The Los Angeles Clippers were supposedly willing to let go of Blake Griffin, the long-time face of the franchise, in exchange for another NBA star in Karl-Anthony Towns. The Clippers supposedly made exploratory calls to the Minnesota Timberwolves to gauge their possible interest in Griffin, the first pick overall in the 2009 NBA draft.
As mentioned, the proposed blockbuster trade was supposed to bring Towns, also a former No. 1 draft pick in 2015, to the struggling Clippers. However, the rumored trade proposal, which was first reported by Michael Scotto on Basketball Insiders, did not prosper beyond the call.
The Timberwolves apparently declined the deal as they prefer to have Towns over Griffin as the center of the franchise’s future. Also, Minnesota is having a great season so far with a Northwest Division-leading 28-16 record. It’s highly unlikely that management would want to break the team apart and trade Towns away for an older player with a history of injuries.
Furthermore, the financial side of the proposed deal wouldn’t have worked unless other assets were included. A one-for-one trade will not match as Griffin is owed $29.5 million, while Towns is only making $6.2 million this season and $7.8 million in 2018-19.
Blake recently signed a new five-year contract which will pay him a total of $171 million. Griffin can opt out in 2021-22. The Clippers locked Griffin up with the max contract after their other long-time star, point guard Chris Paul, asked and was traded to the Houston Rockets.
Since signing the deal, Blake was hampered by injuries once again as he missed significant time after hurting his left knee. Griffin also missed a couple of games due to a concussion.
Other key pieces of the Clippers also went down. New Clippers forward Danilo Gallinari and guards Milos Teodosic and Patrick Beverley, who were part of the Paul trade, are currently sidelined with injuries. Gallinari is out indefinitely with a partial tear in his glute muscle while Teodosic has missed a chunk of games due to plantar fasciitis. Beverley, meanwhile, has been ruled out for the rest of this NBA season after having surgery on his injured knee.
The breaks aren’t going the way of the Clippers as center DeAndre Jordan recently injured himself after an emphatic dunk against the Sacramento Kings on Thursday. Ironically, the game saw the return of Griffin and Teodosic from their respective injuries. Jordan gave some sort of an update on his injury via Twitter, saying he was “good actually,” as reported by Clipperholics.
With their starters missing time, the Clippers have struggled to a 20-21 win-loss record, though they did win nine in the last 12 games. The team is barely hanging on as they are a game behind the New Orleans Pelicans for the eighth playoff spot in the Western Conference.
The Clippers are also hounded with the possibility of losing Jordan to free agency after the season, which is probably why the team is looking at Towns to replace the All-NBA center in the middle. Towns has been underperforming statistics-wise this season as his scoring average is down to 20.2 points from 25.1 last season. This may be attributed to the entry of another point producer in Jimmy Butler.
As for Griffin, there hasn’t been that much talk of a potential trade surrounding him aside from this new development involving Towns. It remains to be seen if the supposed trade proposal will affect Blake Griffin’s performance going forward.