The Los Angeles Lakers’ rivalry with the L.A. Clippers could soon come back to life again with stars on both sides enjoying plenty of rest this summer.
Injuries caused both L.A. teams to miss out on the 2022 playoffs. LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Paul George each watched between 25-50 games from the sidelines due to a variety of health issues in 2021-22 — while Kawhi Leonard sat out the entire season after tearing his ACL last year.
But new Clippers guard John Wall hopes to help rekindle the “Battle of L.A.” and further chip away at the Lakers’ status as the city’s favorite team — which franchise owner Steve Ballmer named as his goal in an interview with ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk:
“You said this is Laker town. No. Laker-Clipper. And someday, I want to be able to say Clipper-Laker.”
Ballmer added his team’s soon-to-be new home in Inglewood — Intuit Dome, expected to open in 2024 — serves as another milestone in the Clippers’ transition into an NBA powerhouse:
“I guess [it’s] another statement that says ‘Hey, look, we’re nobody’s little brother. We’re a real team.’ At the end of the day, we still got to win games. We got to win championships. If we can give that to Clipper Nation and fulfill my responsibility as a steward, then I’ll feel good.”
Although it’s the Lakers who have won an NBA championship since George and Leonard sparked the beginning of the Battle of L.A. narrative by joining the Clippers in 2019, the Purple and Gold have been outperformed in regular-season matchups with their local rivals.
The Clippers have won nine of the last 11 games against the Lakers. Also, they have added valuable role players to the roster in Wall, Robert Covington, and Normal Powell over the last few months. With Leonard and George back at full strength, they will likely prove to be tough opponents for the Purple and Gold again in 2022-23.
Lakers have reportedly discussed potential Russell Westbrook trade with Jazz, Pacers & Knicks
Much of the Lakers’ potential will depend on whether Russell Westbrook remains with the team next season. In addition to rumors about a potential deal with the Brooklyn Nets that would send Kyrie Irving to L.A., the latest reports claim L.A. has also discussed a potential Westbrook trade with the Utah Jazz, New York Knicks, and Indiana Pacers.
The Pacers are believed to have rejected the Lakers’ offer of Westbrook and a 2027 first-round pick for Myles Turner and Buddy Hield.
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