The 1996–97Los Angeles Clippers season was their 27th season in the NBA, their 13th in Los Angeles, and their 3rd in which they played occasional home games in Anaheim. During the offseason, the Clippers signed Darrick Martin as a free agent. With the loss of Brian Williams to free agency, the Clippers were expected to sink to the bottom of the NBA again. However, with the continued solid play of Loy Vaught, the team managed to slip into the playoffs with a below .500 record of 36–46, fifth in the Pacific Division. In the first round of the playoffs, the Clippers were swept by the Utah Jazz in three straight games. This would be their final playoff appearance until 2006.
A number of players from the 1996-97 roster have either died prematurely or ended up in tragic circumstances. They are center Stanley Roberts (banned from NBA for drug use in 1999), guard Malik Sealy (died in an automobile accident in 2000 at age 30), center Kevin Duckworth (died of heart failure in 2008 at age 44), forward Rodney Rogers (became paralyzed after dirt bike accident in 2008 at age 37), forward/center Lorenzen Wright (murdered in 2010 at age 34), and center Dwayne Schintzius (died from cancer complications in 2012 at age 43).