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Clippers future now in hands of one Donald T. Sterling

Dec 15, 2011, 9:48 AM EDT

Image (1) dsterling-thumb-250x250-18407.jpg for post 3716

Wednesday night the Clippers went from “good young team with potential” to “these guys are close to being contenders.”

The Clippers are not title contenders yet. Not until we see them play better and consistent defense. Not until we’re convinced Vinny Del Negro can coach a team to a championship. Not with the stopgap Chauncey Billups at the two and a second unit that has a nice point guard then Randy Foye, Trey Thompkins, Ryan Gomes and Brian Cook. That’s not depth.

But they are close. They have the best point guard in the game with Chris Paul and another potential franchise cornerstone in Blake Griffin. Their pick-and-roll will be the best in the game (Griffin told PBT he worked hard this summer on his jumper). DeAndre Jordan could be special. They just need time and a few more pieces.

Which is why it all comes down to Donald T. Sterling.

The Clippers have had the worst owner in professional sports for decades now. He has chased profits at the cost of winning. He has driven good players away. He is not a good person or boss (he paid out the largest single housing discrimination settlement in federal court history).

And now he can change that legacy. Or blow that chance and return them to being the Clippers.

Chris Paul is going to opt-in on his contract deal for next season — the Clippers have two seasons to convince him to sign an extension. Blake Griffin plays a role in that, certainly. But if Sterling cuts corners on getting quality role players to go around his stars, if he runs the organization as a second-rate business, if he brings his female friends into the locker room after games to show off his team, if he heckles a player from the sidelines like he did Baron Davis, he could blow this.

Donald Sterling has to become the silent owner. Stay out of GM Neil Olshey’s way. The building is going to fill up, pay more to bring in good role players (even if it means paying the luxury tax). Don’t speak to the media and stay away from the players. There are good people working for the Clippers at every level, let them do their job without interference. Don’t screw this up.

Wednesday’s trade for Chris Paul could set the Clippers up for a decade. They are close, they have the pieces to build a serious contender, the holy grail so many teams are chasing.

Or Sterling could blow it and Paul could be gone in a couple years.

Don’t blow in Sterling. It is all on you now.

  1. djkiddb01 - Dec 15, 2011 at 9:57 AM

    Great move by the Clippers to getting Chris Paul. Going forward i believe will be difficult if this team does not make it out of the first round of the playoffs. Let’s not forget there will be drama in Clipperville when Chris Paul becomes a free agent and Blake Griffin gets out of his rookie contract. Let’s not proclaim the Clippers are L.A’s hot team, the Lakers still own all the championship banners hanging in Staples.

    • 973yenots - Dec 15, 2011 at 11:00 AM

      The clippers organization will find a way to screw that team up! Chris Paul is going to do the same thing to them ( trade him ) wait and see!

    • qdizzle - Dec 15, 2011 at 12:33 PM

      Real talk! I agree 100%!

  2. sknut - Dec 15, 2011 at 10:39 AM

    As cool as this is for the Clippers I have a hard believing that Sterling would change much at this point. Its pathetic that Stern has this guy around to have a team in LA. I find it funny that players are held accountable for their actions off the court, but somehow the same rules don’t apply for owners.

  3. SmackSaw - Dec 15, 2011 at 10:48 AM

    Prediction: In three years CP3 will be a Knick. Blake Griffin will be in OKC. Jim Buss will have run the Lakers into the ground. I’m a Laker fan, by the way.

  4. klownboy - Dec 15, 2011 at 10:52 AM

    Leave it to Sterling to potentially screw things up…

    • 1historian - Dec 15, 2011 at 4:38 PM

      I have to agree with you but I hope we’re both wrong.

  5. cosanostra71 - Dec 15, 2011 at 3:48 PM

    As a Lakers fan, I have and never have had any problems with the Clippers. Despite being consistently bad, they have had some fairly exciting players over the past decade- Darius Miles, Andre Miller, Lamar Odom, Elton Brand, Corey Maggette, Blake Griffin… hell, even young Jeff McInnis… they will certainly have a fun team to watch this year, and hopefully they keep their ticket prices low and affordable to make the NBA accessible to the majority of LA…

    But I wish nothing but bad things on Donald Sterling. He is a horrible awful man. He is the sole reason I, and many other Southern Californians, do not and will not support the Clippers.

  6. chargerdillon - Dec 15, 2011 at 3:58 PM

    Check your history…
    Chris Paul said…. trade me to the Knicks or the Lakers.

    The League said…. dig a hole and fall in buddy!

    In 2 years, Chris Paul will leave the Clippers for the Lakers. It’s where CHRIS PAUL WANTED TO PLAY. And in 2 years he’ll be able to make that decision with nobody standing in his way. And when he does, he’ll already have a home and his family established in LA, he’ll already be a household name in LA, and there’s absolutely nothing anybody can do to stop him.

    People don’t realize the NBA tried to flex their muscle and show players across the league they will not dictate where they go……(big catch coming)……..UNTIL FREE AGENCY.

    Chris Paul made a concession to get closer to the place he wanted to go all along, he just has to wait an extra year. He’ll still be paid as a top level player, he’ll be in a much nicer city, and he’s going to create some serious buzz with a team that historically has none.

    If you think everything I’ve said sounds ridiculous, scroll up to the top of this article and reread it. In order for the Clippers to be something different than they have ALWAYS BEEN, is all based on “if” statements involved the most crooked owner in all of sports. “If” statements don’t pay the bills.

    • 1historian - Dec 15, 2011 at 4:40 PM

      I agree with you and i hope we’re both wrong, and if Paul leaves after 2 years how long do you think Griffin will stick around?

      • chargerdillon - Dec 15, 2011 at 6:22 PM

        I hope I’m wrong too, I’m a diehard Laker fan, but im a basketball fan first. Having the Clippers being a serious playoff contender or at least have the look on paper makes the West far more exciting than it has been in years past.

        This is one of the few times in my life I can honestly say, I’m excited to watch a Clippers game.

        Griffin and Paul has me excited about watching some awesome highlights the same way the Miami Heat did.

        Love em or hate em, it’s going to be exciting to watch, i’m all for new champions stepping up and new powerhouses being made.

  7. mondzy805 - Dec 15, 2011 at 9:42 PM

    This is the time to sell Donald. Time to sell……..

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