Will the 2023-24 season be the end of a short era for the Los Angeles Clippers? The team has endured two disappointing seasons since falling to the Phoenix Suns in the 2021 Western Conference Finals. The Clippers won 42 games in 2021-22 and 44 last season. They were eliminated in the first round of the 2023 playoffs in five games by the Suns.
2023-24 NBA Power Rankings Offseason Edition: No. 11 Los Angeles Clippers
Forty-two wins is not terrible, but 16 of the 30 NBA teams garnered that many this past season. The Clippers had higher aspirations with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George after they helped lead a hapless franchise to their first conference finals. However, Leonard and George have missed a combined 189 games over these two years, including 56 in 2022-23.
There is hope that George and Leonard, who are reportedly healthy heading into the 2023-24 training camp, can finally stay healthy for an entire season. Since joining forces four years ago, Leonard has played in just 187 regular and postseason contests and George 221.
“They’re both on track to be 100% by the time training camp starts, and that’s what we need,” Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue said. “You know, our best players will be healthy, and we’ve just been in an unfortunate situation where our two best players (haven’t had) a full season together the last three years, and that’s been tough on us.”
Los Angeles had a pretty uneventful offseason. The Clippers selected Kobe Brown and Jordan Miller in the 2023 draft. The Clippers traded for Kenyon Martin Jr. They also re-signed Mason Plumlee and Russell Westbrook. Eric Gordon (Phoenix) is the only rotational player not returning and was waived before the start of free agency.
Best Decision: Keeping Tyronn Lue as Head Coach
Los Angeles made quite a few fantastic decisions this offseason. However, their best decision was not to replace Lue as head coach, which was rumored to happen after the Clippers’ postseason run ended. The Milwaukee Bucks and Suns were reportedly interested in hiring Lue despite him having time left on his deal with the Clippers. Los Angeles guaranteed the final year of Lue’s contract, which runs through 2024-25, on August 8.
An NBA champion coach, Lue has done an outstanding job since being inserted as the Clippers head coach. Despite the franchise’s drama, he has guided the Clippers to at least 40 wins in his first three seasons and two playoff appearances. He owns a 133-103 record with the Clippers and is 261-186 overall during the regular season. Lue, who has been to the NBA Finals three times, has finished in the top 14 of NBA Coach of the Year voting in the last two seasons.
It was also crucial for the Clippers to keep Westbrook and Plumlee. Although I don’t know how much interest other teams had in them. I also really like them bringing Martin into the fold.
Worst Offseason Decision: Amir Coffey
The worst decision is nothing the Clippers did. Forward Amir Coffey was arrested in late July following a traffic stop in Hollywood. He has since been charged with one count of carrying a loaded firearm and one count of carrying a concealed firearm. Both charges are reportedly misdemeanors, according to TMZ. Coffey’s preliminary hearing is scheduled for later this month.
What’s Next: Getting Down to 15 Players on Standard Contracts
Los Angeles has 16 players on standard contracts. Jason Preston ($1.8 million) is the only player on a nonguaranteed deal. So, he is the most likely player to get cut. Preston, a 2022 second-round pick, averaged 2.9 points and 1.9 assists in 14 appearances for the Clippers last year. However, Coffey has put himself in a position with his legal trouble.
Los Angeles must also find some training camp invitees and fill their final two-way spot.