Russell Westbrook's move to the Lakers was the biggest splash of free agency and successfully placed the Purple and Gold back at the top of the NBA hierarchy.
Meanwhile, the Clippers spent their summer just trying to catch up. Aside from a few relatively minor acquisitions, they didn't really do a lot to improve their team, seemingly relying on good health and improved chemistry to put them over the top this season.
From afar, it certainly seems like the Clippers should be coveting a guy like Westbrook.
According to Zach Lowe, however, the franchise never had any actual interest in bringing him in.
(via The Lowe Post podcast):
“The Clippers were never interested in Russell Westbrook… They were a rumored Russell Westbrook trade in a few places whenever that happened. They were never interested. That was never a real thing. I think they value their optionality too much.”
The Lakers had to sacrifice much of their depth to acquire Russ, and there are still questions about whether or not he'll be a proper fit alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
"In the end, even LeBron will throw up his hands and say I’m sorry this is a disaster, this was a mistake," said FOX Sports analyst Skip Bayless on the Westbrook/LeBron duo. "That’s what will happen ultimately. Russell Westbrook is a solo act. And all of a sudden when you put him with LeBron James the ultimate distributor, it’s fire and water. It does not blend; it does not work. In the end, he’s going to become the ultimate scapegoat. KD tried for 8 seasons, Harden wanted out after 1. James will too, soon enough."
Do the Clippers also doubt the impact of Westbrook? Did they have reservations about how he'd fit with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George?
Whatever the reasoning, the pressure will be on the Clips to prove they're good enough to win as constructed, something they have, soo far, been unable to do.