The beginning of the season brings tough decisions for NBA front offices and coaching staffs. Doc Rivers and the Los Angeles Clippers had tough decisions to make of their own, and Wesley Johnson and Jawun Evans were the roster crunch casualties.
Johnson, 31, is an eight-year NBA veteran with extensive experience. Fortunately, Johnson is landing on his feet. Rather than outright cutting Johnson, the Clippers worked a trade that sent him to the New Orleans Pelicans for Alexis Ajinca. The Clippers aren't leaving Johnson high and dry because he'll actually have more of an opportunity to play meaningful minutes for New Orleans than he would have had in Los Angeles.
The same could not be said for Evans. The second-year man from Oklahoma State failed to make his mark with the Clippers. He showed potential at various points during the season, but not enough sustained success to warrant a roster spot this season.
Rivers spoke about the two moves:
— Tomer Azarly (@TomerAzarly) October 16, 2018
The Clippers are entering a pivotal year for the organization. They narrowly missed out on a playoff spot last season and they hope to surprise the NBA world by competing for a playoff spot despite the absence of a true star.
But the Clippers have salary cap space next summer and have their eyes set on Kawhi Leonard. How they perform this season will have a lot to do with whether or not they can attract a big star. The final roster preparations have been made, and Doc Rivers is looking to get off to a hot start this year.