One key advantage will keep the Clippers in contention next season

Looking ahead to the 2024-25 season, the Clippers have one factor working in their favor that will keep them in the championship race.
James Harden, Kawhi Leonard, LA Clippers
James Harden, Kawhi Leonard, LA Clippers / Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

After no extension was finalized with franchise star Paul George, a departure became evident with the LA Clippers. The front office was unwilling to offer a long-term max contract, and George found one with the Philadelphia 76ers. This leaves the team’s championship aspirations on the contributions of veteran playmakers Kawhi Leonard and James Harden.

Once George signed with the 76ers, fans instantly assumed the Clippers would not have enough to contend with Harden and Leonard. To a certain extent, this is a reasonable assumption considering their age and injury concern. Putting the cherry on top, Tyronn Lue led a trio of three superstars, including George, to the fourth seed last season. It’s hard to imagine how the team will perform with less star power.

Moreover, the Clippers will go as far as Leonard’s health allows. It has become a consistent pattern that nearly every year, the team comes up short; Leonard is sidelined due to injury. However, next season could be a different story with how the front office is constructing the roster.

The Clippers' depth is extremely underrated

Despite the absence of a third superstar, the LA Clippers have plenty of talent and experience to contend in the Western Conference. The front office has done a phenomenal job following George’s decision to acquire talent that can contribute on any given night.

Some of the Clippers’ best moves thus far have been the addition of Derrick Jones Jr., Mo Bamba, and Nicolas Batum. These three championship-level role players will crush their expectations, no questions asked. Jones, in particular, will relieve Leonard defensively, allowing him to conserve energy and prevent injury.

Furthermore, it is possible the front office is nowhere close to being done through the trade market and free agency. They may be looking to add a third star, and veterans Russell Westbrook and P.J. Tucker could still be traded. In return, the Clippers could receive a quality wing and draft compensation.

At full health, the Clippers possess a formidable duo in Harden and Leonard. Over the years, these two players have demonstrated their dominance in some of the most intense spotlights in NBA history. With the right support system and top-tier coaching, fans should not count the Clippers out of the title race next season.