On October 20, 2020, a pivotal shift occurred in the LA Clippers' camp when Tyronn Lue took the reins from Doc Rivers as the head coach. The transition signaled a fresh direction for a team that, in the 2020 playoffs, narrowly missed the championship spotlight.
The following postseason witnessed a standout performance from an unexpected corner: Terance Mann, who was once just the 48th pick from the 2019 NBA draft. Particularly during Game 6 against the Utah Jazz, Mann dazzled with an explosive 39 points, marking a memorable 131-119 victory for the Clippers.
Harden Trade Whispers
Fast forward to the brink of the 2023-24 NBA regular season, and the rumor mill is abuzz. Sources like Sam Amick from The Athletic highlight potential trade discussions involving the 10-time All-Star, James Harden, from the Philadelphia 76ers.
The speculated trade package? Terance Mann, an unprotected first-round pick, a pick swap, and other players to balance out Harden's hefty salary. However, Clippers coach Tyronn Lue seems undeterred by these swirling talks.
Joey Linn of Sports Illustrated's "FanNation" quoted Lue affirming, "We love T-Mann. He's staying. The external speculations don't faze us. To be sought-after is a testament to Mann's talent." The intricacies of the negotiations remain shrouded in mystery.
Will the Clippers and the 76ers finalize this speculated trade? A telling factor might be Lue's staunch backing of Mann. Before this endorsement, Clippers' decision-makers were notably reluctant to let Mann be part of any trade deal.
And while Harden did express interest in joining the Clippers, following his $35 million player option agreement with the Sixers, the talks haven't shown much headway. The Clippers' unyielding stance to retain Mann raises eyebrows, especially when weighed against the prospect of acquiring a talent like Harden.
Though Harden's recent Game 7 performance in the 2023 series against the Boston Celtics left much to be desired, Mann's dynamism and on-court synergy are undeniably valuable assets to the Clippers. Mann's role, marked by energy and drive, is something Lue seems to highly value.
Lue's endorsement not only underscores Mann's undeniable talent but also sheds light on the larger strategic vision the Clippers have as they step into the new season.