The NBA is returning to Hawai‘i with the Los Angeles Clippers set to hold a training camp at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa’s Stan Sheriff Center for the third consecutive year.
Partnering with the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority, the Clippers will hold a week-long training camp some time in September, culminating in exhibition games against the Houston Rockets and the Shanghai Sharks.
The Clippers will face the Rockets on Oct. 4 and the Sharks on Oct. 6 at the Stan Sheriff Center.
Contractually, the Clippers will also be holding three community engagement events: a youth basketball clinic, a media/computer lab refurbishment and a coaches clinic.
The Clippers roster has changed drastically since last year’s camp in Hawai‘i. In a stunning move, LA traded five first-round picks (four unprotected and one protected), two pick swaps (2023 and 2025), and players Danilo Gallinari and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to the Oklahoma City Thunder for six-time All-Star and first-time All-NBA First Team member Paul George.
The star forward finished second on the NBA scoring leaders list during the 2018-19 season, with a career-high 28.0 points. He was also a finalist for the Kia Defensive Player of the Year award while earning his second All-Defensive First Team selection.
To top things off, the Clippers added reigning finals MVP Kawhi Leonard to the roster. During the 2019 Playoffs, Leonard scored 732 points, passing Allen Iverson (723) and Hakeem Olajuwon (725) to claim the third spot on the all-time NBA single postseason scoring list. He led the Raptors to their first NBA championship victory (his second), and was named Finals MVP for the second time in his career. In doing so, Leonard became the third player in NBA history, along with LeBron James and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, to win Finals MVP honors with two different teams.
The Rockets also had a productive offseason. The number one priority for Houston this offseason was keeping its important depth players in house. The team re-signed players Gerald Green, Austin Rivers and Danuel House Jr.
The Rockets also dealt with troubling rumors of a rift between star point guard Chris Paul and 2018 MVP James Harden. Many around the NBA expected the Rockets to move Paul, though Paul himself denied the rumors.
“I never asked for a trade,” Paul said, via the Houston Chronicle. “I’ll be in Houston. I’m happy about that. I’m very happy about that.”
Despite Paul’s claims, he was eventually traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder for 2017 MVP Russell Westbrook. Playing alongside Paul George during the 2018 season, Westbrook set the NBA record for most consecutive triple-doubles with 11, surpassing Wilt Chamberlain’s long standing record of nine consecutive triple-doubles.
2018 also marked Westbrook’s third consecutive season averaging a triple-double, and he leaves the Thunder as its all-time leading scorer, surpassing Gary Payton.
In joining the Rockets, Westbrook will be reunited with a familiar face. Westbrook and Harden last played together with OKC in 2012, and it will be interesting to see how the Rockets manage with two ball-dominant guards in their starting lineup.
The matchup between the Clippers and Rockets will be one of the higher profile affairs to come to Hawai‘i, as the Clippers currently lead all NBA teams in title odds (+350, via Odds Shark). The Rockets are not far behind at number four (+800).
The ticket prices and sale dates for the games have not yet been announced.