It is now September, officially, which means we are slowly getting near to NBA action at last. FIBA competition is ongoing, as is the WNBA, but for diehard NBA fans, that just doesn’t scratch the itch that watching your favorite team does. Clippers fans, in particular, don’t have much rooting interest in the FIBA World Cup, as no Clippers players are participating, nor are several key recent Clippers. Additionally, Clippers fans, more than maybe any other fanbase in the NBA, are looking forward to a team that will look completely different than last year’s. Therefore, the NBA season can’t come soon enough for Clips fans. Here’s a quick rundown of some key events that will take place in the coming months before the NBA regular season begins.
Hall of Fame Enshrinement - September 6th
This doesn’t have anything to do with the Clippers’ upcoming season, but will be an incredibly important moment in the history of the franchise. Ralph Lawler, the Clippers’ longtime broadcaster, will be inducted into the basketball Hall of Fame, and will be the first member of that august group primarily associated with the LA Clippers franchise. It will be sweet for Clippers’ fans to see Ralph get his well-deserved praise and recognition, and it’s always just a fun night for NBA fans in general.
Training Camp for Teams Outside North America - September 28th
The NBA is holding quite a few international games this year, with some as far afield as India, China, and Japan. Because of that travel, the teams participating in those games will open training camp a bit earlier than the rest. This won’t matter for the Clippers, who are playing internationally, but only in Vancouver, which is closer than most of the East Coast.
NBA Preseason Begins - September 30th
This is the much-awaited start of the NBA season, and even though the games won’t matter, all eyes will eagerly tune in nevertheless. It’s exciting to think this date is four weeks away to the day, even if it isn’t the real return of Clippers’ basketball.
Training Camp for all NBA Teams - October 1st
This is when the Clippers’ training camp will kick off in Honolulu, Hawaii. Media day should be the day before, which is when content on players will really kick off, but this is the first time there will be any real live footage of the Clippers all together. There have been rumors of a mini-camp before this taking place in Miami, but nothing has been confirmed yet.
Clippers open Preseason Against Rockets - October 3rd
Preseason is always a fun time of year. It’s feverishly anticipated by NBA fans, who can’t wait to see their favorite players and teams don their uniforms once more. However, it’s also quickly bemoaned by those same fans, who usually tire of the meaninglessness of the games after the first outing. It’s a nice welcome back for fans, but it’s tough to get too excited about these contests. Nonetheless, seeing Kawhi Leonard in a Clippers jersey for the first time will be thrilling.
First Home Game at Staples Center - October 10th
Clippers fans will have already seen Kawhi (but presumably not Paul George) in action in at least one of the previous preseason games, but this will be the initial chance for the great bulk of Clippers fans (all those who don’t live in Hawaii) to cheer the Fun Guy (and the rest of the squad) on in person. As such, this will probably be a very entertaining night, even if the result of the game doesn’t matter in the slightest. The Hawaii games might also be tough for most fans to catch on TV due to their odd timing, so this could be their introduction to the team and the new roster, even if they aren’t present in person.
Final Rosters Set - October 21st at 2 PM PT
This date shouldn’t be a huge deal for the Clippers this year. They already have 14 guaranteed contracts on their roster, as well as both two-way spots filled, and none of their camp invites seem like strong bets to make the regular season roster. Still, there’s a possibility one of them impresses enough to stick, or is good enough to bump one of Amir Coffey or Johnathan Motley from a two-way position. More importantly, this is when plenty of other players around the NBA will be cut loose, filling out the free agent situation a bit more clearly.
Opening Night - October 22nd
This is it. This is when it all begins, for real. The Clippers will take on their hometown rivals, the Lakers, and hopefully embark on the first championship season in franchise history. There’s a possibility Paul George still isn’t healthy, and the Clippers will certainly need time to gel. But they will have high expectations right away, and it starts on this night.