NBC Sports’ Dan Feldman is grading every team’s offseason based on where the team stands now relative to its position entering the offseason. A ‘C’ means a team is in similar standing, with notches up or down from there.
The Clippers had a dream offseason.
Because they didn’t stop at dreaming it.
The Clippers envisioned greatness and executed to achieve it. They pursued Kawhi Leonard throughout the season. Then, when their roster initially wasn’t quite good enough to lure Leonard, they traded for Paul George.
Leonard to the Clippers was widely predicted. Getting George, too? That was a jaw-dropper even in an era where we’ve become accustomed to star movement.
This isn’t guaranteed to work. Leonard and George both have concerning injury issues. Those stars are each locked in only two seasons. L.A. surrendered a ton – five first-round picks, two first-round pick swaps, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Danilo Gallinari – in the Thunder trade.
But the game is winning championships. The Clippers took favored status in the title chase. Focusing on anything else obscures the main point.
The Clippers even did nifty work even beyond their star acquisitions. They re-signed Patrick Beverley (three years, $39,999,980), Ivica Zubac (four years, $28,518,518 with a team option), Rodney McGruder (three years, $15 million with third-year $5 million salary unguaranteed) and JaMychal Green (1+1, $9,772,350 room exception). Beverley was instrumental in establishing last season’s scrappy identity, and the others provide key depth.
Now, L.A. adds FREAKING KAWHI LEONARD AND PAUL GEORGE. I just can’t say that enough.
The Clippers also got a first-rounder from the Heat for taking Maurice Harkless, who should be a positive off the bench (though is probably overpaid at $11,011,234). Other acquisitions – No. 27 pick Mfiondu Kabengele, No. 48 pick Terance Mann and Patrick Patterson – are less likely to contribute. Not every newcomer can be a star in his prime.
Two is plenty.
Offseason grade: A