Off-Season 101

Stephen Dunn

The on-court part of the Clippers' basketball season is done until October, but in the NBA, that means that the excitement is just getting started.

Don't get me wrong, the playoffs are clearly the most exciting part of the season for NBA coaches, players, and viewers.  It's where legacies are made, and where rings are won.

However, once a team knows that it's not winning a championship in June, the long process of building towards the next title run begins.

For the Clippers, not much will officially happen until around the draft.  The Clippers own their own first round pick, which will be the 28th overall (this has gotta be the lowest the Clippers' pick has ever been, right?).  They also don't have any second rounders, though of course that can change in trades.  In the weeks leading up to the draft in June, we'll  hear about workouts of potential prospects and start to get an idea of who the team will bring in.  For a pick as low as 28, it can be tough to speculate this early.  Plenty of players' draft stocks will fluctuate during the next month, but right now I'd love it if Adreian Payne fell to the Clippers, even though I'd have to learn that it's spelled e-i-a instead of i-e-a or the more typical i-a.

As we get closer to the draft itself, on June 26th, trade rumors will start to pop up, and there will invariably be some draft day trades.  Last year the Clippers were all over in the rumor mill but didn't make a big move until later on, in free agency.  It's an unpredictable trade market but it can be very exciting to follow.

Then, as happens every year, the free agency moratorium will begin at midnight on July 1st, and the actual signing period on the 7th.  I'm still not quite mentally ready to break down the numbers as I have in years past, but there's still about 6 weeks until free agency.  The nature of the NBA salary cap and trade market always seems to be that as soon as I'm sure of the Clippers' standing, they make a move or something changes, so it can be futile to attempt to develop an understanding too early on.

The NBA's Vegas Summer League will run from July 11th until the 21st, where we'll get a chance to see the Clippers 1st round pick.

From there, free agency activity and trade speculation normally continues throughout July as teams round out their roster with veterans for the minimum (this is the time when the Clippers signed Byron Mullens, Ryan Hollins, and Antawn Jamison last year--exciting stuff).

Then, once everything gets settled in August, it's a long trek until training camp begins in October.

As far as our coverage goes, we'll begin our yearly Exit Interview series on Monday.  These are the partner of our Player Previews from October, and we'll go down the roster, taking one member a day, and discussing their season and future.

We'll keep regular open threads for the playoff games in the Conference and NBA Finals, even though a lot of us aren't ready or willing to watch NBA games yet.

FlyByKnite, I, and our other writers will provide scouting reports on potential Clippers draft prospects, as well as getting updates on workouts and rumors.

The free agency period is sometimes our biggest time of the whole year traffic-wise, and we'll have constant updates of rumors, news, and analysis, both Clipper-centric and league-wide.

As for the Clips Nation Community Mock draft, I am open to bringing it back, just as I was last year.  However, last year we didn't have enough people to make it happen.  I'll probably do a separate post later on officially inquiring as to people's interest and asking for team sign-ups, but for now if anyone who thinks they might have preliminary interest would let me know, it'll give me an idea as to whether or not we can bring it back.

I speak not only for myself, but for Steve, John, and the rest of our writers and recappers when I thank all of you for reading, commenting, and sharing this season.  We've always maintained that this is a community, a user-driven site as opposed to a content-driven one, and it's been just as true this year as ever.  The dialogue from our readers in the comments is what makes Clips Nation truly unique.

We thank you again for your support of our blog and the Clippers this past season, and for your continued enthusiasm throughout this off-season and into next year, where we all know the Clippers will win the 2015 NBA Championship.

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