With the possible exception of the Bucks, no team left the Orlando campus more disappointed that the Clippers.
They appeared headed for a Western Conference Finals showdown with the Lakers until they squandered some big leads and a 3-1 series lead to the upstart Nuggets.
The flameout ultimately cost head coach Doc Rivers his job. The front office settled on Rivers’ top assistant and former Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue to replace him.
As long as Leonard and George stay healthy, the Clippers will undoubtedly make the postseason again but the memories of their collapse will linger unless they make amends and reach the Finals.
Beyond their perennial All-Stars, the Clippers have some tough decisions to make regarding their roster. Young center Ivica Zubac and guards Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams and Landry Shamet are the only other rotation players locked into contracts for next seasons. Their prospects for making a significant trade are dim, considering they gave up a bucketful of first rounders to acquire George.
JaMychal Green has a $5MM option on his contract and should he decline it, the Clippers will have to rebuild their frontcourt. Marcus Morris and Montrezl Harrell are headed to unrestricted free agency and the Clippers already have $109MM in salary commitments to nine players.
Harrell won the Sixth Man of the Year award but he had a rather forgettable experience in Orlando. Morris will attract plenty of interest in the free agent market, though he didn’t have as great an impact as the Clippers hoped when they traded for him in February.
The front office will have to prioritize which of those forwards they wish to retain and likely dip into the free agent market to fortify the guard rotation and frontcourt. Depending on whether they have a full mid-level exception or the taxpayers’ MLE, they could be looking at players such as Goran Dragic, D.J. Augustin, Jeff Teague, Serge Ibaka, Derrick Favors, Marc Gasol and Aron Baynes.
That brings us to our topic of the day: What should the Clippers do in free agency? Should they concentrate on re-signing their prominent free agents or pursue other options?
Please take to the comments section to weigh in on this topic. We look forward to your input.