal with..
He loves that his 2 top players arent playing. No pressure, no stress, go home early and more BS talk for nexy season. All for 5 yrs mega millions…
Next year ‘if healthy’ Clipps are going to have some pressure
When Kawhi left the raps I was majorly pissed but right now really happy that he did. What a great young team with bright future in the North (and still a great Coach)
Free agents signings have not made a winner. Trades have like Kwai holiday AD all did the trick.