Clippers ‘determined’ to keep these two star free agents

    The L.A. Clippers face a difficult summer. Paul George is expected to turn down his player option for next season to become a free agent and James Harden will he unrestricted free agency. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Clippers are “determined” to keep both future Hall of Famers around long term.

    “The Clippers are determined to keep Paul George and James Harden in free agency,” Wojnarowski reported, “and the organization will move into the new, state-of-the-art Intuit Dome for the start of next season.”

    George has been with the Clippers for the past five seasons. Injuries have limited his ability to help the franchise challenge for a championship. He has only played over 60 games in one of those five campaigns. When healthy, though, George is still one of the best two-way wings in the NBA. It’s understandable why Steve Ballmer wishes to continue working towards a championship with Paul on the roster.

    Harden’s tenure with the Clippers has been far more short. He joined the franchise via trade with the Philadelphia 76ers at the start of the season before quickly slotting into HC Tyronn Lue’s system and thriving as the team’s primary ball-handler. In 72 regular-season games, Harden averaged 16.6 points, 5.1 rebounds and 8.5 assists while shooting 42.8% from the field and 38.1% from three-point range.

    Both stars will likely receive offers from around the NBA. As such, they would have to weigh up the role on offer from another team and the role they would have under Lue. They must also decide whether they believe the Clippers veteran-laden roster is talented and durable enough to sustain a deep postseason run. If Harden and George believe that the Clippers are on the verge of greatness, it’s highly unlikely they will choose to jump ship.

    Ballmer has spared no expense in positioning the Clippers as a premium organization in the NBA. The Intuit Dome will be the next step in his plan of putting the team on the map as a genuine destination for free agents and disgruntled stars.

    Still, consistent success is the best form of advertising to players around the NBA. The Clippers’ best chance of working toward that goal is with George and Harden on the roster. Given their roles this past season, it is unlikely they would look to jump ship. 

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