The Clippers have made it official: They quit.
This season is over, the final 28 games just exercise, the only thing of interest around here whether the franchise's plan to rock the sports world and lure LeBron James to Los Angeles is as outlandish as it sounds.
They traded a bunch of guys for another bunch of guys, but it really doesn't matter who is coming here because eventually they will revert to Clippers form.
In the short term, things would have looked a whole lot better had they just made a deal for a national anthem singer who can sing, not a good sign when a Clippers game begins on a down note and the players haven't even taken the floor.
But nothing that happened here Wednesday night mattered save the future and the team's salary cap, an accountant punching in a bunch of numbers and then advising owner Donald Sterling the team will now be able to offer a maximum contract to James or any other worthy free agent this summer.
And what are the chances of Sterling spending so much money?
"I'd stake my life on it," General Manager Mike Dunleavy said in offering one of the funniest sports quotes ever uttered.
But that's where the Clippers sit, everything now riding on the courtship of a superstar, much like Kobe Bryant.
The Clippers came close to nabbing Bryant, which stands out as the franchise's only highlight.
It will be up to LeBron to free himself this summer, and if he does, given the NBA's salary restrictions, as of today there are probably only four of five teams in the position to give James the maximum amount of money.
The Clippers are one of them, and shockingly can make a legitimate case to LeBron that if he wants to win a championship, the Clippers afford him the best opportunity.
I type that, and I'm laughing, but looking past the franchise's reputation to Blake Griffin, Eric Gordon, Chris Kaman and just maybe getting something out of Baron Davis, OK, maybe.
They have to hope the few remaining fans they have buy it, too, the rest of this season now not much more than glorified scrimmages dedicated to improving the play of Rasual Butler and DeAndre Jordan.
The development of Butler and Jordan -- who they are probably doesn't mean a thing to most folks unless LeBron pulls on a Clippers jersey -- and then everyone will want to know more about LeBron's supporting cast.
"If you're a fan of a team, it's all based on what happens at the present time and the future," Dunleavy said. "The best thing an organization can do for you when the present isn't going to happen as you like, is to go to the future."
That's been the Clippers' motto for decades, of course, but is there any reason to believe them this time?
We begin with Coach Kim Hughes, the only thing remaining in his Clippers future -- parting gifts.
He began his fifth game on the job in relief of Dunleavy still looking for his first win, Davis out of the starting lineup because of a sore back, but certainly not from carrying the Clippers.
Hughes had to go with a starting point guard who just arrived in L.A. and has never practiced with the team. If he thought taking the Clippers job a couple of weeks ago was a challenge, the front office has just made it almost impossible to win the job, his own players knowing now the franchise cares only about next season.
"They must think I'm really smart. I might have to show them. I would prefer we had a more powerful team," Hughes said, and if he had a chance of winning the full-time job based on what a stand-up guy he is, he'd already have it. "My job is to coach the players we have."
But the truth is, he has no chance if the Clippers are seriously going to pursue LeBron, the next Clippers coach going to be LeBron's choice.
If LeBron sees himself as some global brand name, as some suggest, he almost has to operate out of New York or Los Angeles, Southern California also offering Hollywood opportunities.
He certainly has the charisma and confidence to play in the same building as Kobe -- in so many ways Gretzky coming to L.A. once again.
There would be lines to buy Clippers tickets.
Odd in a way, but it's still Dunleavy calling the Clippers shots even though he's no longer on the bench. If the Clippers are going to make a run at LeBron, it will be Dunleavy who does the talking.
He did such a good job the last time around with Kobe, he had everyone convinced in the Clippers organization Kobe was going to leave the Lakers.
He just couldn't figure a way to jam Jerry Buss' telephone and prevent him from getting in the last phone call.
Last time around Plan B after failing to land Kobe was Kerry Kittles, which suggests the Clippers struggle some when it comes to Plan B.
By the way, it's getting ugly here at Staples Center, the Clippers losing by 16, it's not halftime yet and the crowd turning on the home-town losers. Might be a good time for someone to make a LeBron announcement, and pay the tampering fine no matter what it might be.