With the Los Angeles Clippers seemingly flat-lining over the last few years, the Clippers began listening to trade offers for Blake Griffin at the NBA trade deadline in February. Griffin drew interest from numerous teams, even though he was injured. Despite his injury and drama off of the court, it is unsurprising that several teams had interest in Griffin, who remains one of the budding stars in the league. Despite an injury-riddled 2015-16 season, he managed to tally 23.0 points, 9.2 rebounds, and 5.0 assists per 36 minutes. However, the Clippers were unable to make noise in the playoffs, especially after Griffin reaggravated his quad injury and Chris Paul broke a bone in his hand. Now, with Los Angeles out of the playoffs, Griffin’s name may once again pop up in trade conversations.
Report: Blake Griffin played in playoffs knowing there’d be ‘strong possibility’ he’d aggravate quad injury https://t.co/HULriCTEFs— Kurt Helin (@basketballtalk) April 28, 2016
On Sunday, Sporting News reported that the Clippers could revisit at least one Griffin trade in the coming weeks.
“There was, though, what one source termed as, ‘groundwork,’ for potential Griffin deals that could be revisited in the coming weeks, either at the draft or in the wake of free agency.”
Given Griffin’s talent, there are an array of teams that would be interested in him once again. Each option presents respectable assets that may intrigue Doc Rivers depending on what he is looking for in return for Griffin.
The New York Knicks are one team that could possibly make a deal with Los Angeles, with Carmelo Anthony being the centerpiece of a trade. Anthony would provide the Clippers with a veteran scorer to take some of the offensive workload off of Chris Paul, who had one of the highest usage percentages of his career this year, per Basketball-Reference. The biggest question mark in this deal, however, would be finding other assets to send the Clippers in a trade. The Knicks are especially light on draft picks in the coming years, and New York does not have a ton to offer on the roster right now other than Anthony.
The Boston Celtics present another possible option for Griffin, and if the team misses out on Kevin Durant in free agency, he may become their next best option. The Celtics need a star player, and Boston has the young assets to pull of a blockbuster. Although it is unclear if Danny Ainge is willing to let go some of his core pieces, Marcus Smart and Jae Crowder head the list of possible players the Celtics could use in a potential Griffin deal.
Additionally, the Denver Nuggets could be another team that shows interest in Griffin. Like the Celtics, the Nuggets are searching for a star to lead their young team, and Griffin would certainly cement Denver’s need for a franchise player. The Nuggets currently boast several trade pieces that Rivers could ask for in return, and Nikola Jokic is at the top of this list. Jokic, a 21-year-old rookie, averaged 16.5 points and 11.6 rebounds per 36 minutes this past season.
As Sporting News notes, even with several teams possibly interested and solid assets to be had in return for Griffin, it is possible that Rivers once again elects to forgo his trade options and step in with nearly the same roster in Los Angeles again next season.
“There’s also Rivers, who is still of the belief that the Paul-Griffin-Jordan combination is his best bet to break through and take the Clippers to their first NBA Finals. He’s not eager to downgrade the Clippers’ talent, which would almost certainly be the result of a Griffin trade, for the sake of a trade.”
Ultimately, the timing of this potential blockbuster deal may not make sense for Rivers and Los Angeles. The Clippers were not fully healthy in the postseason when it mattered most, crushing Los Angeles’ hopes of beating the Portland Trail Blazers and getting a chance to upset the Golden State Warriors.
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