The Los Angeles Clippers have fallen into an 0-2 hole to the Dallas Mavericks, but Paul Geroge isn't worried. He said as much after the Mavs beat the Clippers, 109-102, on Tuesday night when asked. Via ESPN:
"There is none," George said when asked what the team's level of concern is after losing the first two games at home. "It's a competition. We got to rise to the occasion. The fact of the matter is if we don't, we're done for. There is no level of concern."
Why should there be concern? George has secured the bag. He signed a $190 million contract extension in December. He's all set. And once Kawhi Leonard abandons the team via free agency this offseason, George will never have to worry about a high-profile playoff loss again.
If that really happens, the Clippers are about to enter into one of the darkest chapters in the franchise's history. After 2021, they do not own their own first-round pick outright again until 2027. The '22, '24 and '26 picks belong to Oklahoma City and OKC also has the right to pick swaps in '23 and '25. Unless both teams are really bad in an odd year, that is a grim future.
The good news is that they'll have a max contract slot. If you want to pick your practice schedule and play with Paul George, LA is the destination for you. The bad news is who besides Kawhi Leonard wants to chase a title with Paul George, Luke Kennard and Marcus Morris Sr.? Even if you could find someone who wanted to play alongside George, what's to stop his eye from wandering like it did in Indiana? Or keeping him from demanding a trade after he signed an extension in OKC?
There should be no reason for optimism. Unless you're the Thunder.