Despite entering the 2019-20 NBA season as the heavy favorites to bring home the Larry O’Brien Trophy, the Los Angeles Clippers ended up suffering a second-round exit in the Playoffs. While they still haven’t given up on their dream of winning their first NBA championship title, rumors are circulating that they are planning to make some roster changes this fall. In a recent article, Jovan Buha of The Athletic talked about the fate of Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and the Clippers in the 2020 offseason.
As most people are expecting, Buha revealed that the Clippers are still planning to continue building the team around Leonard, who is reportedly considered the only “untouchable” on their roster. However, though the odds of George being traded are low, the Clippers could reportedly explore the possibility of moving him if the right deal comes along.
“I think Leonard is the only untouchable on the roster,” Buha wrote, as quoted by Sam Amico of Sports Illustrated. “George is close to untouchable, but I think the Clippers would move him for the right package – and, obviously, if that was Leonard’s preferred outcome.”
It wouldn’t be surprising if the Clippers really end up parting ways with George this offseason. The 30-year-old small forward has become the center of controversy since they got eliminated by the Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals. Aside from his inconsistent performance in the Playoffs, there are rumors about his souring relationship with some of his teammates.
After their Game 7 loss against Denver, a previous The Inquisitr article reported that George had a short speech, urging his teammates to remain committed to their goal and stay ready to make another title run next year. Unfortunately, instead of bringing the team together, some of his teammates reportedly responded with “eye rolls and bewilderment.”
However, as The Athletic noted, the Clippers would need the permission of Leonard before executing a blockbuster deal involving George. Before he agreed to sign with the Clippers in last year’s free agency, it’s worth noting that Leonard personally recruited George to team up with him in Los Angeles. Also, if ever they move the All-Star forward, it would only be in a deal that would enable them to acquire Leonard’s new superstar running mate and not in a scenario that would give them a package that includes young players and multiple first-round picks.
There are plenty of big names that the Clippers could target on the trade market in the 2020 offseason. These include Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks, Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards, Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz, Gordon Hayward of the Boston Celtics, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers, and Russell Westbrook of the Houston Rockets.