After defeating the the Golden State Warriors in seven games in the first round of the postseason, the Los Angeles Clippers were defeated by the Oklahoma City Thunder in six games in the second round.
Although the defeat obviously stung, the Clippers looked close to winning a title than they ever have before and they planned to use the 2014 offseason to make a few moves to put them over the top.
The Clippers lost reserve point guard Darren Collison to the Sacramento Kings but replaced him with Los Angeles Lakers’ free agent Jordan Farmar. They also added Cleveland Cavaliers’ free agent big man Spencer Hawes.
Clippers’ head coach and president Doc Rivers was also eyeing a reunion with Brooklyn Nets’ swingman Paul Pierce. After several talks with the Clippers, Pierce wound up signing with the Washington Wizards.
“We talked a lot,” Rivers said via Sean Deveney of Sporting News. “Quite honestly, a sign-and-trade just wasn’t possible. That would be great, but Paul ends up in Washington and that’s great for him. But clearly, we have a relationship — and he has a relationship with LA, that is where he is from. That would have been great. But it just couldn’t happen. They’re in a tough situation because they have so much money — 100 million (payroll). So they can’t take on any more salary and a sign-and-trade would mean they’re taking on more salary. They literally just cannot do it. We knew it would be hard. We tried every avenue and it just wouldn’t work.”
Pierce put up 13.5 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game while shooting 45.1% from the field, 37.3% from the three and 82.6% from the free throw line.