by Alex Poletti
Tired of playing second fiddle to LeBron James and the Lakers, the Clippers have announced some major moves in hopes of beating out their crosstown rivals as the major disappointment in Los Angeles basketball.
“We saw what the Lakers did last year, signing LeBron and then missing out on the playoffs completely,” Clippers general manager Michael Winger says. “We’re ready to show them that they aren’t the only LA team that can pull that off.”
To do so, the Clippers have raised the hype by signing Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard to a four-year, max contract deal. With some persuasion from Leonard, the Clippers were able to trade for MVP second runner-up Paul George from the Oklahoma Thunder. Now, the Clippers boast a formidable duo matched only by the Lakers and the Nets.
“I know how to succeed in this league,” Leonard says. “I won a championship with the Spurs, I won a championship with the Raptors. Now it’s time to try something different. We’ve got all this talent on the team now, so messing it all up will be a real challenge. Knowing LA basketball, though, we should be able to do it.”
The Clippers have the added challenge of being moderately successful last season. This is in stark contrast to the Lakers, who were struggling to get a postseason berth before James signed. The Clippers on the other hand, have made the playoffs each of the past eight seasons, with the exception of 2017.
“You can’t expect the same results as the Lakers,” new addition George says. “The Clippers were an 8-seed last year, we’ve already been to the postseason. Hopefully, that’ll make our fall from grace that much crazier.”
The Clippers beautifully set themselves up for failure in the future by including more first-round picks in the Paul George trade than Scottie Pippin has children. This will insure that the Clippers will have an aging core for years to come.
“Of course we hope to underperform next year, but we wanted to go above and beyond,” Clippers head coach Doc Rivers explains. “We want to fail for years to come. Hopefully, because we won’t have a draft pick until LA is engulfed by rising sea waters, we’ll achieve that.”
The question still remains, though, if the Clippers can succeed in topping the Lakers’ spectacular failure last season. With the reigning Finals MVP, the Clippers certainly do hope so.
“We want to show the city that the Clippers are the real Los Angeles team,” team owner Steve Ballmer says. “Of course, being LA’s team doesn’t mean winning. It means losing in the most disappointing ways possible. That’s what LA basketball is about.”
The Lakers won’t go down without a fight, however. Rather than ceding their crown to the surging Clippers, the Lakers intend on doubling down next season.
“We aren’t done yet,” LeBron James says. “With Anthony Davis on our team now, we have maybe the most talented team in the NBA. When we have a sub-.500 record next year, it’ll truly show LA what’s up.”