The Los Angeles Clippers have been mentioned in quite a few rumors this offseason. One of the latest rumors has to do with Blake Griffin. Doc Rivers is open to moving Griffin, mainly due to the fact that he will hit open free agency next offseason and could end up leaving.
According to a report from Sean Deveney of SportingNews, the Boston Celtics were targeting a trade for Griffin. No deal looks imminent at this point, and there is a good chance that no deal will happen with the Celtics.
Rivers could end up looking to make a much bigger move if the opportunity presented itself. There does appear to be a superstar that could be coming available on the trade market. Russell Westbrook could leave town after Kevin Durant agreed to sign with the Golden State Warriors earlier this offseason.
Matt Moore of CBS Sports listed the Clippers as a team that could show serious interest in acquiring the superstar point guard if the Oklahoma City Thunder do end up placing him on the trade block.
Could the Clippers make a serious run to acquire Westbrook, and what would they have to give up in order to make that deal happen?
First of all, any deal that the Thunder would consider would have to include Griffin or Chris Paul. Paul and Griffin only have the 2016-17 season left on their contract, which could make an extension necessary. It isn’t likely that either player would accept an extension offer at this point, although the Clippers could sweeten the deal with picks or another piece.
Westbrook may not re-sign with the Clippers long-term, but they would be acquiring his bid rights. That would allow the Clippers to give him an extra year and more money than any other team can offer.
Los Angeles has been unable to break through in the Western Conference with their current “Big Three” of Griffin, Paul and DeAndre Jordan. They certainly won’t break through moving forward with Durant at Golden State. If they want to become a serious contender in the conference, acquiring all-around superstars like Westbrook is exactly what they need to do.
Looking simply at the statistics, the deal could make a lot of sense for both teams if Westbrook and Griffin were swapped for each other.
Westbrook averaged 23.5 points, 10.4 assists, and 7.8 rebounds per game last season. Griffin, on the other hand, averaged 21.4 points, 8.4 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game. There is no denying that Westbrook is the better player, but Griffin could be a solid centerpiece for the Thunder to build around.
Griffin would likely be more than open to the idea of signing long-term with the Thunder. He was born in Oklahoma City back in 1989. Westbrook has always wanted a big stage and heading back to Los Angeles would get him close to his home city of Long Beach.
Sam Presti has some tough decisions to make but making a move with Rivers could make sense. If the Clippers would be willing to add another piece or two to the deal, it is possible that the two parties could come to an agreement.
Expect to hear plenty of rumors surround Westbrook in the coming weeks as the offseason moves forward. Los Angeles may not end up seriously pursuing him, but they certainly have the pieces to make a move to acquire him if they choose to attempt it.
Do you think the Los Angeles Clippers should try to acquire Russell Westbrook this offseason? Would the Thunder be smart to trade Westbrook if it meant getting Blake Griffin? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below!
[AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki]