The revolving makeover of the Los Angeles Clippers continues. By their latest jaw-dropping transaction, it’s quite clear that the Clippers are not messing around when it comes to upgrading their status among NBA teams. These are are not the same Clippers that your mom and pop grew up on. As Ice Cube would say, this is a new day.
It is evident by the numerous moves that the Clippers have made over the past several years they want to be in position to contend for a NBA title. Settling for the status quo just isn’t good enough these days for owner Steve Ballmer, consultant Jerry West, head coach Doc Rivers, and Lawrence Franks, team president of basketball operations.
When the Lob City crew of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan ran its course, the Clippers parted ways with all three players and shipped them out to other destinations. Griffin was moved to the Detroit Pistons. As part of that transaction, the Clippers got forward Tobias Harris, a very capable scorer and player.
Since he joined the Clippers, Harris has been kind of like the team’s quiet score-dropper, averaging a shade under 21 points a game this season, and producing an all-around season that is All-Star worthy. For the months of October and November, Harris was selected as the Western Conference Player of the Month.
If he’s on his game the rest of the season, Harris could wind up doing the same in the Eastern Conference now that he has been traded by the Clippers to the Philadelphia 76ers.
“I can’t say enough good things about Tobias Harris and the many ways he has impacted our organization. Since Tobias came to L.A. a year ago, he has been a model of professionalism, on the court and off,” said Frank. “He developed into an All-Star caliber player here, setting a standard with his work ethic and diligence. We are incredibly grateful for his contributions.”
Of course, the trade of Harris is a shock to the NBA and to fans all over. For the Clippers and their fans, the prospect of being able to lure two high-profile free agents or NBA stars, is part of the whole rebuilding and revamping of their roster for the present and the future. This is vitally important in several ways.
One being that the Clippers are fresh on their own identity. An agreement to move to Inglewood is one way. Secondly, the franchise management team is no longer in the business of conceding fans, reputation and court success to the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lob City era was the start of that trend of the team being considered legit and as a winner.
After the trade of Griffin to Detroit, the Clippers have been threading this balancing act of putting people in the seats with still quality players on the floor and shedding cap space for what’s up next. Now that they’ve completed the six-player swap deal that also involves center Boban Marjanovic, the Clippers are being aggressive in their approach to the summer’s free agency market.
Unfortunately, that means going through the second half of the season without the consistent scoring of Harris, who is now playing for his fifth ballclub since coming into the NBA in 2011. At least Harris is in a good spot with Philadelphia, primed to make a deep postseason run now that Jimmy Butler, Ben Simmons, and Joel Embiid have been given another offensive scoring machine.
Frank wished Harris, Marjanovic, as well as Mike Scott well on their new basketball journey.
“In addition to Tobias, we will miss Boban, one of the most positive forces we have encountered in the NBA,” said Frank. “Bobi lifted our locker room and was a game changer on the court. Like Boban, Mike Scott fit seamlessly into our team-first culture, and excelled in his role. We wish all three the best of luck in Philadelphia.”
So what did the Clippers get in return for moving Harris, Scott, and Marjanovic? A couple of other interchangable moving parts in Wilson Chandler, center Mike Muscala, and guard Landry Shamet. This whirlwind ride the Clippers have been on of bringing in and shipping out the right pieces for the past two seasons is one to make you dizzy.
That’s two major shakeup trades for the Clippers in just over a year.
Fans were just getting over the shock of losing Griffin in a deal the Clippers completed last January. A year later, Griffin’s fill-in (Harris) is gone as well. But when you have West orchestrating the symphonic music, it’s a good bet the Clippers won’t rest until they get the right player(s) to move the franchise forward.
“We are excited to welcome Wilson, Mike, and Landry to the L.A Clippers,” Frank said. “Wilson is a veteran player we have long respected for his toughness, versatility and leadership. His hard-nosed mentality will fit right in with the rest of this group. Mike is a versatile big man who has the ability to shoot the ball and space the floor.”