The war in Los Angeles has been going strong since the start of last season. The Clippers caught the biggest free-agent fish in Kawhi Leonard last year and even traded for Thunder superstar Paul George. On the other hand, the Lakers fought back with the duo of LeBron James and Anthony Davis. The Lakers won in the end as LeBron and Davis led them to a championship this season while the Clippers faltered embarrassingly.
The Clippers are not going anywhere this coming season, as they have retained both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George (so far). The Lakers are returning with LeBron and Davis, and their excellent coaching staff in place. The battle between the Los Angeles giants will continue this offseason, as they look to strengthen their squads with the best available players. The Lakers want to repeat, and the Clippers want to stone for their errors and make the Finals next year. Here are the players the Lakers and Clippers will go to war over.
10. DeMarcus Cousins
DeMarcus Cousins is not a superstar center anymore, but he does have the same basketball brain and skills intact. Cousins can still be effective if he trims off a lot of his weight and just focuses on dominating the paint and using his excellent playmaking and floor spacing to his advantage.
Cousins can be an old school center down low with size and force, but he is also finesse enough to make jump shots and can be an excellent player for the Clippers or the Lakers. The Lakers size was the main reason they won the chip this year, so they might want to add some more of it while the Clippers could use a backup big man in case Montrezl Harrell leaves.
9. Dwight Howard
Like Demarcus Cousins, Dwight Howard was once a superstar center who had injuries derail his career. Still, he bounced back this season with the Lakers, making up for whatever amends he needed to make for Lakers Nation after his stint some years ago. Howard was a key role player for the Lake Show who added defensive resistance and also a rebounding presence in the paint
Expect the Lakers to bring him back because he has shown he still has the natural defensive instincts and size that helps the team on both ends. The Clippers probably want to steal him away from the Lakers, to weaken their rivals and also strengthen their front-court so this will be an interesting offseason for Howard.
8. Paul Millsap
Paul Millsap brings valuable experience and veteran leadership to go along with rebounding and defense. As an intelligent and versatile player, Millsap can be valuable in a small-ball lineup and also alongside Anthony Davis in a larger one for the Lakers. The Lakers should try to snatch him up if Dwight Howard decides to leave because Millsap is a perfect replacement.
The Clippers might lose Montrezl Harrell in free agency and need more front-court depth alongside Ivica Zubac, so Paul Millsap is a perfect replacement. Millsap can score inside, at least making up for some of Harrell’s scoring, and is a nice complement alongside Zubac thanks to his floor spacing.
7. Rajon Rondo
Rajon Rondo put away any claims that he is nothing but a washed-up point guard after performing like an All-Star during the playoffs. Rondo’s experience and leadership on both ends of the floor helped the Lakers capture an NBA title. The Lakers would love to re-sign him as they will need some more veteran skills to go back to back and win their second straight championship.
The Clippers could also use his basketball brain. Rondo is literally a coach on the floor and he will be invaluable in the Clippers bid to win an NBA title for the first time in their franchise history. If the Clippers want to steal any player the most from the Lakers, it is likely veteran point guard Rajon Rondo so there will be a war going on for the former All-Star point guard.
6. Joe Harris
Joe Harris has always been a strong sharpshooter, but this season he was particularly impressive as he shot 41.2% from three. Harris improved his overall offensive game as well because he had a career year in PPG for the Nets. Harris is a nice role player to start alongside Kyrie and KD, so it would be a big loss for Brooklyn if he does leave.
LeBron and Davis can create a ton of shooting opportunities for Joe Harris and he would immediately be the Lakers’ best shooter if he joined the squad. Harris would be one of the top 3-point scorers with the Lakers, and he would also be that for the Clippers. Kawhi Leonard is a bonafide superstar and he will attract double teams on offense. Harris spotting up for jumpers means the Clippers add a marksman to help them make shots when the offense is stagnant.
5. J.J. Redick
This deal would upgrade the Lakers roster immediately. Danny Green nor Kentavious Caldwell- Pope is as good a shooter as Redick, meaning LeBron and Davis have a trustworthy scorer alongside them. Redick shot 45.3% from three this year and would make the Lakers more potent on offense and possibly would have swished the open three that Danny Green had in the playoffs this year.
Redick was once a very valued member of the Los Angeles Clippers during the “Lob City” era and he could rejoin them for another run for a title. Redick is a master at moving off screens for jumpers and gives the Clippers more versatility on offense when the defense focuses on Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.
4. Buddy Hield
Buddy Hield is one of the hottest prospects in the NBA because of his potential and deep range shooting. He averaged 19.2 PPG on 39.4% shooting from three this season, while his all-around play took a massive jump as well. With the right coach and talent around him, Hield can be a very impactful player as he grows. There isn’t a better for Hield than playing alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis, because he will have many open looks all game.
The Clippers need better scorers to relieve pressure off of Kawhi Leonard, and especially Paul George who had a poor season this year. Hield can be a third option for the Clippers and give them a much more potent offense if they can snatch him up. The battle for Hield can be a very exciting one in LA if Sacramento don’t make him untouchable.
3. Derrick Rose
A lot of names are thrown into the mix for the Los Angeles Lakers, but Derrick Rose should be among the top of the list. He is exactly what the Lakers need, as both a primary playmaker and a secondary scorer. Rose averaged 18.1 PPG and 5.6 APG this season and can create a Big Three in LA due to his playing style and charisma on the floor and will be the third star the Lakers or Clippers need for their own reasons.
The Lakers need a third star to 3-peat and Rose can give them that. At this stage of his career, Rose has plenty of experience and just wants to win a title. With LeBron and Davis, this very well could happen. Similarly, Rose could have another great season if he plays with Kawhi Leonard because of the attention the latter brings to the court. Rose is a perfect fit for both LA teams and expect a battle for his signature during the offseason.
2. Chris Paul
With Chris Paul at the helm, the Lakers can add one of the greatest floor generals in NBA history to relieve the pressure off of an aging LeBron James. Chris Paul performed at an All-NBA level again this season and will be looking to have one more push for a chance at an NBA title. CP3 averaged 17.6 PPG and 6.7 APG in a sensational season that earned him All-NBA Third Team honors.
Perhaps the most exciting story for CP3 is joining the Los Angeles Clippers once again. The Clippers had their greatest success with Chris Paul as their leader and best player, and he could return to help Kawhi Leonard win one for the franchise. Chris Paul has achieved everything in the game as a legendary point guard, but he has yet to make an NBA Finals.
1. Bradley Beal
Bradley Beal might be one of the 3 best scorers in the league right now. His growth as an offensive threat has been tremendous, averaging 30.5 PPG this season. Beal was asked to completely take over the Wizards offense at times and showcased an array of skills, including a soft jumper and improved ability to create space and finish at the rim.
If the Lakers want to go for a 3-peat, acquiring scoring superstar Bradley Beal would be the best way to get there. LeBron, Davis, and Beal are simply the best Big Three that LeBron ever had because both Davis and Beal are smack dab in their prime. They would simply be unstoppable on offense. Similarly, the Clippers do not want to see Beal join forces with James and Davis and will fight tooth and nail to pair him with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. Bradley Beal might shift the entire NBA landscape so the biggest war in Los Angeles will be started by him.