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Clippings: Hype train — and boo birds — back out for Clippers

Plus, more news for your Wednesday.

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Los Angeles Clippers v Denver Nuggets - Game Six Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

It’s a good thing the NBA season is starting in a month, because the narrative is really ramping up again for the 2020-21 season and LA Clippers.

Two distinct trains of thought are emerging, with both the Clippers deemed improved and the biggest competition for the Los Angeles Lakers heading into the season, and also choke artists who will never come good. Sometimes the same person is saying both of those things!

Take ESPN institution Stephen A. Smith, for example. On Tuesday on “First Take,” he claimed both the Clippers are better now and capable of pushing the Lakers to win the West...

...and then also railed against Kawhi Leonard for not being a good leader and went back to the old line that the Clippers just can’t get it done.

I guess if you play both sides you can’t be wrong.

I do think that unlike last season, the Clippers aren’t going to be favorites or presumed to be the top dog, with the Lakers being the champs. Perhaps going under the radar a bit will help a lot, at least that has to be the hope for season two of the Kawhi & Paul George era, since ultimately they can only shut up the boo birds by performing.

More news for Wednesday:

  • Everyone’s waiting for a big trade: Former Clipper Matt Barnes, in the second of those videos from “First Take,” made the point that point guard still needs to be addressed and everyone’s waiting for the Clippers to pull off a trade. Dan Woike reported in the LA Times this week that an unnamed Eastern Conference exec thinks the other shoe has to drop for the Clips. Right? Right?!
  • Clippers waive Patton: In news that probably isn’t a big surprise, the Clippers announced Tuesday they have waived center Justin Patton. He was acquired in the trade with the Pistons that landed LA guard Luke Kennard, but he hadn’t played for the Pistons and seemed like a long shot to play for the Clips.
  • Taking stock of free agency frenzy: John Hollinger has a long dive into free agency happenings at The Athletic, and among his conclusions: Montrezl Harrell will struggle to find playing time for the Lakers, and oof, Marcus Morris’ new contract with the Clippers is one of the worst signed (although he says the rationale is understandable).
  • Jazz to allow fans at games: In “are you sure about that?” news, the Utah Jazz are set to welcome up to 1,500 fans at home games from the start of the season. In other news, coronavirus numbers are currently higher than they’ve ever been.
  • Kennard visits high school: New Clipper Luke Kennard is in his native Cincinnati and stopped by his high school this week. At least everyone was wearing masks in the photo.
  • Oubre disses Suns: Kelly Oubre Jr. now plays for the Golden State Warriors and he wasn’t afraid to take some shots at Phoenix Suns team owner Robert Sarver on his way out. The kicker, about the new jersey, was especially spicy.
  • New Grizz unis: Speaking of jerseys, the Memphis Grizzlies have a new uniform that’s a tribute to singer Isaac Hayes and it looks pretty, pretty good.