Kevin Durant traded? In the same deal as Blake Griffin? Suddenly a blockbuster trade idea between the L.A. Clippers and Oklahoma City Thunder is garnering a lot of attention in the NBA. A report from CBS Sports on Saturday, Feb. 6, discusses how the two franchises could come to terms on a deal including the two superstars during the NBA offseason. In order to get to that point, though, a lot would need to take place following the 2016 NBA trade deadline and the coming NBA Playoffs.
Despite being contenders in the Western Conference, the L.A. Clippers and Oklahoma City Thunder have brought no championships to their fan bases. Despite having a core of Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, the Clippers have failed to even make the NBA Finals. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook got OKC to the 2012 NBA Finals, but the team came up short against LeBron James and the Miami Heat. That lack of postseason success could begin to frustrate Durant if it continues in the 2016 NBA Playoffs.
Should Durant want to leave Oklahoma City, it wouldn’t take place until the NBA offseason. This is where the front office in OKC would have to make a tough decision about protecting the future of the franchise. It the front office could get Durant to agree to a sign-and-trade deal, the possibility suddenly emerges of a Kevin Durant trade for Blake Griffin. The Clippers might be eager to move in a different direction than the one Griffin has taken recently, and getting Durant with a long-term contract could help the team quite a bit.
There are a number of Kevin Durant Rumors, as the former NBA MVP is about to become a free agent during the NBA offseason. He is in the last year of a five-year deal that paid him about $90 million with the Thunder. Despite playing his entire career with just one franchise, including one season with the Seattle SuperSonics, Durant is about to be courted by every NBA team that has room under the salary cap. While he has made no public indications that he will walk away from OKC, it could certainly follow a trend of superstars trying to win titles in new cities.
Meanwhile, there have been quite a few Blake Griffin rumors following an incident where he broke his hand punching an equipment manager. There have been rumors that the L.A. Clippers could look to deal him, even though the front office has not stated it is shopping Griffin for a trade. He is under contract through the 2017-18 NBA season with the Clippers, but does have an early termination option following the 2016-17 NBA season. Until that point, the Clippers could trade Griffin, as he does not have a no-trade clause.
On the surface, a Kevin Durant trade for Blake Griffin might seem crazy to fans of the Clippers and Thunder. These are two superstar players who have become the favorites of many NBA fans across the country. Dealing one for the other would be a huge undertaking, but stranger trades have taken place in this league. A reality here, is that a trade of Durant for Griffin could work. If Durant wanted to play with Chris Paul, he could create a situation where OKC would sign him and then trade him to the West Coast.
At the end of the day, these are just more NBA rumors flooding the market as the trade deadline quickly approaches. A deal between the L.A. Clippers and Oklahoma City Thunder wouldn’t take place during the regular season, but lack of success in the 2016 NBA Playoffs could certainly lead to negotiations taking place. The money would work, so it may all come down to whether Kevin Durant wants to leave OKC or stick with Russell Westbrook for many years to come.
[Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images]