There’s no denying that the Los Angeles Clippers have been in the dark ages for much, much longer than their time in the limelight. Such is the curse for a team that has long been considered as LA’s “other team.”
Then again, the Clippers haven’t exactly helped their cause either. In the past, this team has had some rather questionable decisions personnel-wise. Below we have five stars that once played for the Clippers. All the players listed below had brief spells with LA, and for the most part, either signing them or allowing them to leave did not prove to be a wise decision for the Clippers.
Glen Rice is a three-time All-Star, a two-time All-NBA team member, an All-Star MVP, and a one-time NBA champ with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2000. Throughout his impressive career, Rice played for six different teams, and there’s no denying that his stint with the Clippers is the most forgettable one.
Rice signed with the Clippers as a 36-year-old free agent in the summer of 2003. He was already a shadow of his former self at this point, and he managed to play a grand total of only 18 games for LA, averaging 3.7 points, 2.3 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and just 0.3 triples in 14.6 minutes per contest.
The Clippers waived Rice after just three months, and after that unsuccessful stint, the former fourth overall pick knew it was time to call it a career.
Much like Rice, Grant Hill joined the Clippers at the very end of his career — literally. LA signed the seven-time All-Star as a free agent in the 2012 offseason, who at that time was a few months away from his 40th birthday.
Needless to say, the Grant Hill the Clippers got was a far cry from his old, dominating ways. Prior to hanging it up at the end of the season, Hill suited up for LA 29 times throughout an injury-ridden campaign. The former Rookie of the Year winner averaged just 3.2 points and 1.7 rebounds in 15.1 minutes per game in his brief spell with the Clippers.
Dominique Wilkins, who is most known for his tenure with the Atlanta Hawks (he spent 12 seasons with the team that acquired him during the 2981 NBA Draft), spent a half season with the Clippers. However, unlike Rice and Hill, Wilkins joined LA during his prime (somewhat).
After over a decade of giving his all for the Hawks, the front office decided it was time to trade him away in the middle of the 1994-95. LA ended up as his new home, and he actually did pretty well in his brief spell with the Clippers. Wilkins had a resurgence of sorts, averaging 29.1 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and 1.2 steals in 25 games for LA. The most impressive part is that he was already 34 at this point.
The only downside of Wilkins’ stint with the Clippers is that it was short-lived. He entered free agency that same summer, and decided that LA was not the town for him. Wilkins walked away from the Clippers, opting to sign with the San Antonio Spurs as an unrestricted free agent.
The Wilkins narrative may have been a welcome change of pace, but with Paul Pierce, it’s the same story all over again. As it turns out, the Clippers have a knack of signing former superstars at the tail end of their respective career. They may have been motivated by a misplaced sense of hope, or perhaps it was nothing more than a move geared towards more marketability for a struggling franchise. Whatever the case may be, these decisions did not turn out well for LA.
Another example is the Pierce signing in 2015. At that time, the former NBA champ was already 38, and most folks knew — even though Pierce and the Clippers probably refused to accept it — that Father Time had already caught up with him at that point.
LA signed Pierce on a three-year $8 million deal, with the former 10-time All-Star not even bothering to suit up for the final year of his deal. In two seasons played for the Clippers, Pierce averaged 5.4 points and 2.5 rebounds in 16.2 minutes played per contest.
Now for Moses Malone, who is considered by many as of the greats, it’s a completely different tale.
The Clippers, who at that time were still the Buffalo Braves, acquired a 21-year-old Moses Malone in October of 1976 form the Portland Trail Blazers. However, the Clippers did not want Malone on their team, and after just two games played, they sent him packing. The Braves traded the 6-foot-10 big man to the Houston Rockets, unknowingly giving up a player who turned out to be a 13-time All-Star, an eight-time All-NBA team member, a three-time MVP, and a one-time NBA champ, among other things.