Predicting the Clippers' perfect starting lineup after ideal offseason

The Clippers must nail this offseason if they want to stay in contention.
LA Clippers, Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, James Harden
LA Clippers, Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, James Harden / Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports
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The LA Clippers may look different next season. Several key pieces can hit free agency, and there is no guarantee they return. Owner Steve Ballmer is willing to spend, but the franchise has one of the highest payrolls without being an elite team. Since Kawhi Leonard and Paul George teamed up five years ago, the Clippers have won just three playoff series and zero since 2021.

LA must upgrade their roster to become a serious title challenger, but the new salary cap restrictions make it more difficult. Paul George can decline his player option and become a free agent. James Harden is headed for the open market, and the Clippers need their stars. There is a ton of uncertainty as the franchise prepares to enter their new arena this fall.

If things break right, they will have multiple stars and strong depth. There are no guarantees. The Clippers had terrible injury luck again in the playoffs, but here is their ideal starting five if things go their way.

PG: James Harden

Harden is an unrestricted free agent this summer, but the Clippers did not give up one first-round pick, two first-round swaps, and two second-rounders for one season of the future Hall of Famer. He wanted to be dealt to LA, and all signs point to the two sides working out a new contract.

Harden is no longer an MVP candidate, but he averaged 16.6 points, 8.5 assists, 5.1 rebounds, and 1.1 steals in 34.3 minutes per game. The Clippers have needed a playmaker for years. They looked like the best team in the NBA for a stretch and hope to rediscover that magic with everyone healthy next season.

James Harden turns 35 in August, and there are already signs of decline. Inking him to a long-term deal is risky, but the Clippers accepted it when they traded significant draft capital to land the ten-time All-Star.

Harden is not the only standout LA hopes to bring back on a long-term contract.