Once upon a time, the basketball world saw the Los Angeles Clippers as the new to beat in Southern California. In the summer of 2019, Steve Balmer and the Clippers acquired Paul George and then reigning NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard. The move sent shockwaves across the NBA world, potentially signaling a power shift between the two teams that shared the Staples Center for many years. Soon after, the Lakers made a trade for All-NBA talent Anthony Davis, quickly ending the narrative that the Clippers had taken over Tinseltown by becoming the 2020 NBA Champions.
Clippers are making moves
The Lakers still have Davis and LeBron James while adding Russell Westbrook this past offseason but are struggling to find the right chemistry to make their engine go. On the other hand, the Clippers have a better record than the Lakers despite being without their two superstars. They may have the better record, but the Lakers are still considered the better team, but a recent trade by the little brother in Los Angeles may usher in an evident changing of the guard. The Clippers acquired two very capable and versatile wings in Norman Powell and Robert Covington in exchange for a package centered around journeymen Eric Bledsoe and Justise Winslow.
The best team in L.A.
The trade gives the Clippers arguably one of the best closing fives in the NBA. Powell and Covington are great on both sides of the ball, giving Ty Lue the option of going small with Reggie Jackson at the point or Marcus Morris playing the small-ball five. Against bigger teams, Lue can elect to go with Ivica Zubac or Serge Ibaka and slide Paul George over to the point guard position, fielding the biggest five-person lineup in the league. Thanks to this trade, the Clippers could easily be the best defensive team in the league.
Balmer and the crew are now looking beyond the battle of Los Angeles as this move not only makes his team significantly better than the Lakers but puts them in prime position to cause problems for the top teams in the league, Phoenix and Golden State. With the Clippers' new-found size and skill across the board, one has to believe that the front office had the Suns and Warriors in mind when making this deal, specifically pertaining to defensive match-ups for Chris Paul and Stephen Curry. The bigger Powell will put pressure on the two small guards to guard a skilled offensive player with a considerable size advantage over them, with the intent of taking out their legs to minimize their effect on the offensive end.
The Lakers may still do something by this year's trade deadline, but the market for their supporting cast is rapidly softening. Talen Horton-Tucker is believed to be their best trade asset, but his play this season has left teams unwilling to take a gamble on the Klutch client. Couple that with the health issues of AD and LeBron's age, and it's hard to see the Lakers finding a way back to their championship aspirations anytime soon. If you think this is not a blockbuster trade, think again because the Los Angeles Clippers are the new Kings of LA, and could possibly be the Kings of the NBA very soon.