Clippers Trust The Process – With Or Without Kawhi

The Clippers would love to sign Kawhi Leonard, but they won't panic if they don't

Tiki and Tierney
July 03, 2019 - 6:46 pm

No one knows what Kawhi Leonard will do, but there’s a legitimate chance he could choose to play for the Los Angeles Clippers. 

That is a product of the culture that owner Steve Ballmer has built.

“I think it’s gotten to the point where if they don’t get Kawhi Leonard, it’s not even viewed as some massive, franchise-crippling mess,” L.A. Times NBA writer Dan Woike said on Tiki & Tierney. “There’s so much faith and trust in the decision-making processes that go into it. They’ve completely rebuilt their infrastructure. They have as robust of a front office as (you can have). They essentially have three guys who could be general managers around the league right now working together.”

That would be Lawrence Frank, who is president of basketball operations, Michael Winger, who is the actual GM, and Trent Redden, who is the assistant general manager. Winger and Redden turned down opportunities in Minnesota and New Orleans, respectively, this offseason.

“I’m sure they got nice little pay raises to stay, but they’ve built a culture,” Woike said. “Smart people want to be there, and they’re committed to their vision. I think last year’s team was sort of a manifestation of all that: a really hard-working, hard-to-hate team.”

Indeed, the Clippers were light on star power but heavy on teamwork. They made the playoffs and pushed the Warriors to six games in the first round.

“Doc Rivers, some of the shine had washed off of him a little bit during the Lob City years, and I think his reputation as a coach has been completely rehabbed at this point,” Woike said. “They’re players (for Kawhi), and I think it speaks to sort of not just what happens this summer, but what will happen two summers from now and three summers from now – whenever. They’ve positioned themselves to be in conversations that they wouldn’t have been in four years ago – and I think that’s a win.”

Click below to listen to Woike's interview in its entirety.