When they lost their “Big Three” of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan, most people expected the Los Angeles Clippers to struggle in the 2018-19 NBA season. However, since the regular season started, the Clippers surprisingly performed well and are currently sitting in the No. 4 spot in the Western Conference with a 17-10 record.
If they become consistent with their performance and remain healthy throughout the season, it will not be a surprise if they manage to earn a playoff spot in the deep Western Conference. Still, no matter what the outcome of the 2018-19 NBA season will be, the Clippers are expected to become major players when free agency hits next July. The Clippers are currently in a strong position to create enough salary space for two max free agents next summer.
The 2019 NBA free agency will be featuring several NBA superstars like Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler, Kemba Walker, Klay Thompson, and DeMarcus Cousins. Though free agency is still far away, Brian Windhorst of ESPN revealed that the Clippers have already started scouting some of their top targets, specifically Durant and Leonard.
“The Clippers, it seems, closely watch every Raptors and Warriors game this season. Even though they are having a terrific season of their own — experiencing the rare joy of expectation-free success in the NBA — the Clippers are rather transparently obsessed with chasing Kawhi Leonard and Kevin Durant in free agency next summer. It’s clear from their books. They’ve cleared a path to open two max salary slots. It’s clear through their actions. They’ve been treating the two like college recruits and sending executives just to watch numerous Warriors and Raptors games so they’re visible.”
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) December 12, 2018
The Raptors knew what the Clippers are doing as their officials have reportedly noticed a Clippers employee attending 75 percent of their game this season. Even Clippers President of Basketball Operations was present in some of the Raptors’ games. Since the 2018 NBA offseason, rumors are already circulating about Kawhi Leonard and Kevin Durant’s desire to play in Los Angeles.
Some people might think that Leonard and Durant were only talking about the Lakers and not the Clippers, but in the past months, there are speculations that both superstars are not interested in teaming up with LeBron James. Acquiring Leonard and Durant will undeniably make the Clippers a huge threat in the Western Conference. If they only succeed to sign one of them, Windhorst believes that the Clippers may consider using a max slot to bring back Tobias Harris, who is currently averaging 21.0 points and 8.2 rebounds on 50.5 percent shooting from the field and 39.8 percent shooting from beyond the arc.