Coming off their greatest season ever, the LA Clippers were geared up for a few key changes that they hoped would vault them into the upper echelon of the NBA hierarchy. They set their sights on a proven, winning coach, and thought seriously of giving up what they needed to for a couple of veteran players who might have enough left for one more championship run.
The coach part worked out, but thank you very much, the rest of if did not, and the result is a first place, still young and exciting 6-3 Clippers team coming off two giant wins against Houston, a close road loss at Miami, and a pair of scintillating, exciting wins against the powerful Thunder and the vastly improved and now title-contending Timberwolves.
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|Meanwhile, the guys they wanted are sinking fast.
The deal the Clippers and the media talked about all summer was a proposed monumental trade with Boston that would have given the Clippers not just a coach in Doc Rivers, but two or three aging veterans in Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and possibly also Jason Terry. But, the cost would have been extremely high – young, powerful, athletic center DeAndre Jordan. I was opposed to any form of such a deal involving the old Celtics and Jordan from the start, and it’s a good thing they listened to me.
They made a deal for Rivers, but left the old guys alone, and that trio eventually found a new home, together, as centerpieces of the highly touted but extremely overrated new Brooklyn Nets roster.
|Well, Doc and the Clippers are doing just fine, and Jordan is one of the reasons, scoring 11.8 points per game and pulling down 12.9 boards, while playing 36 minutes a game. All of these number are close to double his career averages.
Meanwhile in Brooklyn, the Nets are in last place at 2-5, and the old guys are a big reason why. After seven game, the 37-year-old Garnett is putting up career low numbers of 6.0 points and 6.9 rebounds per game, and the 36-year-old Pierce is similarly scoring at a career low 13.4
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per game. The 36-year-old Terry is scoring not just at a career low, but down almost two-thirds off his career numbers.
The season is barely two weeks old, but it is not premature to say the Clippers’ current success is due in large part to the trade they did not make.