San Diego Clippers

First Game Played October 14, 1970 Last Game Played April 9, 1978 Moved to San Diego in 1978

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1978/79: Seven years after the Rockets blasted off for Houston, the NBA came sailing back into San Diego as the Braves moved from Buffalo, changing their name to the Clippers. One of the Clippers’ first big moves was the signing of Free Agent World B. Free, who finished second in the NBA in scoring with 28.8 ppg. Also turning in a solid season was Randy Smith, who had his fourth straight season over 20 ppg as the Clippers put together a 43-39 record. However, it would not be good enough for one of the six playoff spots in the Western Conference.

1979/80: San Diego was all abuzz as they signed Free Agent Bill Walton away from the Portland Trailblazers. Walton, who had led the Blazers to an NBA Championship only two years earlier, was a legend in Southern California, leading UCLA to the National Title two times. Besides, he was a local high school hero in San Diego. However, the dream deal would quickly turn into a nightmare as foot injury limited the redhead to just 14 games. Despite the loss of Kermit Washington, Kevin Kunnert, and a first-round draft choice as compensation, the Clippers had a respectable 26-21 on February 6th as World B. Free finished in second in scoring with 30.2 ppg, Free was aided by Swen Nater who led the league in rebounding at 15 rpg. However, the Clippers would win just eight games over the last two months posting a disappointing record of 35-47. Following the season, the Clippers would send World B. Free to the Golden State Warriors for Phil Smith.

1980/81: Under new Coach Paul Silas, the Clippers season was over before it even began as Bill Walton was forced to sit out the entire season with lingering foot problems. The Clippers would not sink any future without Walton, but they continued to miss the playoffs finishing in 5th place with a 36-46 record. During the season, the Clippers would be sold to Beverly Hills attorney and real estate mogul Donald Sterling.

1981/82: In his first full season as Owner Donald Sterling began lobbying the NBA to allow him to move the team to Los Angeles, as the Clippers played before just 4,344 fans per game in San Diego. The Clippers would go on to sink into last place with an awful 17-65 record, as Bill Walton missed the entire season again. In addition to Walton, the Clippers lost Swen Nater for 61 games due to a knee injury. The only highlight in a season that also featured an embarrassing 19-game losing streak was the play of Rookie Tom Chambers, who led the team with 17.2 ppg.

1982/83: After two straight seasons on the bench, Bill Walton returned to the lineup, joining a promising young team led by Tom Chambers, promising rookie Terry Cummings, and Lionel Hollins the team’s significant free-agent acquisition. However, only Chambers and Cummings played up to expectations as the Clippers sunk into last place again with a 25-57 record. Terry Cummings would win Rookie of the Year honors with 23.7 ppg. However, injuries would limit Bill Walton to 33 games and Lionel Hollins to 56.

1983/84: With Bill Walton remaining a question mark, the Clippers made several moves before the season, sending Tom Chambers to the Seattle Supersonics for 7-2 center James Donaldson. In addition, they dealt Swen Nater and rookie Byron Scott to the Los Angeles Lakers for guard Norm Nixon. Walton would surprise everyone by playing 56 games as Terry Cummings had a solid second season with 22.9 ppg. However, the Clippers would still sink to the bottom of the Pacific Division with a 30-52 record. Following the season, the Clippers would set sail for Los Angeles, in the years since the Clippers moved to Los Angeles the NBA has not even considered a return to San Diego.

©MMXII Tank Productions. Stats researched by Frank Fleming, all information, and team names are property of the National Basketball Association. This site is not affiliated with the San Diego Clippers of the NBA. This site is maintained for research purposes only. All logos used on this page were from Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos Page.
Page created on March 18, 2003. Last updated on November 25, 2012 at 8:40 pm ET.