Storyline: Blake Griffin to Celtics?

27 rumors in this storyline

The Boston Celtics have had a tricky time nailing down a meeting with free agent Blake Griffin because of clashing priorities, according to a source with knowledge of the situation. The source told MassLive.com Friday afternoon that Griffin is said to prefer exploring his options early in the free agency period. That has made things difficult with the Celtics, who have other priorities, like the pursuit of Gordon Hayward and potentially a trade for Paul George.

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Asked Sunday on “Pardon My Take” for his four favorite NBA cities, Griffin listed (in descending order): New York, Phoenix, Toronto, and Boston. The latter is easily the most intriguing, as the Celtics are rumored to covet the five-time All-Star and reportedly plan to pursue him in free agency. The 28-year-old big man didn’t elaborate on his Beantown pick, but when one of the podcast hosts referred to the city’s racist history, Griffin, who’s half black, replied: “Definitely half of me loves it.”

Celtics in on Blake Griffin?

On a podcast published Wednesday, Wojnarowski broke down the Clippers’ complicated situation, which includes the free agency of three starters, Griffin, Chris Paul and J.J. Redick. While doing so, the great reporter suggested the Celtics have a realistic chance to pry Griffin away. “Blake Griffin, and I think the Clippers may think this too, and certainly some other teams, Boston is really the danger for Blake Griffin,” Wojnarowski said. “I think Boston’s two primary free-agent targets right now are Gordon Hayward and Blake Griffin. Now they’re not going to get both of them, but they’re both players who would potentially have interest there, and who Boston I think looks at in different ways with their future.

“So the one thing to know about Blake Griffin, he was (in Boston) when Paul Pierce came in with the Clippers for his last game in Boston, Blake was obviously there with the team. He saw how Boston reacted to Paul Pierce and what it means to have been a great player in Boston. Now, Blake doesn’t have enough left in his career to be beloved and be the all-time Celtic that Paul Pierce was, but it does give you a sense – and I know it gave Blake a sense, it did not go unnoticed with him – about how that building and that city and the way they loved Paul. And I’m sure Paul being around the last couple years with him, I’m sure they discussed it.

The Celtics have talked intermittently with the Clippers about Blake Griffin, per several league sources, but a deal is extremely unlikely. Griffin will be a free agent this summer, and Boston would probably need official permission to talk to him about his future — a concession Minnesota allowed Cleveland before the Kevin Love trade. The Clips would ask for a bounty, starting with Jae Crowder and one of the Avery Bradley/Marcus Smart duo, plus picks, per league sources.

Boston also expressed interest in Blake Griffin this summer, so it’s conceivable they’d have interest when he hits free agency. To be clear, those conversations were merely exploratory since the Clippers had no interest in retooling, per a league source. Gordon Hayward received interest from Boston in 2014 when he was a restricted free agent; Hayward and Brad Stevens also have unfinished business after experiencing a heartbreaking national championship loss at Butler. Beyond that, there is no star, max-level, unrestricted free agent available in 2017 that is both reasonably acquirable and enticing to the Celtics.

Head coach Doc Rivers hopes Blake Griffin spends his entire career with the Clippers. At this time of year, trade rumors tend to circulate. But when it comes to his star power forward, Rivers reiterated Thursday on Adrian Wojnarowski’s “The Vertical Podcast” none of the rumors are substantiated, and he plans on keeping Griffin. “It’s funny, you don’t want to go out and send a press release every time there’s a rumor about Blake,” Rivers said. “We are hoping that Blake ends his career playing for the Clippers, period. So, when teams call, we say we have no interest. First of all, no team’s calling right now, because teams know we don’t have any interest. It just tells you the different times. Things have changed. Everyone believes that they’re media now.”

Celtics targeting Blake Griffin

That does not necessarily rule out a trade of Westbrook to Boston. But it makes it unlikely, at least until that contact is made, that the Celtics are now targeting him. The team has viewed this as a crucial summer, so their activity is expected. The Celtics are stocked with young players, have a raft of future picks available and have already signed big man Al Horford in free agency, as they hope to push closer to the Raptors and Cavaliers in the East. The likely target for the Celtics, according to front-office sources, is Clippers forward Blake Griffin. The Clippers have been weighing trading Griffin all season, and the possibility of a three-team package involving Sacramento sending Rudy Gay to the Clippers has emerged. The Celtics would give up some number of their upcoming draft picks, but opposing front-office members say they don’t want to give up either Brooklyn pick Boston can own in the next two years.

There should be no question by now that the Celts still believe they need to make changes to their roster before the season begins, and it has been confirmed that they are trying to accomplish this on multiple avenues — to no avail thus far. Sources indicate the Celtics are very much open to major moves, but, while situations certainly remain fluid and they have expressed interest in Blake Griffin and Russell Westbrook in the past, there have been no discussions regarding those players in quite some time.

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