On paper, the Los Angeles Clippers have one of the deepest rosters in basketball, however, they haven’t been able to enjoy the product of their savvy moves due to a number of unlucky injuries starting at the top with five-time All-Star Kawhi Leonard.
The Clippers are in a good position to bring their core group back for another run next season, and if Tyronn Lue has anything to say about it, the whole roster will return in free agency.
“Everybody,” Lue said after the Clippers’ loss to the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday. “We get our main guys back, I mean ... we can be dangerous. Health is part of it. We got to stay healthy, continue to work. Like I said, right now we got what we got. Proud of our guys in the locker room. Nothing to hang their heads about. So it is what it is.”
In total, the Clippers have six players that will enter free agency this summer, not including Nicolas Batum, who has a $3.3 million player option that he will almost certainly decline for a long-term deal, and Ivica Zubac, who has a $7.5 million team option in his contract. Of those players, Robert Covington has the most potential to get a bigger payday elsewhere in the league, but the 31-year-old forward has already said he sees Los Angeles as a long-term home.
“It’s been a great transition and of course I would like to return,” Covington said. “We’ll just see how the tides roll.”
It’s going to cost Steve Ballmer, who’s already paying the third-largest luxury tax bill in the NBA, to keep the Clippers’ group together, but when you have a group as talented and scrappy as this one, it’s worth the cost.