For Want of a Coach, The Team Was Lost

Or, will this past season’s most accurate NBA team tagline now apply to the “other” LA team; will it be the “Old and Slow” Clippers?

As rumor after rumor is legitimized on LA sports talk radio and on the internet, it appears that the best LA Clippers’ team in history is about to be disbanded, thrown out with the Vinny del Negro bath water. This past season’s Clippers failed badly in the playoffs, but it was a young, exciting team, that played fabulous team defense and when reasonably healthy, produced enough offense to put together the best regular season seen in LA Clippers’ annals. Left basically alone to mature, and with some fine tuning, the team would, in my humble opinion, be only better next season. That could have been with Vinny back as coach, certainly with one of the available veteran coaches who are currently free agents, especially George Karl or Lionel Hollins, and quite likely with a talented newcomer who has waited patiently for his shot, i.e., Brian Shaw.

Instead of following through with the first long-range blueprint for winning that has EVER worked in the team’s history, Clippers’ management has instead chosen to basically rip the current roster apart, in large part to obtain a high-priced veteran coach, who just happens to be employed by another team, and also, as the rumors go, to lay a pot of gold at the feet of the most over-rated player in modern sports history, this past season’s Lakers’ fiasco, Deeee-Wight Howard.



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Hard to understand any of this.

First, Doc Rivers and the Celtics: The rumors describe this as basically a done deal, with only details to be worked out. Overnight, the Clippers would go from young and energetic to old and slow, obtaining not just a coach, but 37-year-old Kevin Garnett, five years too late, and likely 35-year-old Paul Pierce, at least three years too late. The team would also receive at least one stupid expiring contract, possibly the one belonging to journeyman Courtney Lee, who should NEVER see his name on a Clippers’ roster. It could, though, be Jason Terry, who also is 35, but unlike Pierce and Garnett, still seems to have some real

basketball life left in his aging body.

The Clippers would be giving up young stud DeAndre Jordan, likely Caron Butler, and more, possibly a guy who should be an untouchable, Eric Bledsoe, but that is more part of the OTHER story. As to this one, the New Look Clippers, featuring Garnett and Pierce would BE the “Old and Slow and Never Were” Clippers, coached by a guy little, if any, better than someone they could have gotten for free (Karl, Hollins, Shaw).

Next, and worse, is the talk about dealing with the Lakers. Astounding as it seems, after watching the Howard disaster last season, the Clippers still, apparently, want him, and rumors say they would give the Lakers Blake Griffin and Eric Bledsoe in a sign-and-trade deal. Nooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!! (From the Clippers’ perspective)

I can just see it now, the laughing man Howard bursting at the seams as his aging running mates Garnett and Pierce keel over in cardiac arrest as they try to keep up with the energetic Chris Paul, Jamal Crawford, and/or Matt Barnes.

Looking at this from the Lakers’ perspective, ridding themselves of Howard and getting ANYTHING in return should be a dream come true, but coming away with Griffin and Bledsoe would be an astonishing turn of events, transforming Los Angeles basketball to where it was three years ago (and for the preceding 30 years). LA, which was in the process of transforming itself into a Clippers’ town, would be pulled back by a great force of nature, and once again would become literally, figuratively, emotionally, psychologically and economically a Lakers’ town, and the Clippers would once again be destined to the bottom rung of the NBA.

The Clippers had their shot. They are about to blow it, royally. And the Lakers will make off with the spoils.

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