Clippers Lose Harrell to Lakers but Add More Versatile Ibaka

By in Sports on
5 Minute Read
LA-Clippers-Ibaka
  • The Los Angeles Clippers were busy during the first week of free agency.
  • Although they lost Montrezl Harrell to the Lakers, the Clippers signed Serge Ibaka from the free agency market.
  • With a more versatile big man in Ibaka, the Clippers are ready to challenge the Lakers.

Week 1 of the NBA’s free agency period is over. And after the first week, we’ve seen some of the league’s top free agents change residences. Then there were surprise moves that we didn’t expect but should shake-up the balance of the NBA next season.

The Clippers were one of the teams that were busy last week. Steve Ballmer’s boys were busy wheeling and dealing players, hoping to give coach Tyronn Lue the best lineup possible ever to succeed in his first season as head coach.

Clippers Offseason Moves

The Clippers re-signed Marcus Morris to a four-year deal worth $64M and kept Patrick Patterson on a one-year contract. They also flipped Landry Shamet and Patrick McGruder to Detroit for Luke Kennard. Kennard has not played since December 21 and has struggled with tendinitis throughout last season. He’s since recovered and says he is 100% healthy but that’s something to watch out for.

The Clippers lost JaMychal Green to the Denver Nuggets and Montrezl Harrell to their Los Angeles rival Lakers. Green averaged 6.8 points per game for the Clippers last season but has improved his shooting range and shot 39% from three-point range last season. Losing Green wasn’t such a big deal but Harrell’s departure was a big hit for the Clippers.

Trez had been one of the Clippers’ most productive players and its top energy guy. Since coming over from the Houston Rockets in 2017, he’s improved his scoring averaged in each of his first three seasons with the Clippers. After finishing third in the Sixth Man of the Year balloting in 2019, Harrell won the award this past season, besting teammate and three-time winner Lou Williams.

Clippers Sign Ibaka

But even before the Clippers could grieve the loss of their best big man, they bounced back quickly and signed Serge Ibaka to a two-year deal worth the mid-level exception of $19M. Ibaka last played for the Toronto Raptors and was Kawhi Leonard’s teammate when the Raptors won the 2019 NBA title.

In Ibaka, the Clippers are getting a more versatile big man at the same prize Harrell left them for. While he doesn’t bring the same energy as Harrell, Ibaka is not a defensive liability either. Although he is no longer the defensive force he once was, he has improved his outside shooting and developed a consistent three-point shot. Last season, he shot 39% from deep, and with that ability, the Clippers now have the ability to spread the floor with five players on the floor without compromising rim protection.

The Clippers still have Ivica Zubac and he should retain his post as the starting center. Ibaka will likely come off the bench, as Harrell did, so as not to affect the output of the Clippers bench which was one of the most productive benches in the league last season. However, coach Lue will likely let the more experienced Ibaka finish games with stars Leonard and George.

Ready to Challenge the Lakers

The Clippers aren’t done with their 2020 offseason yet but with their early moves, we know how the team is shaping up. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George will be back and we can expect them to be back with a vengeance. The Clippers will still have their top sixth man back in Lou Williams while Ibaka gives them a versatile big man who has championship experience.

Last week’s betting odds saw the Milwaukee Bucks and Brooklyn Nets move ahead of the  Clippers in the 2021 NBA Championship odds board after acquiring Jrue Holiday and Bogdan Bogdanovic. However, the Bogdanovic deal did not push through and he ended up signing with the Atlanta Hawks while the Nets have yet to land James Harden. But after the Clippers added Ibaka before the end of the week, expect the Clippers to challenge the Bucks for the second spot in the next BetOnline.ag odds board.

The Lakers remain on top of the odds board. The defending champions were listed at +400 at BetOnline last week and see their odds shorten with the addition of Harrell and Matthews plus the re-signing of KCP.

But the Clippers should be ready to challenge the Lakers with Ibaka on board. The Clippers don’t need many changes to their roster as they had the most talented team in the league last season. It’s just a matter of Ty Lue putting things together this year.

Steve Richardson

Steve Richardson started writing content online in 2013 and has yet to slow down. Since joining our team at GamblingSites.org, he has covered sports, casino news, gambling laws, and much more! ...

View all posts by Steve Richardson
Email the author at: [email protected]