It’s official: The LA Clippers will not have fans at the Staples Center for the 1st quarter of the upcoming 2020-21 season.
Both NBA teams that currently call the Staples Center home announced Wednesday they would begin the season with no fans in attendance, the Clippers turning it into a basketball-themed four-quarter system where everything after the opening quarter of the season will be evaluated in due time.
This is how the Clippers will deal with the situation of allowing fans this upcoming season. They will evaluate the idea as the season goes on.— Farbod Esnaashari (@Farbod_E) November 12, 2020
Home Games 1-9: No fans
Home Games 10-18: Evaluation
Home Games 19-27: Another Evaluation
Home Games 28-36: Another Evaluation pic.twitter.com/e4kFAiV0Rp
It’s probably not a surprise to hear this news, realistically. No sport in California — held indoors or outdoors — has yet been allowed to have fans physically present in venues since the shutdown in March, and while that could change in 2021, we need to get through the latest phase of the coronavirus pandemic before counting on fans in attendance to resume.
Clippers team owner Steve Ballmer is one of the richest people in sports, but teams will be increasingly stretched by having no fans and will push hard for fans in attendance to keep revenue streams open. So it’s little surprise the Clippers’ messaging is upbeat in hoping fans can attend at some point in the coming season.
But Arash Markazi claims Staples Center Premier Seat holders have been told not to hold their breath for any live events at the venue next season.
Several Premier Seat holders at Staples Center informed me that they were told not to expect any fans at games this upcoming season for the Lakers, Clippers or Kings. Premier Seat holders have access to all events at Staples Center.— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) November 12, 2020
So we’ll see. But no fans in attendance for a couple months, probably longer, and we’ll have to keep playing everything by ear at this point.
More news for your Thursday:
- CP3 reunion coming? Trade rumors have been percolating, with Chris Paul linked to multiple teams this offseason. That includes the Clippers, with Ryen Russillo claiming Kawhi Leonard has started lobbying Paul to come back to the Clips, and the Clippers reportedly trying to elbow their way into a trade between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Phoenix Suns. Hard to say how realistic any of this is, but we’ll see.
- But wait, there’s Russ rumors too: On Tuesday, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer reported that the Clippers are interested in Russell Westbrook, something Sabreena covered in some detail already.
Great reporting here by Tim and Woj. Adds detail to my report yesterday that teams believe Russell Westbrook can be had from the Rockets. They note a trade request is a “plausible eventual possibility.” The Knicks and Clippers do have interest in trading for Russ, my sources say. https://t.co/cDuTwx2E7p— Kevin O'Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) November 11, 2020
And on Wednesday, Shams Charania reported Westbrook has asked to leave the Houston Rockets.
Could the Clippers actually land Westbrook? Does it make sense? The madness has begun, the NBA hot stove is truly here! Ride the lightning.
- Lue and Billups, BFF: This feature from the LA Times’ Andrew Greif was fascinating, detailing how Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue and expected assistant coach Chauncey Billups have been best friends since high school, despite never playing together.
- Reading the tea leaves for Clips’ offseason moves: This column in The Athletic from Jovan Buha breaks down the big decisions to be made for the Clippers in the coming weeks and some possibilities. It’s a good read.
- Kawhi’s Jolly Rancher kicks: For something completely different, Kawhi Leonard’s shoe deal with New Balance includes a new line of shoes and apparel inspired by his love of Jolly Rancher candy.