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For a team that is planning on reaching peak form after adding a superstar this summer, the Los Angeles Clippers are playing pretty damn well. The Clippers traded away Tobias Harris and have continued to win anyway, buoyed by a crew of underrated players making everybody reconsider sleeping on them.
Doc Rivers, without the added burden of making personnel decisions, has reminded everybody how damn good he is at coaching. Rivers is getting the absolute most out of this team, with players like Lou Williams, Montrezl Harrell, and Patrick Beverly giving Los Angeles an edge in intensity.
Thanks to that coach and those players, in addition to plenty of others, the Clippers are certainly going to beat out the Los Angeles Lakers and Sacramento Kings for a postseason appearance this year. Triumphing over the Lakers is especially sweet for the Clippers, who would very much like to become “the team” in Los Angeles. That might be an impossible task considering the decades of history there, but the Clips are definitely in the right direction.
In addition to being 41-30 now, and obviously a really solid team, the Clippers can get up to $57 million in cap space without making any trades or eating any dead money. If Danilo Gallinari were traded, that figure could easily rise into two max contract slots territory.
All four big market teams (the Clippers, Lakers, New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets) figure to have cap space this summer. All of them doubtlessly hope to sign true max players with that space. Only the Clippers are above .500, and with front office legend Jerry West around it feels like these Clippers are very close to becoming an elite team thanks to a Kawhi Leonard type franchise player deciding to sign with them.
The Chris Paul era Clippers were crucial in getting the franchise to be taken seriously, but it’s clear that the Clips want even bigger things. They’ll find out if, or maybe when, they can get them in July. Nothing is certain yet, but it seems like these Clippers are in a great spot right now.
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