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Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer says the team won’t tank during the 2018-19 season to get a better pick in the 2019 NBA draft.
This upcoming season will be the first year since 2011 that the Clippers won’t have Chris Paul, Blake Griffin or DeAndre Jordan on the team. Paul was traded to the Houston Rockets last summer, Griffin was sent to the Detroit Pistons at the February trade deadline and Jordan signed with the Dallas Mavericks this offseason in free agency.
Many believe the Clippers are in rebuild mode now that Paul, Griffin and Jordan are all gone. Speaking at the Clippers’ event for season ticket holders on Wednesday, however, Ballmer says there will be no tanking in Los Angeles.
“That ain’t us. Nuh-uh, no way,” Ballmer said, via Helene Elliott of The Los Angeles Times. “People can do it their way. We’re going to be good our way. We’re not going to show up and suck for a year, two years. I think we got higher expectations on us than the long, hard five, six years of absolute crap like the 76ers put in. How could we look you guys in the eye if we did that to you?”
The Clippers will have a tough time competing for a playoff spot in the Western Conference. The best player on the team is probably small forward Tobias Harris, who turned down an $80 million extension offer from the Clippers this summer and will become an unrestricted free-agent in 2019.
Ballmer and the Clippers will have close to $40 million in cap space next summer and are expected to heavily pursue Kawhi Leonard, who is still primarily interested in signing with the Lakers or Clippers.