When the LA Clippers dealt Blake Griffin before the NBA trade deadline, they accomplished two objectives: acquiring a first-round pick and freeing up cap space. As the organization will miss the playoffs this season, those two advantages will serve them will over the summer.
By virtue of missing the playoffs, the Clippers now have two lottery picks. While it’s unlikely that they win the lottery–as the odds are infinitesimal–LA will still receive two top-14 selections in a very deep draft. That cannot be overlooked.
If the draft were to be held today, the Clippers would own the Nos. 12 and 14 picks.
The Clippers will have the luxury of selecting college standouts like Mikal Bridges, Collin Sexton, Trae Young, Kevin Knox, Miles Bridges, or Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. In all probability, the Clippers could walk away with two of these phenoms.
Of course, the organization will have to decide how it wants to allocate its financial resources. DeAndre Jordan will likely opt out of his deal, and backup center Montrezl Harrell is slated to become a free agent. Avery Bradley is also a free agent, and Austin Rivers can decline his player option, becoming a free agent, too.
In addition, the Clippers retain a team option on Patrick Beverley, who saw limited minutes this season after suffering a knee injury.
Although much is uncertain about the immediate future of the team, the Clippers are in an advantageous position to get younger and more athletic. The offseason will play a pivotal role in the team’s direction. Owner Steve Ballmer, recent success, and the Los Angeles market should help to attract key free agents.
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