You can try whatever rebrand you want, you can come up with whatever new jerseys or court design you want, you can fire the coach if you wish. The reality is, no matter what the Clippers try it does not appear that they're able to shake this Clippers postseason curse.
Remember, they chose this life. Willingly choosing to play Luka Doncic like he isn't one of the greatest 22 year olds to ever play the game of basketball, a player who already had huge playoff moments against the Clippers the year before, was an interesting choice. All because they were scared of LeBron. Well now here they sit, down 0-2 heading back to Dallas and staring a pretty big disaster scenario right in the face. Aside from losing in the first round, which would be pretty fucking bad, it goes larger than that.
Kawhi's player option
This is the big elephant in the room, as it should be. This summer he has a player option for $36M. If this team loses in 4 or 5 in the first round, he is under no obligation to stay on the Clippers. Mind you that's where he chose to go so I do think there's a slim chance he dips, but who's to say he doesn't take a look around and realize me maybe made a huge mistake? To say that would be a colossal disaster would be quite the understatement
The cost of Paul George
It's not just the fact that they just gave him a max extension. You have to do that. The issue is if this mix isn't going to cut it, you have to remember what they gave up to get Paul George in the first place
Looking at the whole thing, it's wild
The Clippers' first-round draft picks in 2022, 2024 and 2026
Two first-round choices via Miami in 2021 and 2023
The right to swap first-round picks in 2023 and 2025
Essentially, their future. That's what you have to do when Kawhi demands you trade for George or he isn't coming. Well now what? They are pretty much out of ammo in terms of assets and finding ways to add to this roster. You did all that, and then paid George his money to what, lose in the first round? Woof.
Poor free agent spending
I'll never hate on Mook for getting his money. Love Mook. But this is a team that also gave Luke Kennard $64M dollars and this is what they are currently getting back
That seems…..not ideal. If you look at their cap situation moving forward, it's not great either. They have the 3rd most expensive roster in the league for the 2021-22 season. There essentially is no cap space. It's not even like they have a ton of cap holds or something either
They have some exceptions to use like the non taxpayer MLE (9.5M), and maybe someone like Serge Ibaka opts out of his $9M player option, but you can see how dire this is. They don't have draft capital or actual money to really spend and improve their roster. This is it barring some sort of trade obviously, but what is the path for them to make legit improvements? It's not exactly clear.
When you add it all up, there's a very real possibility that this Clippers Era that had so much promise and hype, is already over or at the very least on its death bed. They come off as a team that plays with extreme hubris. Never really have to take the regular season all that serious, doesn't matter who they play in the postseason, and look at what's happened these last two years. It's almost like they didn't learn anything from their collapse last year.
They were more interested in saying stuff like this
I've heard that before, from that exact player actually. Doc said it best when he was fired. Ty Lue was sitting next to him the whole time last year. Maybe it wasn't the coaching after all?
Can the Clippers somehow salvage this series? I guess. I mean they do have elite talent. But these Mavs don't exactly look like a team that's about to let this series slip. Not after last year. Not after Luka Magic is dominating whoever the hell the Clippers decide to throw at him. Kawhi, Beverly, George, none of it matters.
The Clippers tempted their fate with the Basketball Gods and we are seeing first hand why you do not do that. It can basically ruin your franchise.