The Los Angeles Clippers massively changed their roster last weekend while most NBA fans were sleeping. Before we get to what comes next for the Clippers, let’s review the updated Clippers roster and projected lineup in case you missed it with all the holiday excitement.
After privately recruiting Paul George, Kawhi Leonard committed to the Clippers once the George trade was announced. With all the Clippers gave up, there is no doubt it is a major gamble, but the move was also made with a potential Lakers big three looming as the alternative. Here’s a look at the projected Clippers roster, depth chart and starting lineup.
Clippers Roster & Projected Starting Lineup 2019-20
C: Ivica Zubac, Mfiondu Kabengele
PF: Montrezl Harrell, JaMychal Green
SF: Kawhi Leonard, Maurice Harkless, Terance Mann
SG: Paul George, Landry Shamet, Jerome Robinson, Rodney McGruder
PG: Lou Williams, Patrick Beverley
The goal for the Clippers is to get Leonard, George and Lou Williams on the floor at the same time as much as possible. All three players can play multiple positions, but given Williams’ size his best fit with this lineup is at point guard. Fans can expect George to also play some point-forward with Patrick Beverley providing energy off the bench.
Los Angeles needed to add some depth down low and just signed JaMychal Green thanks to their room exception. The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported the details of the signing.
“Free agent forward JaMychal Green is finalizing a two-year, $10M deal to return to the Los Angeles Clippers, with a second-year player option, league sources tell @TheAthleticNBA,” Charania tweeted.
Real GM’s Keith Smith explained how the Clippers were able to manuever around the salary cap via their exception.
“This is the Room Exception for Green. Great work for Clippers. They’ve put together one heck of a team. Terrific starters and a good, deep bench,” Smith noted on Twitter.
The Clippers Have Been Mentioned as a Potential Destination for Andre Iguodala
With the addition of Green, the Clippers are unlikely to make any more major moves in free agency. USA Today’s @YoggiMane broke down the Clippers latest salary cap room.
“With JaMychal Green back presumably for the room mid-level, the Clippers are set to be $8.3M below the tax before signing Kabengele and using their remaining $4.2M in cap space. Once both things are done, Clippers project to be just $2.2M below the tax,” Yoggie Mane detailed on Twitter.
One potential player that has been linked to the Clippers is Andre Iguodala. While buyout rumors have circulated, the Grizzlies continue to hold fast to the idea that they will be trading Iguodala rather than releasing the veteran. The Ringer’s Bill Simmons mentioned on his podcast that the Clippers could be an option for Iguodala with Los Angeles sending Mo Harkless along with other assets to Memphis.
Defense Could Be the Centerpiece of the Clippers
While everyone knows about the offensive ability of Leonard and George, it could be the duo’s defense that propels them into title contenders. Tom Thibodeau sees similarities to the 2008 Celtics team where he was on the coaching staff.
“I think this team has the capability to be just as good (as the 2008 Celtics) when you look at it,” Thibodeau explained to The Athletic. “I think it’ll be seamless. You’re talking about two elite defenders that guard multiple positions, multiple effort guys, never quit on plays. Both guys are very unique. Even if you can get by them, they’ll come from behind and get the ball. I think when you add in Patrick Beverley on the ball, 94 feet, and then those guys up in passing lanes, it’ll be very hard to score against them.”