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Clippings: No fans in the 1st quarter (of the season)

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Plus, lots of trade rumors involving the Clippers!

Denver Nuggets v Los Angeles Clippers - Game Two Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

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.

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.

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.

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.