Key moments in Clippers franchise history since the 2009-10 season, when the team finished 29-53, fired coach Mike Dunleavy midseason and failed to make the playoffs. The Lakers, meanwhile, won their 16th championship.
No. 1 draft pick Blake Griffin breaks his kneecap during an exhibition game, an injury that would sideline him the entire season. Clippers miss playoffs for the fourth straight year.
Griffin becomes a viral sensation with spectacular dunks in his rookie season. He makes the All-Star team and wins the dunk contest by jumping over a car.
Chris Paul, New Orleans’ All-Star point guard, is traded to the Clippers only six days after the NBA kills the Lakers’ trade for Paul. The Lakers appeared to have acquired their most dynamic point guard since Magic Johnson, but NBA commissioner David Stern didn’t think the trade was good for the Hornets, who were purchased by the NBA a year earlier. Paul’s arrival instantly turns the Clippers into a playoff team.
Former Boston coach Doc Rivers becomes Clippers’ coach, replacing Vinny Del Negro. Rivers later becomes head of basketball operations.
Team owner Donald Sterling comes under fire for making derogatory remarks about African Americans. The NBA punishes Sterling with a lifetime ban and $2.5-million fine.
The Clippers endure the Sterling scandal and beat the Golden State Warriors in Game 7 of a first-round playoff series. In the next round they squander a late lead against Oklahoma City and lose Game 5, then are eliminated in Game 6.
Former Microsoft executive Steve Ballmer pays a record $2 billion to buy the Clippers.
The Clippers eliminate the defending NBA champion San Antonio Spurs in an epic seven-game first-round playoff series, but then blow a 3-1 series lead in the next round against Houston and lose in seven games. It is the Clippers’ fourth consecutive playoff appearance, a franchise record.
The Clippers suspend Griffin four games for his role in an altercation with a team assistant equipment manager in Toronto in January. Griffin breaks his right hand in the fight and is expected to be sidelined until March. Despite Griffin’s absence, the team continues to play well with Paul taking control of the offense.