The Clippers have been decimated with injuries in the postseason. Without their best player and some of their key players, they lost to the scorching-hot Suns. It’s still a win for them as they fought hard and reached their first-ever Western Conference Finals in 50 years. Still, it will be a busy Clippers offseason.
Clippers offseason 2021
Their offseason will be focused on running it back and re-signing key players. Some role players stepped up to fill Leonard and Ibaka’s roles. As you can see, they are still a threat in the West and haven’t unlocked their full potential yet.
Now, let’s take a look at four moves the Clippers should make in the offseason…
Extend Leonard’s contract
Before going down with a knee injury, Kawhi Leonard had been averaging 24.8 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 5.2 assists on 51% FG in the playoffs. He is clearly the face of the Clippers and their best chance at winning an NBA championship. Extending him should be a priority in the Clippers offseason.
Leonard is still playing at a high level despite his load management and knee issues. They also have Paul George who played fantastic basketball in the playoffs. If the Clippers are seriously aiming for a championship, re-signing him should be a priority in the summer. It’s time to win now.
Kawhi has a $36 million player option this offseason. He would certainly decline his player option and re-sign with the Clippers—making him eligible for an extension. The maximum amount that the Clippers can offer is four years, $176 million. Re-signing Leonard would make the Clippers a legit championship contender for years to come.
Re-sign key players
Reggie Jackson has been a revelation in the playoffs with his elite scoring ability. Without Leonard, he showed up big time in the playoffs both in the Utah and Phoenix series. He had his best career playoff performance—averaging 18 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 assists per game. Re-signing him would bring a solid and veteran point guard back who can score at will.
Meanwhile, Nicolas Batum has been the perfect glue guy for the Clippers. His reliability on both ends of the floor was well documented in the regular and postseason. Even at the cost of giving him the MLE, re-signing him makes a lot of sense.
Re-signing Jackson and Batum should be greatly considered in the Clippers offseason.
Continue developing Mann
Another thing the Clippers should look for is the development of Terance Mann. He is also eligible for a contract extension in which he can earn up to $54 million over four years. After all, he deserves it.
39 points 🔥
7 threes 🌊
2 steals 🖐️
— Franchise Sports 🇬🇧🇺🇸 (@FranchiseSprts) June 19, 2021
He has been solid as a fill-in starter for Leonard in the playoffs. It was evident when he dropped a career-high 39 points against Utah in the second round. His size and versatility are what make him a solid role player, and possibly a fringe star player in the future.
Add depth at center
They added DeMarcus Cousins this year but he has been a non-factor and was out in the rotation most of the time.
What they need is an athletic and defensive center that can make an impact right off the bat. They should explore trading for a serviceable big man even at the cost of trading Zubac. An upgrade over him is very much welcomed. After all, they have many team-friendly assets such as Patrick Beverley, Luke Kennard, Ivica Zubac, and Marcus Morris. They also have a first-round pick (25th) in which they can leverage upon. The Clippers after all have flexibility in improving their current roster.