The trade of Kawhi Leonard to the Toronto Raptors leaves the Los Angeles Clippers in a precarious situation this season.
Per multiple reports, it’s only a matter of time before Kawhi Leonard is on his way to Toronto. With speculation and rumors all summer long that the Los Angeles Clippers were in pursuit of the superstar all summer, it seems we finally have an answer. With Kawhi off the table, the Clips are in a precarious situation.
So, we don’t get Kawhi this season. What do we do now? Earlier this week, we touched on this topic. If you didn’t click the link just now, let me simplify it for you: The simplest and smartest thing for the team to do is just go out and compete every night.
By competing, the Clippers will make themselves more attractive to not only Kawhi, but possibly other stars like Jimmy Butler. Having the Lakers and LeBron James down the hall will make grabbing free agents hard, so anything they can do to put themselves in a better position will be necessary.
Prior to even having the trade finalized, Kawhi has made it clear he doesn’t want to be in Toronto. Kawhi has also said multiple times that he wants to get more national media attention, so it’s up to the Clips to convince him that he can get it in their locker room as opposed to playing second fiddle to The King.
In the meantime, the two rookies (Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Jerome Robinson) can get much needed time on the court and hopefully develop their game. The team can evaluate other pieces and see if they can be part of a future contender.
A decision will also have to be made regarding Tobias Harris. Harris seems to be the type of player you can slot next to any star but he may not be worth a full max contract.
Patrick Beverley will also be a free agent, so the team will need to keep talks going with him as the season rolls on as he could be a key part of the team should they get a star and turn into an overnight contender.
By missing the playoffs, which seems a very real possibility, the Clips will also hang on to their 2019 NBA Draft pick. The team will have to stay focused on evaluating talent there and grab someone who can slot right in with the team, regardless of what free agents they plan on getting.
Essentially, they will want to establish themselves as a contender, evaluate their current roster and then make a smart draft pick in the 2019 Draft, should they hold onto the pick.
His trade doesn’t mean the sweepstakes is over. If the Clippers are able to do all of this, they will have put themselves in the ideal situation to make a move for Kawhi Leonard next summer.