On the surface, all the talk about trading Blake Griffin seems to make sense. In the 23 games since Griffin went down with a partially torn left quadriceps muscle on Christmas Day, the Clippers have gone 18-5. Before the injury, with Blake in the starting lineup, they were just 17-13. Basic arithmetic says they’re better without him, right? While the before and after records is a simplistic and silly way to determine value, writers are now offering up all sorts of explanations for the development, and Blake’s stock suffered even more when he punched the Clippers’ well-liked assistant equipment manager in January, pushing his return date back — at least — a month after he suffered a broken hand in the altercation. And let’s not forget he’s going to be suspended four games when he does return from injury, per the Clippers.
Now, with the NBA’s Trade Deadline expiring at 3 p.m. ET on Thursday, Griffin’s name has popped up in all manner of deals. Sources told Adrian Wojnarowski at The Vertical, the Clippers would be willing to part with Blake if they got at least a half season of Kevin Durant in return (and the ensuing Bird rights that would allow them to offer more money and an extra year when KD hits free agency in July). Which, come on now. It’s Kevin Durant. That’s the same Kevin Durant who was considered the second best player in the NBA not to long ago and was the 2014 NBA MVP. How much low-hanging fruit are we gonna swipe at this trade season?
That wasn’t all. The Nuggets recently popped up in trade talks, too, reportedly. Frank Isola at the New York Daily News reports the Clippers “are making Blake Griffin available even though the injured forward is recovering from a second surgical procedure to his right (punching) hand and may not play again this season, especially if he’s traded to a team out of the playoff race.” The Hawks, Celtics and Knicks are all thought be potential trade partners, Isola adds.
We can’t help but wonder if the Cavs are still gonna get ‘Melo, too? Despite the snark, we have no doubt about Frank Isola’s bonafides, or the veracity of his sources. He’s been in this business a lot longer than we have, and he’s not the only one trumpeting the fact LA’s looking to cut their Lob City co-founder before Thursday afternoon.