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This NBA Team Must Deliver In The Playoffs

The Clippers are entering the 2024 NBA playoffs as the fourth seed, with a matchup against the Mavericks imminent. Since 2018, the Clippers have been making win-now moves, and now is their time to deliver. This playoff push may determine the Clippers' future, with James Harden and Paul George's extensions looming.


Paul George's Looming Contract Extension

The Clippers traded a historical haul to acquire Paul George from the Clippers. Along with a ransom of first-rounder picks, Los Angeles most notably traded NBA star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Shai has been in the top three in MVP voting, leading his team to a top-three seed this year. This adds significantly more tension to Paul George and his extension.


George has consistently contributed to the Clippers since he was acquired. Paul has contributed over 20 points every season with Los Angeles, but the Clippers made the move to get him for the playoffs. Los Angeles has not been able to get over the bump. George had a horrendous bubble playoff season, but he followed that up with a terrific playoff run, leading the Clippers to the conference finals, where they ultimately came up short.


Injuries and inconsistency have been Clipper's enemy, but this season is all the more critical. George has an imminent player option and will likely test the market. If the Clippers don't have a meaningful run, retaining George may not even make sense for the Clippers. George will command over 45 million dollars annually, and the Clippers are already allocating significant capital to the team. Having a deep playoff push could alter George and the Clippers' desire to remain together.


James Harden

When Harden forced his way to the Clippers, it was seen as a major win-now move. Harden has clearly stated he wants a long-term extension, and this playoff push will determine whether he does. Harden has averaged 16 points per game this year, dishing out 8.5 assists, and his facilitation and secondary shot-making will be a major X-factor for the Clippers.


If the Clippers can make at least the Western Conference Finals, they should look to retain their core group and continue building. However, if the Clippers have another early exit, consistently allocating their capital to their core doesn't make sense when the core they invested in doesn't deliver.

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