With Doc Rivers being out, the Clippers revamp has officially begun. And while this is a step in the right direction, there’s still a long way to go before they’re in a position to maximize their potential. Getting a leader is a prerequisite for it.
The Clippers have two options: either to cultivate one or to sign him. The obvious cultivation candidate is Kawhi Leonard, as he is the Clippers’ best player. Now, being the team’s leader would’ve been a new stimulus for Leonard. He wasn’t that guy while in San Antonio, nor in his one-year championship campaign with the Raptors. But him adjusting to that role would’ve been the easiest route for the Clippers. And sure, him being the loudest voice in the locker room is off the table with Kawhi. But he can still lead by example. In the NBA, that might be the best way to do it.
If it’s not Leonard, then who is it? It’s not Paul George, I can tell you that much. PG already proved it; his leadership needs work. Guys like Patrick Beverley and Montrezl Harrell are great role players but don’t have the credentials to be the tone setters. Lou Williams and the whole leaving the bubble incident proved he isn’t exactly Mr.reliable. And then there’s Marcus Morris.
Now, it’s safe to assume the Clippers roster will undergo a complete overhaul and that some of the guys mentioned won’t be there whenever the 20/21 season tips off. But the way they’re constructed at the moment, finding their leader internally isn’t the way to go. Bringin someone in is, and Jay Williams knows just the right guy for the role.
“He’s probably not going to be in OKC anymore, and he was originally a Clipper when it started. You look at bringing CP3 back to the Clippers.”Jay Williams, KJZ
Paul has another year left on his contract, with an ability to activate the $44 million player option once he enters the next year’s free agency. He’ll be 35 once his option kicks in, and it’s safe to assume CP3 will exercise it. That means that the only route to acquire the guy is via trade, and matching his salary would be a reach for the Clippers, especially at their current state. Paul George is the asset who’d make the salaries work, but getting rid of him is not an option. So the financial hurdle might be one that is impossible to overcome, in any sort of realistic scenario.
If, however, the Clippers found the way to do it, fit-wise, this would’ve been just what the doctor ordered. A playmaking veteran, with a tremendous intermediate game, and an incredible two-way guard who is not afraid to impose himself as the leader of the group. And while he did receive some backlash for his leadership style, the fact is for the first time in his career; he wouldn’t have been the best player on the team. That in and of itself would’ve forced him to tone it down a notch.
But he still would’ve been the loudest voice in the locker room, with unquestionable credentials to do so. So if they can do it – they should do it. CP3 may be just what the Clippers need.