Many people were surprised when the Los Angeles Clippers decided to trade Blake Griffin to the Detroit Pistons before last year’s February NBA trade deadline. Griffin has done many great things for the organization and led them to six consecutive trips to the Western Conference Playoffs. Months before the Clippers-Pistons blockbuster deal, Griffin was declared a “Clipper for Life” after he signed a five-year, $171.1 million contract to stay in Los Angeles.
Clippers President of Basketball Operations Lawrence Frank described their decision to trade Blake Griffin as “f—ing terrible,” but as front office executives, he strongly believes that they have the obligation to do what needs to be done for the best of their organization. In his recent article, Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN detailed how Griffin first learned that he would be traded to the Pistons.
Blake Griffin didn’t get the news from his agent nor anyone from the Clippers or the Pistons’ organization but from a friend who’s connected throughout the league. Griffin immediately informed his agent, Sam Goldfeder, to get some clarification from the Clippers’ front office but they failed. Griffin decided to go to the Clippers’ training center and met Clippers President of Basketball Operations Lawrence Frank face to face.
Blake Griffin asked Frank for definitive information about the trade discussions that involved him. He also wanted Frank to inform him first if and when a deal became official. Frank gave Griffin an assurance that he would immediately give him a call if the trade pushed through.
Ahead of his first return to Staples Center since the deal that sent him to Detroit, Blake Griffin reflects on his time with the Clippers, the trade, the "Clippers curse," his leadership role with the Pistons, and what relevance in the NBA really means. https://t.co/GRspJtaPtz— Kevin Arnovitz (@kevinarnovitz) January 8, 2019
Unfortunately, when the Pistons and the Clippers came to an agreement, Blake Griffin first learned the details from his friend, who told him that the deal was on the “1-yard line” and that he should expect a call from Detroit’s front office. It took 10 minutes for Griffin to receive a call from Frank and another 10 minutes from Clippers Head Coach Doc Rivers. Griffin decided not to answer either call and since the blockbuster deal, the All-Star forward hasn’t spoken to anyone in the Clippers’ front office.
Blake Griffin made it clear that he doesn’t hold any grudge against the Clippers. But if he could turn back time, he wished the Clippers had informed him earlier so he and his agent could give their input regarding a possible trade destination.
“I get it,” Griffin said. “Basketball is a business and they said what they had to say at the time, and that’s what I wanted to do. The only thing I wish is that [the trade] had gone down differently.”
Blake Griffin doesn’t seem to have any problem with his new team, and as of now, he’s focused on helping the Pistons make huge noise in the Eastern Conference. On Saturday night, Griffin and the Pistons are set to face the Clippers for the first time in the 2018-19 NBA season at the Staples Center.