The Clippers may have missed the playoffs again last season, as they finished with a 32-50 record and with the third-worst record in the Western Conference, but there is hope in Clipperland for the 2011-12 campaign.

Why?

Because they have an All-Star in Blake Griffin, a 6-foot-10 highlight and dunking machine who many think is on the verge of superstardom.

The Clippers also have a solid shooting guard in Eric Gordon.

They hope to get a healthier season from center Chris Kaman. And they will probably resign restricted free agent center DeAndre Jordan, giving the Clippers a quality trio of big men in their rotation.

They will have a young, athletic team, one that can fare well in the shortened 66-game regular season.

But for the Clippers to land one of the eight playoff spots in the tough Western Conference, they have a lot of business to take care of first.

-- The Clippers must use some of the money they have available to sign a quality player because they are under the salary cap. They have 10 players signed to contracts for about $44 million, meaning the Clippers probably will have $12 million to $14 million to spend – not that they will use it all. The salary cap for the 2010-11 season was $58 million, but it is expected to be higher for the 2011-12 season. That would give the Clippers a lot of cash to play with before reaching the luxury-tax threshold.

-- They have to give Eric Gordon a contract extension. He's due to earn $3.8 million this season, and his qualifying offer would be $5.1 million for next season. Gordon, who is 6-3 and 215 pounds, is considered one of the better young shooting guards in the NBA. He averaged 22.3 points per game last season despite missing 24 games with a right wrist injury. Gordon, who turns 23 on Christmas Day, shot 45% from the field, and 36.4% from three-point range.