The Clippers looked like they were on their way to completing a massive trade, but league rules torpedoed their plan, leaving them with Doc Rivers as their new head coach, but they were unable to land any players from Boston. Instead those players look to be headed to Brooklyn in a massive deal, so where does that leave the Clippers this season in the NBA Odds?
LA has the ability to raise a banner, but bad coaching was only one of their biggest problems last season. If the signing of Doc Rivers can bring back Chris Paul, that’s a great start for this club. However, now that Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce are likely headed to Brooklyn, the Clippers’ plans are going up in flames. Bringing in Pierce and Garnett would have solidified their two main problem areas, and now LA will have to look elsewhere for veteran production and leadership, at least for the 2013-2014 season.
The Clippers drafted Reggie Bullock in this year’s NBA Draft, a sharp shooting small forward from North Carolina University. Bullock has improved his shot over time in college, but after his shot and his ball handling in transition, he doesn’t provide much else. He is a great fit for a team with a weakness at small forward, but I can guarantee they would rather have Pierce manning that spot if they could. The Clippers were without a second round pick.
Once the news of the Rivers’ trade to LA broke, the NBA odds dropped the Clippers from +1800 to +1500 to win the championship, and they got a slight increase in their odds to win the division. The Clippers are still behind the Thunder and Spurs out west, and behind the Heat, Bulls, and Pacers in the offseason odds to win the title. Although the Rivers trade helps, I doubt it is enough to put them over the top.
The contract situations of the Clippers after the likely signing of Chris Paul next week are going to be dicey. They will likely waive some players to free up space, and now the goal for LA is to trade Eric Bledsoe and likely Caron Butler in order to make some room for at least one impact starter. Bledsoe and Butler together should be able to bring in at least one solid player as well as some picks to go along with Paul, Blake Griffin and Deandre Jordan.
While they will still have a little money to spend after all this is said and done, I sincerely doubt it is enough for LA to get past the likes of San Antonio and the Oklahoma City Thunder. Rivers will make this offense and defense better than it was under Vinny Del Negro, however they still lack a consistent third option in their starting lineup. Jamal Crawford was great this season, but he is not the answer behind Griffin and Paul.
All in all, until one or both of KG and Pierce make their way to LA to join up with Rivers for one last go at a title, I doubt the Clippers are a good choice for your NBA picks this season. If Pierce and Garnett find their way to LA after next season, I think they have a small window to win, but this season will be more of the same for LA, minus only the bad coaching. I’m not ready to give the Clippers anything if all they have is a coach who can’t get out on the floor. They need to make some moves and sign some veterans at a reduced cost if they want any chance of upsetting the Spurs or Thunder this season.