The Stark Difference Between the Free Agency of the LA Clippers & the Los Angeles Lakers

Published 09/10/2021, 11:30 AM EDT
May 30, 2021; Dallas, Texas, USA; LA Clippers guard Terance Mann (14) and center Ivica Zubac (40) celebrate with teammates during the first quarter against the Dallas Mavericks in game four in the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports


The LA Clippers last season had an incredible run in the postseason. Led by the duo of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, the Clippers made it to the Conference Finals for the very first time.

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Given how promising their post season run was, one thing is clear, this Kawhi and George duo can wreak havoc in the Western Conference. But for the 2020-21 campaign that might not be the case as Leonard is recovering from a partial Achilles tear.

Jun 12, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; LA Clippers guard Paul George (13) celebrates after a three-point basket against the Utah Jazz in the second quarter during game three in the second round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs. at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

In the off-season, Clippers’ cross city rivals Lakers’ were one of the most active teams as they revamped their whole supporting cast. Adding some of the oldest veterans in the team, the Purple and Gold have one of the oldest teams in the NBA with an average age of over 30 years.

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But contrary to the Lakers, the Clippers have had a very different approach in the off-season. While the Lakers brought in players like Dwight Howard and Carmelo Anthony, the Clippers got rid of their veterans like Rajon Rondo and Patrick Beverley.

LA Clippers’ free agency strategy to future proof the team?

The Clippers took a massive gamble as they added a dynamic point guard in Eric Bledsoe. They also added a talented forward in Justice Winslow from the market. Ty Lue and Co. also re-signed some of their key members like Nicolas Batum and Reggie Jackson and secured the most important free agent from their team in Kawhi Leonard.

While these moves took all the headlines, it was the other subtle signings that the Clippers made have flew under the radar. In the 2021 NBA draft, the Clippers selected guard Keon Johnson with their 21st pick. Regarded as a lottery pick, Johnson dropping all the way down to 21st was a very big surprise.

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The 19-year-old’s offense might be a bit raw, but their is no doubting his upside. Given his ability to defend the best guards and his incredible explosive ability in the transition, Keon is set to make an immediate impact. Apart from Johnson, the Clippers added even more depth to their guard spot as they added Jason Preston. An excellent passer, the 6’3″ guard can be an able backup and has a high ceiling in terms of offense.

Another major addition was BJ Boston Jr. A streaky scorer, the former Sierra Canyon guard stands at 6’7″ and has the perfect build to be an excellent wing. Given their recent activity, one thing is clear, the Clippers might be planning to future-proof their squad.

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While they do not have the luxury to sign lottery pick till 2027, the Clippers are betting on players who are still raw but have a very high potential. Building a balanced team on paper, LAC will hope some of these young players become stars. The Clippers’ saw one of their young players in Terrence Mann step up in the playoffs last season. Given that Leonard will be absent, the Clippers will hope their young guns will step up.

If players like Mann and any of their draft picks makes a positive impact, it will be a big success for LAC. Considering Kawhi returns to full health next season, these young players can play a major role. Either the team can stick with these promising talents or flip them to add yet another star. Is this strategy by Clippers going to work?

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Aditya Mohapatra

1186 articles

Aditya Mohapatra is a sports enthusiast who primarily covers the NBA for EssentiallySports. Having graduated in Mass Communication, he has prior experience in writing for ABP News, and has been writing for EssentiallySports since November 2020. This die-hard Los Angeles Lakers fan feels that LeBron James is the best thing to have ever happened to the NBA, and will hold a healthy debate with anyone suggesting otherwise.

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