A roller coaster is the closest thing the Clippers season can be compared to. Los Angeles started the course very well despite the notable loss of their main star, Kawhi Leonard. But that streak didn’t last long, and what was a fight for Play-Off positions has deflated until ending in the fight for the Play-In. In recent days, progress has been made in Leonard’s recovery, but it seems that all illusions about it may be dispelled.

Kawhi suffered a torn ACL in his right knee, a serious injury from which he is recovering faster than expected. This led to speculation about his possible return this season, but sources who know the player’s thinking have brought us down from the “cloud”: “He has always played things methodically and cautiously. He knew he was ahead of his rehabilitation, but he wouldn’t bet on it. Kawhi always focuses on the long term. If they’re not in the playoff scene, I think the chances of him coming back are slim or nil..”

To this must be added the problem with Paul George. History seems to be repeating itself, as in the Kawhi case. What in principle were going to be 3-4 weeks off, could lead to loss for the remainder of the season. Sources have confirmed B/R that the rupture of the ulnar collateral ligament in George’s right elbow could put him out of action until next year.

This situation poses a great challenge to Lawrence Frank, General Manager of the Clippers, and Steve Ballmer, owner of the franchise. It seems that this scenario had already been contemplated in the offseason by the franchise, according to league sources. The Warriors’ rebuilding model has been liked in the NBA, and it seems that Ballmer is one of them. The option to take this season as a sabbatical is not the Clippers’ main option, that if they manage to get into Play-Off, something quite difficult, and Kawhi arrives, the story could be very different.

With his two stars out of the game, and with the first draft picks lost due to the arrival of George, Tyron Lue will have to act as a strategist and bet on young talents. On the table appear the names Brandon Boston Jr., Keon Johnson or Terance Mann, those called to lead the team in the absence of Kawhi and PG.

Knowing that with the casualties and coronavirus protocols, veterans can enter the market, the Clippers could make the decision to trade them for young talent with a greater projection. “They are quite open to negotiating with anyone except their main guys and Terance Mann. I really think they are fine staying out of the playoffs and regrouping for next year. CInmate who are trying to get rid of the Marcus Morrises of the world, guys who have some value and maybe they can replace them with younger talent, maybe cheaper, to free them up and get someone else this summer”Commented an official from the West.

The main names that sound to go out are those of Morris, Ibaka or Bledsoe. The forward could easily enter the aspiring team’s rotation. What would benefit the Clippers the most would be transferring him to Pelicans to get a first round.. Ibaka may be the most “urgent” in such a situation. The Spanish is charging 9.7 million dollars. If the Clippers were to get out of that contract, they would dodge more than $ 40 million in taxes.. Oklahoma City Thunder, a team in which Ibaka has already been, is the franchise that sounds the most for a possible deal. The Bledsoe case is different, as there are options of him staying and the Clippers taking his salary, or looking for a possible trade with players like Goran Dragic.

What is clear is that in the coming weeks, the Clippers will have to start playing their cards, to create a competitive team in 2023, led by Kawhi Leonard and Paul George..


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