The Los Angeles Clippers have informed teams they’re not interested in trading Blake Griffin despite the superstar forward’s fight with an equipment manager that has him out as long as two months, league sources told CBS Sports on Friday.
Yet despite the Clippers' steadfast support of Griffin in the aftermath of an embarrassing incident that could imperil their title chances, there's a growing feeling among rival executives that the team's posture could change dramatically if the Clippers endure another disappointing postseason outcome this spring. Since they paired Chris Paul with Griffin in 2011 and lured Doc Rivers from Boston in 2013, the Clippers have yet to advance past the second round of the playoffs. Owner Steve Ballmer has gone deep into the luxury tax again this season, and there's a belief among rival teams that falling short in the playoffs again could lead to a major roster shakeup this summer.
However, according to a person close to Griffin, there's no guarantee he'd embrace returning home to play. The possibility hasn't been discussed within Griffin's camp, but as one prominent player operative noted, “Some guys don't want to play at home. Too many distractions.”
The benefits of playing in a small market like Oklahoma City -- less glitz and glamour, fewer media responsibilities, an organization that has proved to be protective of its stars -- would be canceled out for Griffin. For him, Oklahoma City would be like New York on steroids. This factor must be considered, especially since Griffin has a player option for the 2017-18 season. “I've seen him there; it's like Michael Jackson walking around,” the person close to Griffin said.
Despite reports the Clippers are having trade discussions with Denver and Philadelphia about Blake Griffin, the Clippers power forward isn’t being shopped. Teams have inquired about Griffin’s availability, but the Clippers, who still believe they can win this season, aren’t interested in making a move.
But that probably won’t happen, especially with the Clippers still confident in their chances. The Clippers aren’t having serious discussions about trading Griffin, especially not with Denver or with Philadelphia.
There is a perception that Blake Griffin is available via trade, a perception, quite frankly, that’s incorrect. The Clippers don’t need to trade Griffin – even after he broke his hand punching assistant equipment manager Matias Testi. They don’t want to trade Griffin, at least not to the extent where they’re willing to take less than he’s worth. And in their minds, Griffin is worth a whole bunch. Despite what people outside the organization think, people on the inside believe that a healthy Clipper team can still contend for an NBA title this season.
Multiple teams have contacted the Clippers about acquiring Blake Griffin in the wake of his having punched a team assistant equipment manager, said a person close to the situation not authorized to discuss it publicly, but the team has no active interest in trading its five-time All-Star power forward. The Clippers have fielded calls involving various trade proposals but remain reluctant to part with a cornerstone of their franchise and a player who, at age 26, was having possibly his best season before he was sidelined by a quadriceps injury the day after Christmas and subsequently a broken hand sustained in a scuffle with assistant equipment manager Matias Testi.
Ben Bolch: Multiple teams have inquired with Clippers about Blake Griffin offering various packages but team has no active interest in deal, per source. Clippers remain reluctant to part with a cornerstone of franchise and a player who, at 26, was having possibly best season before injury.
Digital Poet: You think the Toronto Raptors could do a three way deal with Denver for Blake Griffin? Steve Kyler: Clippers not open to moving Griffin in an context at this point. Unless OKC parts with Durant, not gonna happen.
Mitch Lawrence: The Clippers have talked to the Nuggets about trading Blake Griffin to Denver, per NBA sources.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Even without Durant, this franchise will make hard decisions on his future if it doesn't make a deep playoff run this spring. League sources tell me that will start with looking hard on the market for deals involving Griffin.
Outside of those well-known suitors – Washington, Houston and Miami – there’s another California team determined to make a bid for Durant, league sources tell The Vertical: The Los Angeles Clippers. If the opportunity comes to move Blake Griffin and replace him with Durant, the Clippers won’t hesitate, sources said.
Of the Clippers' three foundational stars, Griffin would probably net the highest return in a trade. Several league sources insist that if Doc Rivers, the Clippers coach, general manager, head chef and lead custodian, were forced to pick one of the three to flip, it would likely be Griffin -- in part because he knows Griffin would bring back the most. (He'd prefer to flip none, obviously).
Maybe the Clips should think about shaking things up? Problem is, Doc Rivers came to Los Angeles precisely to avoid a rebuild, and all indications are, he still thinks these Clippers can win the title if healthy. He won't sign off on a deal that brings back a bunch of future first-round picks. He might be the only decision-maker in the league who cares less about future firsts than Pat Riley.
The Griffin fight saga has teams around the league imagining how they might construct their roster around Griffin, and they are coming away both confused and intrigued. He can clearly be the No. 1 option in a good NBA offense. He's a dunk machine if you clear the lane and unleash him in the pick-and-roll.
May 13, 2021 | 6:30 am EDT Update
Whispers in Memphis are the Grizzlies aren’t yet sold on their 2018 lottery pick, 6-foot-11 power forward/center Jaren Jackson Jr. They’re concerned about his durability. In late April, Jackson, 21, made his return from an extended absence after he tore the meniscus in his left knee last August while playing in the NBA bubble. Jackson has started just two of the nine games he has played this season and he has taken periodic games off for “injury management.’’ Jackson is averaging 14.6 points in 23 minutes per game.
Sources also said Knicks general manager Scott Perry loved Jackson’s athleticism coming out of Michigan State as the draft’s youngest player when Memphis selected him fourth overall. Jackson, who threw down a vicious dunk and made two 3-pointers in front of Knicks senior vice president William Wesley during the Knicks’ 118-104 win in Memphis on May 3, will enter the final $9.1 million year of his four-year contract next season. If he doesn’t sign an extension this fall, his future bears watching. Could Jackson play a small-ball 5 role with Julius Randle?
Bobby Marks: With the New York Knicks clinching a playoff spot, Julius Randle has now earned a $945K bonus. Randle also received a $945K bonus for being selected to the All-Star game. The Randle cap hit for 2021-22 is now adjusted to $21.78M.
Mike Trudell: Kuz on any concern about LeBron: “No. He knows himself, he knows his body better than anyone. I don’t really care if he comes back and he plays, Indiana, Pelicans (and shoots 45 times to get a rhythm) … We’re not worried about no chemistry issues because of the way he plays.”