The Lob City era may have already ended for the Los Angeles Clippers, but they are currently aiming to build a team that has a real chance of contending for the NBA championship title. After sending Tobias Harris’ expiring contract to the Philadelphia 76ers before the February NBA trade deadline, the Clippers obtained a handful of trade assets, which they could use in a blockbuster deal to land a superstar next summer.
Also, after the 2018-19 NBA season, the Clippers are expected to become major players in the 2019 NBA free agency. According to Adam Fromal of Bleacher Report, the Clippers could create two max slots by trading Danilo Gallinari for salary cap space. If they succeed to open enough salary cap space for two maximum free agents, Fromal believes that the Clippers have a strong chance of acquiring both Kawhi Leonard of the Toronto Raptors and Kristaps Porzingis of the Dallas Mavericks in the 2019 NBA offseason.
Since he was traded to the Toronto Raptors, Kawhi Leonard has been frequently linked to the Clippers. In January, Tim Bontemps of ESPN detailed a growing belief around the league that Leonard will prefer to take his talent to Los Angeles, rather than stay in a cold city like Toronto. There may be two NBA teams situated in his hometown, but there are speculations that Leonard isn’t interested in teaming up with Lakers superstar LeBron James.
“The popular opinion among league executives six months before Leonard makes his decision is that he’ll choose between the [Toronto] Raptors and the Clippers. If it comes down to those two teams, the chance for Leonard to come home and to stay away from snow could be the Clippers’ strongest argument.”
— Forbes SportsMoney (@ForbesSports) March 2, 2019
Meanwhile, Fromal believes that the Clippers’ recruitment of Kristaps Porzingis won’t be an easy task, especially after seeing how determined the Mavericks are in making him and Luka Doncic part of their long-term future. However, since the blockbuster trade with the New York Knicks, Porzingis hasn’t given any assurance that he intends to stay in Dallas.
“Porzingis is the wild card, mostly because the Dallas Mavericks have appeared so externally confident in their mutual future. But in this exercise, the big man can’t re-sign with the team to which the New York Knicks traded him midway through the 2018-19 campaign.”
As Fromal noted, the Clippers have all some assets and resources Kristaps Porzingis could be looking for in his next team. The Clippers can give him a max contract, the chance to compete for the NBA championship title, and Kahwi Leonard, another superstar who can team up with him next season.