As the Los Angeles Clippers sit comfortably in fourth place in a subdued Western Conference, chaos surrounds them. The Warriors’ brilliance has vaulted the Clippers into an existential crisis. The Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan trio has only a modicum of playoff success while the Warriors have slingshotted to a place alone at the top of the league. If the Clippers can’t find playoff nirvana this spring, a shakeup may be on the horizon.
Griffin is the poster boy of the most successful run in Clippers history, but he now stands as their best trade asset. Griffin was playing at an MVP level before going down with a quad injury in December. During his absence, the Clippers haven’t missed a beat. They’re feasting on Paul-Jordan pick-and-rolls with shooters dotted around the three point line. Griffin’s high-brow post game is important, but his absence creates cleaner spacing for the Clips.
The murmurs around the Clippers’ success without Griffin may have faded if not for that infamous night at a Toronto restaurant. Griffin broke his hand after punching an equipment manager. He’s slotted to miss up to six weeks, but his hand doesn’t look great after surgery. That incident has spurred the Griffin trade rumors as of late. A fictional Griffin for Kevin Durant trade has been shopped for years, but Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports says the idea has legs within the Clippers’ organization.
The Los Angeles Clippers. If the opportunity comes to move Blake Griffin and replace him with Durant, the Clippers won’t hesitate, sources said.
Teams are calling on Griffin trades now, but Clippers president and coach Doc Rivers seems determined to play the year out with Griffin and see how far the team advances in the playoffs. Eventually, the Clippers will determine how intrigued Durant might be in becoming a Big Three with Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan.
While Griffin is the face of the franchise, this trade would be a no-brainer for the Clips. Durant fits seamlessly with Paul and Jordan as a shot creator, floor spacer and wing defender. His presence would give them the extra boost to compete with the Warriors and Spurs. With Durant’s free agency impending, the Thunder have every reason to be restless. They won’t trade Durant midseason, but a sign-and-trade during the offseason could be arranged if Durant wants to wear Clipper red.
Griffin, an Oklahoma native, would be an explosive partner for Russell Westbrook, who becomes a free agent in 2017. The idea makes sense for two teams that have been squeezed into a tight corner by the Warriors’ brilliance. But for now, that’s all it is – an idea.
(Via Yahoo Sports)