The NBA trade rumors claiming Blake Griffin would be dealt to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Kevin Durant had always seemed far-fetched, but now it may actually be happening.
The Los Angeles Clippers star, who is sidelined with a broken hand after getting into an altercation with a team employee, is reportedly in the dog house with the organization and they have been entertaining offers from other teams. One of those possibilities, rumors indicated, was a mega trade to the Thunder for Durant, who is likely to opt out of his contract and become a free agent.
Trade @blakegriffin32? If anyone has the answer, it’s Doc Rivers
— NBA.com (@NBAcom) February 6, 2016
Though the possibility seemed remote, some reports indicated that the Clippers could actually be leaning toward making the trade — though not immediately. CBS Sports writer Kevin Berger wrote that the Clippers could look into a sign-and-trade deal in the offseason, especially if the Clippers fail to make a deep postseason run.
Berger noted that there are several complicated moving parts to the potential blockbuster NBA trade, including cap mechanics.
“Depending on how their books are situated heading into the summer, the Clippers would likely have to shed salary or recruit a third team to facilitate the deal before they could seriously entertain a sign-and-trade for Durant. Under current CBA rules, a team cannot acquire a player in a sign-and-trade if the deal propels it more than $4 million above the luxury-tax line. Even then, that level — known as the apron — becomes a hard cap for the rest of that season.”
But he noted that the deal could happen, especially if the Thunder have the impression that Durant is ready to walk away from his contract.
The Los Angeles Clippers could also be looking for a clean break from Griffin. Though he is a talented scorer and has been an important part of the team’s success over the last six years, that success isn’t all that great compared to their Western Conference peers. The Clippers have fallen short of expectations time and again, and now Griffin’s off-the-court incident of getting into a fight with a team trainer has made his place on the team even more shaky.
There are conflicting reports as to whether the Los Angeles Clippers would actually deal Blake Griffin. NESN noted that the Clippers are listening to offers for Griffin but seem to be leaning toward keeping him.
“Ben Bolch of The Los Angeles Times reported Friday that while the Clippers have taken trade calls from other teams that are interested in acquiring Griffin, L.A. is ‘reluctant’ to move him. Griffin has missed the Clippers’ last 20 games, and they’ve gone 16-4 in his absence. How has Los Angeles racked up wins without arguably its best player? Chris Paul is having a tremendous all-around season, DeAndre Jordan has continued to be dominant on the glass, and J.J. Redick leads the league in 3-point shooting since Christmas. Make no mistake, the Clippers are at their best when Griffin is in the lineup, not sidelined. That said, their recent success does suggest that he’s not as important to the team’s success as they might have imagined.”
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) February 5, 2016
There are also other NBA trade rumors surrounding Blake Griffin and the Los Angeles Clippers, including a possible deal to the Denver Nuggets and reports that a handful of other teams are interested. But if anything outside of the potential Kevin Durant deal does happen it would be soon, with the NBA trade deadline coming up quickly.
[Picture by Harry How/Getty Images]