On First Take on Tuesday, Stephen A. Smith said there was a “better than 50% chance” that Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard would be LA Clippers next year.
Another reason for optimism for LA Clippers fans! After the fantastic showing by our young team this year, Stephen A. Smith thinks that, from what he’s hearing, it’s more likely than not that LA lands not just Kawhi Leonard, but Kevin Durant as well.
The Kawhi rumors have been swirling all season, and most rumors center on him coming to the Clips. But Kevin Durant has always been seen as much more of a long-shot. The current thinking seems to place him in New York alongside Kyrie Irving.
But outspoken analyst Stephen A. Smith hinted on Tuesday that the whispers he’s hearing are starting to make him believe that we’ll see the next great superstar team-up in Los Angeles, with the Clippers.
Of course, there’s a long way to go between where we are now and a potential KD + Kawhi pairing. But the Clippers have put themselves into a great spot; they’ve contended this season while also having the cap flexibility to make this pairing happen.
It’s hard not to get excited at the fact that national analysts are now seeing a serious possibility that we’ll see a lineup of SGA/Shamet/Durant/Kawhi/Zubac. If we could roll that out, then still have a bench led by Lou Williams, Montrezl Harrell and Patrick Beverley, it’s hard to keep the Clippers out of championship contender talk at that point.
This is another testament to the great work being done by the front office to steer this franchise in the right direction. By continuously making the right moves, they’ve proven to the league that the Los Angeles Clippers are the only team in the league that has both this kind of cap space AND proven competitiveness.
A little bit of cap maneuvering will have to take place if Durant and Leonard decide they want to team up in the city of angels. Common wisdom has it that a Danilo Gallinari trade would be the easiest to make work. If the Clippers move Danilo without taking on any (or much) salary, they’ve already got enough room for two max free agents.
You have to think that the playoff competitiveness, coupled with so much youth in SGA, Shamet, Jerome, Ty Wallace and Sindarius Thornwell, makes the Clippers a very attractive free agent destination. Apparently Stephen A. Smith agrees with that; if that coin flips the right way, Clippers fans could be in for a very fun offseason.