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  • Kyle Russell

Top Free Agent Targets: Los Angeles Clippers

LA Times

Max Cap Space: $57,485,733

Projected Cap Space: $51,833,309

Outside of maybe the Brooklyn Nets, no team in the NBA has gone through a rebuild as quickly and successfully as the Los Angeles Clippers. Under the direction of Jerry West, they’ve gotten off bad contracts, developed a talented young supporting cast, and established a gritty new culture. Most importantly, they’ve cleared their books and enter the summer with potentially two max free agent slots. With the appeal of LA, now’s the time for the Clippers to strike and complete the rebuild.

1. Kawhi Leonard

Since requesting a trade from the San Antonio Spurs in 2018, Leonard has been linked to Los Angeles at every opportunity. With LeBron James on the LA Lakers, it seemed like a forgone conclusion that Leonard would go to the Clippers. After leading the Toronto Raptors to their first NBA title and his second Finals MVP, Leonard has reminded the league that he’s a top five player. A two-way monster, Leonard can shut down the opposing team’s best perimeter player on one end and score at an elite level on the other.

2. Kevin Durant

Were it not for the devastating Achilles injury Durant suffered, he’d be number 1 on the list. Durant is an all-time level scorer that’s improved greatly as a playmaker and defender over his years with the Warriors. Durant was also linked to the Clippers as a potential next chapter for his career. Fully healthy, he’s a top three player in the league, but we won’t get a chance to see how healthy he is until the 2020-2021 season. To an extent, this is a gamble, but Durant is one of the rare few players worth the risk.

3. Jimmy Butler

Though Durant and Leonard will be the primary targets, Butler should still be on the Clippers radar if they strike out on the first two. Like Leonard, Butler is known for his two-way play, the difference mainly being Butler is a good arguably elite offensive player. He’d give the Clippers elite perimeter defense and scoring in a variety of ways as well as a go-to player in clutch moments. Butler also has experience as a leader for younger players, albeit with mixed results. With a proper running mate though, he’d be a great fit for the Clippers.

4. Kyrie Irving

A polarizing figure after the chaos he left in Boston, Irving is still one of the rare offensively elite players that make him worth taking a risk on. Though he plays the same position as star rookie Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, both have enough off-ball skills to play off each other. While okay-to-bad on defense, Irving is a mesmerizing ball-handler, elite shooter, and superb finisher on the offensive end. Irving also isn’t shy to take the last shot in a close game. Partnered with someone that can be the leader, like the first three names on this list, Irving would be the perfect secondary star for the Clippers.

5. Kemba Walker

Last but certainly not least, Walker brings to the table a lot of the same skills as Irving. While he doesn’t have an all-time great handle like Irving, Walker is still a great playmaker and scorer on the offensive end while not giving up as much on defense. Like Irving, he’d be a great secondary star for the Clippers if paired with another big name. Though older than Irving, Walker still brings a lot to the table and is worth the max offer. In the event the Clippers lose out on their first few options, there’s certainly worse they could do than Walker.

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