While last season was monumental for the Los Angeles Clippers, they still have plenty of work to do if they’re going to get to the point where they can challenge for a championship.
No one can really argue that the Clippers were a much better team with Chauncey Billups in the lineup. The Clips were 14-6 in the 20 games that Billups played in and 26-20 in the regular season without him. Billups’ injury is concerning and he’s not due back until December but it’s clear that L.A. is committed to the former Finals MVP. They are reportedly going to offer him a one-year deal worth over $4 million with bonuses. For the Clippers’ sake, you have to hope Billups comes back good as new.
Los Angeles is also planning on adding some size to their backcourt and signing Portland Trail Blazers guard Jamal Crawford.
“Crawford, an unrestricted free agent who opted out of his $5.2 million contract with the Portland Trail Blazers, has been offered a spot by the Clippers. He is expected to sign a four-year, $21.7 million contract, according to the executives.”
The Sixth Man of the Year only two years ago in Atlanta, Crawford had an off year in Portland and never seemed to find his groove. Almost all his stats were under his career averages, which could be a sign that the veteran is falling off, but the Clippers are going to take the chance that the Blazers just weren’t a good fit.
Los Angeles just has to wait until the NBA’s moratorium period is lifted for free agents to sign deals before officially adding Crawford and Billups.
If Crawford finds a way to get back to form and Billups returns from injury ready to go, the Clippers could be a force to be reckoned with. Already adding to a lineup that includes Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan that made it to the second round of the playoffs, they’ll have to be a contender for the Western Conference Finals if they stay healthy.