Blake Griffin will remain with the Los Angeles Clippers. The free agent power forward never seemingly tested the market despite reports of him visiting teams over the weekend. Problems for the Los Angeles Clippers will continue, while teams looking to fill their holes might be left feeling empty.
The Clippers are somewhat whole today. It was costly for the Clippers, who will re-sign Blake Griffin to a five-year deal worth $173 million, according to ESPN.
In terms of feeling whole, Blake Griffin returning to the Clippers helps offset the loss of Chris Paul.
The Los Angeles Clippers agreed to trade (courtesy of NBA.com) Chris Paul to the Houston Rockets on Wednesday. That deal netted the Clippers Patrick Beverly, Lou Williams, and Sam Dekker in return. Beverly or Williams are able to start in the place of Chris Paul. And collectively, they can make up for Paul’s departure.
In getting Sam Dekker, the Clippers finally have a small forward who can start and provide scoring and some defensive balance to the roster. Keeping Blake Griffin in the fold is a major factor in putting together a strong roster. Griffin allows the Clippers the ability to put together a lineup that might not be able to beat the Golden State Warriors but challenge them. Unfortunately, it comes with a price.
Signing Griffin to a $173 million deal may have kept him together with DeAndre Jordan, but it may disallow them to add anyone else of significance, and the Los Angeles Clippers have to come to terms with that.
None of the top free agents will look in the Clippers’ direction because the cap space is no longer available. Having Blake Griffin back eats into the salary structure in a way where some cap room is there. But it is not enough for them to go after the Gordon Haywards of NBA free agency.
Targeting Andre Iguodala may be the answer for another player the Clippers can group with Blake Griffin.
Blake Griffin immediately agreeing to terms with the Clippers comes as a bit of a surprise. He never got to visit other teams.
The Phoenix Suns and Denver Nuggets had scheduled meetings with Blake Griffin beginning on the weekend and throughout. It was also rumored that the Boston Celtics were angling to sit down with Griffin and put together a sales pitch for the power forward.
The Clippers keeping Blake Griffin away from exploring other free agency opportunities have forced the Celtics, Nuggets, and Suns to alter their plans. It also kept the balance of power in the Clippers’ favor.
Blake Griffin will get the chance to show that there is more to “Lob City” than catching alley-oop passes from Chris Paul. But he has to stay healthy for the Los Angeles Clippers to make good. That has much to do with luck than anything else.
Will Blake Griffin make the same impact for his return with the Los Angeles Clippers, as he would had he landed with another team? That will be answered as the season gets into high gear. The teams that wanted a meeting with Griffin are lesser by not having him on their respective rosters.
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