LOS ANGELES - The Los Angeles Clippers will play their final season at the Crypto.com Arena for the 2023-24 season before making the much-anticipated and necessary move to the Intuit Dome, their new home in Inglewood.
While it would be ideal to hang the franchise’s first championship banner at their new arena, the free agency market shows it has become even more competitive in the Western Conference, with the Nuggets looking to repeat and the Suns' addition of Bradley Beal. There's no denying the Clippers are stacked with talent and experience, but what they seemingly need more of for a successful playoff run is health and luck.
The 213 era has yet to produce a championship. Some fans, fed up with years of disappointment, took to social media to beg the front office to trade Kawhi Leonard or Paul George for younger and less injury-prone players. However, as of now, the Clippers are continuing to build around the two stars.
This could all change if the Clippers decide to go all-in and add or even replace an All-Star.
The Clips have reportedly shown interest in Damian Lillard and James Harden, which would make a dramatic difference in what the roster will look like next season.
Here is a look at the moves the Clippers have made in free agency:
Russell Westbrook re-signs
Russell Westbrook shocked the doubters and proved he has plenty of gas left in the tank during the playoffs. Yes, he took a massive pay cut to stay with the Clippers. While he’s certainly deserving of more, it's a move he was willing to make in hopes to cement his legacy with a championship and to stay in his hometown. The Clippers are notably in a bind under the rules in the league’s new collective bargaining agreement.
Russell Westbrook #0 of the LA Clippers.. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) (Getty Images)
The nine-time All-Star is reliable and brings energy and leadership skills to the roster. For fans of the future Hall of Famer, it’s refreshing to see him on a team where he’s embraced and has opportunities to make an impact.
"In the two months Russ spent with the team, he was everything we hoped he would be and more," said Lawrence Frank, Clippers president of basketball operations "He made a huge impact on the court, with his play, and off it, with the urgency, intensity and professionalism he brings to the gym on a daily basis."
Eric Gordon gets waived
Eric Gordon’s second stint on the team that drafted him was short-lived. The Clippers opted not to guarantee the shooting guard’s $21 million contract, reportedly saving them over $100 million in taxes.
He signed a two-year deal with Phoenix reportedly worth $6 million.
Kenyon Martin Jr. becomes a Clipper
Kenyon Martin Jr. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) (Getty Images)
The Clippers cleverly acquired Kenyon Martin Jr. for future second-round picks. It's a full circle moment of sorts for the Martin family following Kenyon Martin Sr.'s tenure with the Clippers during the 2011-12 season. The 22-year-old and LA native brings youth and explosiveness to the table.
Mason Plumlee returns
Thankfully, the Clippers learned not having a backup center was simply not a good idea. Moses Brown wasn’t the answer and Ty Lue’s initial plan of sliding other players into the position did not work.
Plumlee was a welcome addition to the Clippers at February’s trade deadline and was impressive during the playoffs. He returns to the Clippers on a one-year contract worth $5 million.
In addition, the Clippers selected Jordan Miller and Kobe Brown on draft night and will get a better idea of where they fit during the Summer League beginning July 8.