The Los Angeles Clippers have fixed their weakest area going into the 2015 – 2016 NBA season, with the help of former Houston Rocket Josh Smith. They were also able to win back DeAndre Jordan with a four-year contract. In addition, they also added Lance Stephenson and Paul Pierce, who are each possible game-changers.
On Thursday, July 16, the Los Angeles Clippers revealed the news that Smith, who had helped eliminate them in the second round of the playoffs last season, had signed a one-year contract. Smith apparently signed with Los Angeles for the minimum of $1.5 million. According to Chris Broussard of ESPN, Smith wanted to win more than he wanted the money. He was picked up by the Rockets after the Detroit Pistons let him go, and played 55 games with Houston last year. Smith announced in a prepared statement, “I want to express my appreciation to everyone for the support and kindness they have showed me and my family while I have been here. Thank you!”
Dwight Howard, who was Smith’s childhood friend, recruited him for the Rockets when the Pistons released him, which turned out to be a great move for Smith. Out of 48 games, Smith scored double digits in 35 of those games. He scored 20 points in four games in which he came off the bench. He had an even bigger impact in the playoffs when Houston was down 3-1 in the series against the Los Angeles Clippers, and in Game 5, Smith was put in the starting lineup and the Rockets won the series. In Game 6, the Clippers were down by 19 points in the second half, and Corey Brewer and Smith combined to score almost 30 points.
The Los Angeles Clippers seem to have fixed their biggest weakness with a Rocket, but more than one player can be considered a real “rocket.” Jordan, who has signed on for four more years, had previously spoken with the Dallas Mavericks and agreed to sign with them, but Los Angeles was not going to allow that to happen. A few hours after Jordan agreed to sign with the Mavericks, several members of the Los Angeles Clippers organization went to his home to convince Jordan to re-sign with them. According to a source, the Los Angeles Clippers owner, Donald Sterling, and some players, including Pierce, said they were not going to leave Jordan’s home until he signed on the dotted line. Yahoo! Sports reports that Jordan refused to meet with Mark Cuban, or anyone from the Mavericks organization. Broussard reported that Cuban drove around, anxiously searching for Jordan’s home, and was sending text messages asking for the address. If things were not weird enough, Blake Griffin, who was at Jordan’s home that night, posted a picture of a chair blocking the door. The contract was signed minutes after midnight.
If Pierce fills in for Matt Barnes, the Clippers will have a bench full of players who are rotation-worthy. Rotation was their weak spot, and it seems it will no longer be a problem with such respectable players on the bench. This could quite possibly change the game for Los Angeles this season, and give them a shot at the NBA championship.
The Los Angeles Clippers have managed to fix their potentially biggest weakness with a Rocket, and some other key players. This could make the Clippers the team to beat going into the new season. It is geared up to be an exciting season for Clippers fans and players.
Commentary by Katherine Miller-Chichester
ESPN: Josh Smith joins Cllippers on one-year deal at veterans minimum
Business Insider: Top free agent DeAndre Jordan re-signed with the Clippers after teammates camped out at his house
Business Insider: The Los Angeles Clippers quietly fixed their biggest weakness this summer, and now they look like one of the scariest teams in the NBA
Top Photo Courtesy of truthaboutit’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inline Photo Courtesy of Keith Allison’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License