Photo via Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times
The Los Angeles Clippers have blown a series lead in five straight NBA playoffs. Their most recent, today’s loss against the Utah Jazz in Game 7 at Staples Center.
For whatever reason, the Clippers can’t get over the hump. It isn’t the championship hump, but a hump to just win enough playoff series to make at least to the Western Conference Finals.
Nonetheless, it is time for this team to be broken up. They are a good team, who will win 50 plus games in the regular season, but they won’t ever win an NBA championship.
They can’t get by teams in the first few rounds, so there is no chance they would ever get by a San Antonio or a Golden State.
Los Angeles would forever be stuck in purgatory. Not good enough to win a championship, but not bad enough to get a meaningful draft pick.
The Clippers should immediately re-sign guard Chris Paul. He is the identity and the makeup of the team. He provides immense toughness and is still one of the best players in all of the NBA. There is not much of a question here.
In addition, they should keep DeAndre Jordan. He is a game-changing center with immense talent on the defensive end. There are still many issues on offense, like free throws, but he and CP3 have great chemistry that shouldn’t be broken up.
Nevertheless, they should look to get rid of forward Blake Griffin. Yes, he improved this year shooting the basketball and had better assist numbers, but the man has not helped them win basketball games. Whenever he gets hurt the team doesn’t lose any more games, but the same can’t be said for when Paul gets hurt.
They shouldn’t let him walk in free agency, but they should look to trade him. Trade him for some high draft picks and then use the money that would have gone to Griffin to attract another free agent.
The team would get better by using Griffin’s max contract on someone else. In 2018, there are many big name free agents. Therefore, they should re-sign Griffin, but look to trade him over next season to then cash in big time on the 2018 free agent class.
Maybe, things will work out next season and magically get better. If they do, then keep Griffin, but if they don’t, as expected, it will be time to trade Griffin.
With the trade, they can bring in a talented draft pick and another max player. The team will automatically be better. If the draft pick becomes a star, then they can compete with the Warriors and Spurs come June.
In addition, coach Doc Rivers has to be on his last legs. If not this season, but definitely by next season, it will be time to move on from Rivers. He was overrated during his time in Boston because he got lucky to coach three future Hall of Famers.
Now with the talent of the Clippers, he can’t even get by the Utah Jazz.
Los Angeles should also take a look at getting rid of guard Jamal Crawford. He provides a nice spark on offense, but his defensive production is lacking, which shows itself during the playoffs.
As far as guard JJ Reddick is concerned, LAC should look to keep him. He fills a nice role for the Clippers and is a solid player. Every team needs their knock down three-point shooter to advance in the playoffs.
Ultimately, it is time for the Clippers to think hard about Doc Rivers and Blake Griffin. It might not be the time to get rid of them, yet, but the window is closing. Remember, the Warriors seemed to make a crazy move to fire Mark Jackson and hire Steve Kerr, but look at them now.
The well-calculated risk can not be overlooked.