The Los Angeles Clippers stunned the Phoenix Suns in Game 1 of the first round of the 2023 NBA playoffs, but ultimately couldn’t keep pace with their division rivals in a 4-1 series loss. With Kawhi Leonard and Paul George both sidelined, the Clippers lacked the necessary star power to put them over the top. Here’s a look at how Los Angeles sets up heading into a pivotal offseason.
2022-23 season recap
The Clippers were marred by inconsistent play, largely due to Leonard being in and out of the lineup with load management. The team finally started to gel heading into the stretch run before George suffered a leg injury that would rule him out through the first round of the playoffs.
Behind Leonard’s brilliance, the Clippers managed to snag the No. 5 seed in a tough Western Conference battle. Leonard remained a superstar through the first two games, but sustained a knee injury and was ruled out for the next three contests. Even for a team with plenty of depth, the stars being hurt was too much to overcome.
2023 offseason priorities
Leonard and George simply haven’t been healthy at the right time for LA. This duo was brought in with so much fanfare and the organization likely thought it had won a title right there. However, the results on the court haven’t been good. The Clippers are mostly known in this latest era for blowing another 3-1 lead, something they probably thought would never happen to them again.
Both stars hold player options for 2024-25, which makes next season a crucial one. The Clippers can get out of Eric Gordon’s contract and Mason Plumlee’s deal also expires, so there’s some salary space to maneuver. Russell Westbrook could be brought back on a cheap deal but the real question is what the team will do with its depth pieces. The Clippers have six players who can act as salary filler to in a trade to land a better third player. LA doesn’t have draft assets but the filler players are good enough on their own to be enticing to a team with a malcontent star. In a year where both Leonard and George will be asked about their futures, the Clippers might need to be aggressive in pursuing a trade.