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Los Angeles, host of NBA All-Star 2018, has two NBA teams and zero NBA All-Stars. So who is most in need of a roster overhaul: the Lakers or Clippers?
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David Aldridge: The Clippers. The Lakers do have some promising young pieces (Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, and you give up on Lonzo Ball at your premature peril). And, maybe, they can keep Julius Randle now, too. The Clips may be more ready to play a game tonight, assuming a healthy Danilo Gallinari, Milos Teodosic, Patrick Beverley, et. al., but they don’t have a long shelf life and they seem to get injured a lot. DeAndre Jordan is a defensive presence but limited offensively as we all know (so is Ball, true, but at least he can impact at that end with his passing). Tobias Harris is a still young good player to build around, though.
Steve Aschburner: The Clippers need the makeover more. At least with the Lakers, we know what the plan is, because we’ve been told about it over and over – in rather costly fashion – by Magic Johnson. We see Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Julius Randle and flawed Lonzo Ball and we await the arrival of two All-Star free agents. Might happen, might not, but at least that’s the blueprint. The Clippers just seem to be parts, some of them mismatched, several of them underwhelming. Unless they pull off a summer stunner in free agency, they seem headed for mediocrity, which is worse than either contending or rebuilding.
Tas Melas: The Clippers. The Lakers’ overhaul happens on June 30 when over $60 million worth of contracts (Brook Lopez, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Corey Brewer, Channing Frye and Isaiah Thomas) expire. The Lakers can do what they want with all that potential room while the Clippers are handcuffed. The new front office did a good job to get out from under the Blake Griffin deal; next up, the DeAndre Jordan conundrum. After that, the Danilo Gallinari brainteaser. Beyond that though, the Clippers’ books are pretty clear.
John Schuhmann: Both teams have one contract -- that of Danilo Gallinari for the Clippers and that of Luol Deng for the Lakers -- that makes you cringe. But both teams also have more flexibility than they had three weeks ago. The Lakers are set up pretty well with four talented first round picks in the first or second year of their rookie contracts and a ton of cap space. But the timelines of any free agents they try to sign this summer probably won't align with the timelines of Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma, who aren't ready to play for a contender. The Clippers have a lot of good players on the same timeline right now (and the guy with their bad contract is actually playing), and that's not a bad thing. For the short term, the Lakers are more in need of a talent infusion, but if they can be patient, they're in great shape.
Sekou Smith: There are plenty of All-Stars with LA ties ready to invade the city this weekend, but for none of them to be Lakers or Clippers does seem a bit strange. The Lakers and Clippers are both in need of some serious roster replenishing/refurbishment.And I think the matter is much more pressing for the Lakers, who haven't been in the Western Conference playoff conversation for years. They could use a roster overhaul as soon as humanly possible. I think it's why Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka did what they at the trade deadline, making sure they created the flexibility to chase two elite superstars in free agency this summer. The Clippers made of move of their own, of course, trading Blake Griffin to Detroit, but they also have DeAndre Jordan's situation to tend to. And they don't have pieces of their young core in place right now the way the Lakers do. That makes a huge difference, in terms of what sort of timeline a franchise is working on in the rebuilding process. The Lakers need that roster overhaul to put themselves back into the mix immediately.