Let me tell you something my friend. Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane.
–Red (Morgan Freeman) from the Shawshank Redemption
For Clippers fans, there is always hope.
Hope that this time the number one pick stays healthy. Hope that the owner and general manager will make more good calls than bad. Hope that the next coach will be able to pull it all together and make this team blend.
Hope that LeBron James will want to come play for the Clippers.
So much so on the last one that Clipper fans — led by their superfan Clipper Darrell — will put on a LeBron James parade on May 27.
The Clippers have the cap space to offer a max deal (something Mike Dunleavy did before being fired as general manager). They have a solid young core of guys like Blake Griffin and Chris Kaman inside to build on. They have an open coaching vacancy so they can appoint whomever LeBron wants as coach (say John Calipari).
On paper, they are a very good destination. Hope is high in Clippers Nation.
Whether an African American player would risk the public relations hit to play for a man (Sterling) who has faced multiple discrimination suits for his apartment buildings is another thing. Whether any star player wants to trust that Sterling will keep spending like he needs to win in the future is another thing. Whether a superstar wants to enter a media market where another team and anther superstar are already established and have won the city is another thing.
But there is hope. There is always hope for the Clippers Nation.
With the cooler-than-I-expected solar eclipse on Monday came a lot of bad solar eclipse jokes on Twitter. Because that’s what Twitter does. Especially the NBA Twitterverse. We knew a lot of “where on the flat earth will Kyrie Irving watch the eclipse?” jokes were coming.
There were a couple of good ones, however.
Appropriately, the Phoenix Suns won the day.
One personal favorite here, an old meme that never goes out of style.
The NBA, at the Pacers’ request, is investigating whether the Lakers tampered by making impressible contact with Paul George.
Bob Kravitz of WTHR
In fact, there’s word that other small- and mid-market team officials have reached out to the Pacers and told them, “Good for you. Fight the good fight.”
Small-market teams whine too much about the disadvantages they face, but tampering isn’t really a market-size issue. Remember, under Mitch Kupchak, the Lakers were known as the only team that didn’t tamper.
The Lakers have advantages because George is from the area, and Los Angeles offers immense marketability. That’d be true whether or not they contacted George or his agent before he officially became a free agent.
I understand the desire to take down the big, bad Lakers – especially now that they appear poised to become truly big and bad again. But it’s hard to find a team that can cast a stone at them from anywhere other than a glass house.
The power dynamics within the Clippers are shifting, and the ground apparently hasn’t settled yet.
Doc Rivers has been stripped of his presidency. Jerry West became a consultant. Lawrence Frank now holds the most prestigious title in the front office, and newly hired Michael Winger will report to him. Also falling under Frank in the organizational chart? Trent Redden.
Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN:
Longtime Cleveland Cavaliers executive Trent Redden will join the LA Clippers’ front-office staff as assistant general manager, league sources said on Monday.
Redden was ousted in Cleveland with David Griffin. He’ll help the Clippers simply by providing another capable executive. They’ve long needed to add front-office employees (and pay for them).
But Redden also exacerbates the issue of Frank’s underlings having far more front-office experience than him. As the Clippers try to establish their new setup, we’ll see whether that creates complications.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr has missed significant time the last two seasons due to complications from back surgery.
Could those issues derail his career?
Kerr, via Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle:
“I fully expect to coach all year,” Kerr says in a no-nonsense tone. “That’s my expectation. And for many years to come.”
On the most basic level, it’d be good if Kerr feels well enough to coach. The headaches sound miserable, regardless of his job.
But it’d also be ideal if the NBA didn’t lose one of its best coaches just as he’s getting started. The 51-year-old Kerr might wind up the greatest coach of all time. Obviously that’s a long way off, but he has that potential – health permitting.