With a little over two months until the start of the 2016-2017 NBA season, rumors are heating up regarding some of the league’s top players. While Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook have stolen the spotlight over the past few months, we now know they will be playing in Golden State and Oklahoma City, respectively. Even though those were the two biggest names involved in the recent rumors, another of the NBA’s bigger stars could be on the move — Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin.
Griffin, who has been involved in numerous trade discussions over the past few seasons, is still only 27-years-old. While he is beginning to lose some of his athleticism, he is still one of the most productive players in the league. Injuries and a suspension cost him much of the 2015-2016 season, but he still averaged 21.4 points per game, 8.4 rebounds, and 4.9 assists. He added 0.5 blocks per game and 0.8 steals. Whatever you want to say about Griffin and his recent off-court problems, he is likely going to continue to be one of the top power forwards in the NBA.
As Basketball Insiders reports, the Clippers want to ensure they can re-sign point guard Chris Paul next season, and that may mean they have to part with Griffin. With Griffin being eligible to become a free agent after this season, the Clippers may decide to trade him instead of allowing him to sign with another team. While numerous teams will be interested in trading for Griffin, the Thunder may make the most sense as a trade partner.
“However, with Westbrook on-board, there is a new rumor in Oklahoma City to watch and that is the Thunder’s potential pursuit of L.A. Clippers forward Blake Griffin. On the surface it seems foolish and somewhat unlikely to believe that Griffin lands in Oklahoma City anytime soon. However, there are many in the NBA that believe if the Clippers cannot get over the top this season, there will be big changes made to ensure the Clippers do not lose star guard Chris Paul to free agency next summer.”
While the Clippers would probably prefer to send Griffin to the Eastern Conference, the Thunder may be able to offer them the best assets in return for him. With Durant now in Golden State, the Thunder are looking for another star to pair up with Westbrook. Durant and Westbrook had a lot of successful years together, but both of them demand the basketball often. Griffin still needs the ball, but he is likely a better fit with Westbrook than Durant was.
In his six seasons with the Clippers, Griffin has enjoyed a lot of success in the regular season. Always a contender, the Clippers have made the playoffs in each of the past five seasons. The problem is they have not been able to win in the playoffs. In those five years, the Clippers have never made it past the second round of the playoffs. While it is important to make the playoffs every year, it may be time for a change in Los Angeles, and the Clippers apparently prefer Paul.
In addition to the Thunder, the Boston Celtics, Orlando Magic, and Chicago Bulls are also named as teams that could trade for Griffin.
“The Thunder won’t be alone if Griffin hits the open market. The Boston Celtics have long had eyes for Griffin, and there has been talk that the Orlando Magic and Chicago Bulls would also make a hard push at Griffin. Coincidentally, both teams have tradable assets now if the Clippers decide they want to consider a trade.”
If Griffin is not traded this season, the Thunder will then pursue him in free agency, as CBS Sports reports.
With Blake Griffin’s future as a member of the Los Angeles Clippers uncertain, rumors will continue to come out speculating his trade possibilities. Depending on the Clippers’ record near the trade deadline, Griffin could be the No. 1 target in February.
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