Clippers Notes: James Harden, Projected Lineup, Free Agency

The Clippers are projected to start newcomer James Harden alongside Russell Westbrook in the backcourt, along with star forwards Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, and center Ivica Zubac.James Harden

This marks the third time Harden and Westbrook have paired, starting more than a decade ago with the Thunder. They were also teammates with the Rockets.

Interestingly, Harden, Westbrook, Leonard and George are all eligible for free agency at the end of the season. So it will be interesting to see if the Clippers are approaching this as a championship-or-bust type of season.

That said, most around the league believe the Clippers are determined to keep at least three of the four, and that all four would like to stay. But under the NBA collective-bargaining agreement, that will be hard to do. 

  • Harden is not expected to play until next week, when the Clippers visit the Knicks to start a three-game trip, per Janis Carr of the Orange County Register.
  • The Clippers haven’t been a major player in the draft lately, and that doesn’t appear to be changing anytime soon. Following the Harden trade, their upcoming drafts look like this: 2024 and 2026 first-rounders to Thunder; 2025 and 2027 first-round swap with Thunder; 2028 first-rounder to Sixers; and 2029 first-round swap with Sixers. 
  • No matter, Harden is the right player for the Clippers at the right time, wrote Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times.

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