3 Clippers on the Chopping Block After First Round Exit

After a disappointing showing against the Mavericks in the playoffs, there are a few players who might not be returning to the Clippers next season.
Apr 28, 2024; Dallas, Texas, USA; LA Clippers guard Russell Westbrook (0) warms up before the game
Apr 28, 2024; Dallas, Texas, USA; LA Clippers guard Russell Westbrook (0) warms up before the game / Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
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The Los Angeles Clippers saw their playoff journey come to a disappointing end on Friday night as they lost in six games to the Dallas Mavericks in the first round of the NBA Playoffs.

No one knew what to expect from the Clippers heading into the 2023-24 season, but after they acquired James Harden from the Philadelphia 76ers, there was a belief that when this team gels together they could be a contender in the Western Conference.

It was a good thought but with Kawhi Leonard not at 100 percent health, which showed up in the playoffs, the Clippers struggled without him in Games 5 and 6.

Nonetheless, Los Angeles heads into a pivotal offseason where Paul George could become a free agent if he and the Clippers can’t agree on an extension before Jun. 30. George also has a player option worth $48.8 million.

Meanwhile, Harden is also scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent and could decide to go elsewhere if LA can’t keep this core together. Below, we’ll highlight a few players who could be out the door next season in Los Angeles.

1. Russell Westbrook

We did not discuss Russell Westbrook in the opening, but could not return to Los Angeles next season despite having a $4 million player option.

The 35-year-old point guard became the odd man out once the Clippers acquired Harden from the Sixers. Westbrook played solid off the bench for Los Angeles, but his production dropped off big time – 11.1 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 4.5 assists in 22.5 minutes per game.

Then in the Clippers’ first-round matchup against Dallas, Westbrook struggled offensively for the Clippers as he averaged 6.3 points on 26 percent shooting from the field and 23.5 percent from three-point range.

Furthermore, Westbrook only scored in double figures once against the Mavericks, which was in Game 1 (13 points, 5-8 FG, and 2-4 3pt). 

Sam Amick and Law Murray of The Athletic reported Friday that Westbrook had to be convinced by Lawrence Frank to take the sixth-man role. Over the last couple of seasons, Westbrook has been pushed to become a sixth man with the Lakers and Clippers, but it doesn’t seem like that role works for him.

Nonetheless, it will be interesting to see if Westbrook declines his option. If he decides to do that, what teams are willing to give him more playing time and potentially an opportunity to start at point guard?