Blake Griffin Injury May Force The L.A. Clippers To Trade Star

The latest news about basketball star Blake Griffin, one of the top spokesmen at Kia Motors, breaking his hand after punching Matias Testi, who is an assistant team equipment manager, is quite disturbing. He will miss an additional four to six weeks after breaking his hand (courtesy of Deadspin). Although the details have not fully filtered in, there is nothing pleasant from the information that is already public. As the Los Angeles Clippers investigate the situation, a dilemma is present. Will the Clippers’ findings force them to trade one of the biggest stars in the NBA?

What we know is that the fight, if you want to call it that, took place next to a restaurant in Toronto. We also know that prior to the incident Blake Griffin and Mathias Testi had been beyond just cordial with each other. According to Fox Sports, the two had some great times as friends. What the Los Angeles Clippers want to know is what would cause a friend to repeatedly punch the other, breaking his hand in the progress? What is most disturbing is the distinct size differential. Blake Griffin is 6’10” and 250 pounds. Matias Testi appears to be 5’9″ and roughly 150 pounds.

When a man of Blake Griffin’s size breaks his hand punching someone, you have to believe that whoever he punched was hit hard. There are no reports of an injury to Matias Testi thus far. All that is known is he was the Clippers’ staff member who was punched.

There is not a ton of information about what triggered Blake Griffin’s incident. With him and Testi appearing to goof around so often, it would not come as a surprise if the reports that come out, between now and after the Clippers complete their internal investigation, reveal that they were fooling around.

USA Today‘s Sam Amick cites that both Blake Griffin and Matias Testi always go back and forth with their banter. The NBA writer released a tweet suggesting that their back and forth likely went too far.

One of the people who spoke against the Blake Griffin incident is Los Angeles Clippers’ owner Steve Balmer. Balmer released an official statement regarding his star player’s injury and the investigation that is currently taking place.

“This conduct has no place in our organization and this incident does not represent who we are as a team. We are conducting a full investigation with assistance from the NBA. At the conclusion of the investigation, appropriate action will be taken.”

Are the Los Angeles Clippers considering moving forward without Blake Griffin? Every team entertains trade offers for their players, even the stars. After the results from their investigation comes to the light of day, the Los Angeles Clippers may very well decide that it is time to move on without him.

Finding a team that will take Blake Griffin would not be a problem at all. He is a talented player with still a lot of upside. The issue is getting back proper value in return for him. How do you get proper value for a top-10 player?

Sure, an interested team would fork over a couple of draft picks. The hopes of getting a young player with a great upside are always in the minds of general managers across the NBA. Once you remember that adding a player of Blake Griffin’s caliber only adds to the win column, then you will understand that it diminishes the value of the draft picks the Clippers would get in return. Any potential trade involving Blake Griffin would have to include young talent that is ready to contribute now, along with draft picks.

There are two teams that would meet the Los Angeles Clippers’ criteria if Blake Griffin were to end up available via trade: the Denver Nuggets and Boston Celtics.

A trade sending Blake Griffin to the Denver Nuggets would make sense for both teams. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

The Nuggets could offer a deal including power forward Kenneth Faried and Wilson Chandler, with a first round pick. Such a deal would give the Clippers an energetic power forward with a tireless work ethic in Faried. And with Chandler, they would get the elusive wing player that could fill a hole at the small forward position. The draft pick would perhaps remain in the lottery, maybe it could be top-five lottery protected. Blake Griffin in Denver would give the Nuggets some much-needed star power to go along with young guards Emmanuel Muddiay and Will Barton. This trade would be a win for both teams.

Any deal with the Celtics would have to include draft picks, which Boston could have three first-round selections. What makes the Celtics attractive trade partners is that one of those picks is an unprotected selection owned from a deal with the Brooklyn Nets. Where the Nets are in the standings as of now, it is conceivable that the pick could turn into the top choice in the draft. The possibility of selecting LSU freshman Ben Simmons is tantalizing for any team, including one with immediate championship aspirations. Two draft picks and any combination of Avery Bradley, Jared Sullinger, and Kelly Olynik could get something done.

It is not a guarantee that the Los Angeles Clippers will look to trade Blake Griffin after the completion of their investigation. The team has raised their eyebrows in the wake of their star forward breaking his hand from punching team staffer Matias Testi. Given that they are a remarkable 12-3 without Blake Griffin, would it be a surprise if they decide that it is time to move on?

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)